Woodworking plans. Can you change dimensions?

Woodworking plans – they are all over the Internet

I’ve been doing some research on what other people think about woodworking plans.  I’ve been looking at woodworking plans and even “virtually built” one or two of those projects using SketchList 3D. Some plans available are pretty well done. Some are not. In any case, I found it necessary to review the plan step by step to fully understand what is required.  But that’s not unusual.

Sometimes there were mistakes, that’s not so unusual either.   The steps in one plan called for dimensions using the nominal board sizes and not the actual size.  Finally it dawned on me the author meant to say 3 1/2 and not 4 inches.  Oh well…

I began thinking about the advantages SketchList 3D over the ”printed” plans. The advantages of using SketchList 3D came to light in the comments area of the websites I reviewed. Two the the best types of  comments were like:

  1. Can I get this project in a different size? What if a person has a plan for full size but needs a king-size bed?
  2. Can I place the door with a set of drawers?  Many people asked about making minor adjustments in the layout of a project.

As woodworking plans are free or low cost, we understand that their designers do not respond to each request with a modified plan. But if the plan was developed in SketchList 3D, you know that these types of modifications would be quite easy to accomplish.

[We are now specifying plans for an automatic woodworking plan generator.  It is in the idea stage.  And  at this point there is a lot of planning and testing required before this becomes a reality. If interested contact me.]

In the meantime, I want to tell you about changing the way sizing using the red dots.

Before this new feature, to change all the contents in an assembly you shift-dragged the red dot slowly. That works but I am not a fan of dragging because of difficulty of getting accurate results.  For me typing in a value is always more precise. That’s the change we made.  Entering in the new size values in the form instead of dragging the red dot.  This update will be online January 27, 2018.

In the video at the bottom of this post we demonstrate two ways to use the red dot.

  • One is easier than the other one, the resize task is simple.
  • The other is a bit more complicated because the base unit of this project contains two doors.  I  want to change each door the same amount.

Right clicking the red dot opens the resize window.  You will notice there is a pink plane at center of the assembly. That pink plane or line is the change line.  That is where size change takes place.

These red dot resizing techniques change both the container and its contents.

NOTE: If you want to only change container size and not the contents simply change that value on the spreadsheet or the form.  Remember that changing the size of containers always applies from the point where  left equals zero, bottom equals zero, front equals zero point.  Also when you make the container size smaller, the new size cannot be smaller than anything inside that container.  You cannot make a 24 inch container 12 inches wide if there is an object greater than 12 inches in width inside that container.

If you want to change the container AND its contents you use the red dot method.

In our simple case we right-click the red dot and enter the value 48 for width and click OK.

sizing the top assembly

An example of a more involved case involves an assembly with two doors.  For this you want to right click the red dot, click on pink dot and drag the plane into the center of the door.  Be sure that you DO NOT place the cutting plane on a stile.  Avoid changing that stile’s width.

sizing the bottom assembly

To make this 25 inch wide cabinet 35 inches wide, I increase the width of the first door by 5 inches.  Then I move the pink cutting line to the center of the second door: then change the width another 5 inches. This way both doors are changed the same amount without distorting the stiles..

The pink line rules:

  1. Anything the pink line cuts will change size.
  2. You can move the pink line by dragging the little dots, in this case left or right. This moves where resize happens. This is useful because default pink line may cut a hole or joinery type and causing an error.  Usually, if you move the pink line, the error will go away.
  3. Anything on the left of the pink line remains in place and unchanged.
  4. Anything to the right of the line moves right.

And, as always – any change in size in SketchList 3D instantly cascades to change in all reports and drawings. You won’t find this in pre-printed woodworking plans.

Enjoy the video.

Click here for more information.