Locating Many Boards to Achieve Your Design

locate multiple boards


Lesson – Locating Many Boards to Achieve Your Design


Summary: You will learn to locate boards in three-dimensional spaces using the tools available in SketchList 3D


Lesson 2. Locating many boards for a design
Learning Objectives
Relationships of Boards The videos accompanying the lesson of this section will show you how to make a book shelf. This written introduction previews the tools and concepts involved.This will teach you to:
Align and space boards as you need
Know left from right, top from bottom, etc.
Learn the tools available
Be able to butt several boards together
Space Boards   in your design
Learning Resources
Project “Learning SketchList 3D” – and Assembly   “Locating multiple boards for a design”
Blog Post
Screen Shots
Project   – “Learning SketchList 3D”
Activities Download [CLICK HERE] – unzip and import to SketchList 3D. Open and load the project Learning SketchList 3D.  It may appear a bit different than the video due to last minute changes.
Click on Assembly “Assembly1”
Move and locate board to make a bookcase


The objective of this lesson is to understand how boards are located in three-dimensional space.


locate boards in 3D 2

You will understand how the boards fit into the assembly (or other container) using the concepts of distance from left, bottom, front of that assembly. Building on that concept of distance from left, bottom, front you will be able to relate individual boards in the assembly two other boards in a way that achieve your design. In order to accomplish this you will learn to use the tools available in SketchList 3D.

The project “Learning SketchList 3-D” contains an assembly named “locating multiple boards”. The first thing to do is start SketchList 3D. Then select the project “learning SketchList 3D” and load it. The assembly “locating multiple boards” will be on your screen.

In this lesson you will learn how to set the values of left, bottom, and front of each board to align them and combine them as necessary to create your bookcase.

Those values of left, bottom, and front are the distances that each board is from the left, bottom, front of the assembly. A board labeled shelf with a left value of zero meaning it is zero units from the left edge of the assembly. Additionally the board shelf has a bottom value of zero meaning it is zero units from the bottom of the assembly.


locate boards in 3D 2

For convenience sake SketchList 3D also provides the distance that the right edge of the board is from the left edge of the assembly.  Let me say that again.

The right edge of board from the left edge of assembly. The right edge of the board is the distance equal to the left edge of the board plus the width of the board.

locate 3

Don’t worry. There are all sorts of tools to help you do this. As you do this several times and gain some practice it will become second nature to you.

Important concept.   All objects in SketchList 3D are located by specifying the distance the left, bottom, and front edge of that object are from the left, bottom, and front edge of the containing object.

locate 4


A container is an object that holds other objects. The most obvious is an assembly exists as a containing object for boards.  The tools in SketchList 3D make managing objects in 3-D space very easy. But still you should know this concept.


Tools for locating or moving boards in an assembly.

Sliders appear under the triplets in the board form.   By clicking the button to the right of each slider bar you can change the size or increment of the slider.

slide bars


slider bars 2
Sliders move boards from left to right, top to bottom, front to back. There are excellent way of moving a board from somewhere in the assembly to the right, top, back of that assembly. There also a very good way of just moving a board out of the way so you can continue to design.

Click here to watch video.

Blue dots – blue dots are shown at the corners of each board. Right clicking with your mouse where the cursor is on the blue dot opens the following form.

The distance of that blue dot from the point of origin of the assembly is shown. You can change any or all of the values and click okay to move that corner – and thereby the board – where you want it.

blue dot


A very useful variation on this technique is to click the copy button on the edit corner form. Then select a blue dot from another board, right click that blue dot and click the paste button. Because the left, bottom, and front values of the blue dots in the two different boards are the same those boards will meet at that point. This is an extremely useful technique.

You can left click on the blue dot and hold the shift key down on your keyboard. Then while holding the left mouse button on your computer you can drag that board anywhere you wish.

Click here to watch video.
Triplets – triplets are a way to represent the numerical values of the six edges of any board as their distance from the point of origin of the assembly.

In the example below if you edit the value of distance from left to zero, keep the width at 20, the right edge of that board then is located 20 units from the left edge of the assembly.

left right width

In the example below if you keep the value of distance from left as 10, and edit the value of the right edge of the board from 20 to 10, the width becomes 10.

You can edit one or two values of the triplet in SketchList will calculate the remaining value.
Triplet tool – form.   One tool that SketchList 3D provides to manipulate the size and location of objects in three-dimensional space is the form.


triplet tool

The name of the form changes to reflect the object selected.That means if you select a board the form becomes the board form.

  1. If you select an assembly the form becomes the assembly form.
  2. If you select a door the form becomes a door form.
  3. If you selected drawer the form becomes a drawer form.
  4. If you select hardware the form becomes a hardware form.

There are three “rows” in the form. One controls bottom to top movement. The second controls left to right movement. And the third controls front to back movement.

(One of the buttons in the center will always be labeled thickness. The button back becomes thickness is set when you create a new board and indicate which edge is the thickness of that board.)

This same functionality works on all three rows of the board form.

Click here to watch video


Triplets tool – Spreadsheet – another method to change the location of a board using values of bottom – top, left – right, front – back is to use the general spreadsheet.

First notice the item names column in the general spreadsheet. Each row contains a name of a board in the assembly. In addition to the name the spreadsheet contains information about the size and location of each board.


spreadsheet for post


The first column of the spreadsheet contains the names of the boards.

  1. Columns two through four contain the values of the triplet left – with – right.
  2. Columns five through seven contain the value of the triplets bottom – height –top.
  3. Columns eight through 10 contain the values of the triplets front – depth – back.All of those columns can move the board same way the boards form does. Only the format is different. In the example below you wanted to move the board called shelf to the right by 10 units you would click on the intersection of the row “shelf” and the column “left”. Then the number 10. Then click on the column heading labeled right. You will see that the value of right change from 48 to 58.The advantage of using spreadsheet over the board form is you can see the locations of any board relative to other boards in the assembly. This is useful when butting boards. To butt a board say from left to right is to say only the right of one board must be equal to the left of the second board.spreadsheet for post 2Watch this video

Clone and space. One other way to locate a board in three-dimensional space is the clone and space function. Clone and space will make an exact copy (copies) of a board and locate that copy a specific distance from the original. This is useful when you want to take one shelf and make several copies of that shelf and locate them all 10 inches apart.

  1. Select the board to be cloned. Click the clone and space button on the board form. The clone and space a form will open. You can clone and space from the left, from the front, or from the bottom.
  2. This of first example creates three boards and places them the fixed distance of 10 units apart from the bottom to the top. Enter the number of boards to be cloned, check the fixed space radio button, enter the distance between the boards, and check the direction radio button. You can choose left, front, or bottom.clone and space
  3. The next example of clone and space shows how you would set the distance between the first and last board in the set, and have SketchList determine the spaces between the boards.
  4. Enter the number of boards to be created. Check the “determine spacing” radio button. In our example we are adding shelves from the bottom toward the top. This requires that you enter the bottom value of the last board in the sequence. The top value of that board will show when you enter the bottom. If the last board in your sequence should have a top value of 48 and the board thicknesses one than the bottom value to be entered is 47. In this case three boards will be equally spaced from the original board to the distance of 48 to the top and/or 47 to the bottom.Clone in space can be an effective way to center a board between two points. For example if you have a style on the left with a left value of zero, and a style on the right with the left value of 46, if you do a clone in space creating one cloned object, selecting determine spacing, and entering 46 for the left value, the newly created board will be centered between the side pieces.clone and space 2

Watch this video.


There are three activities involved in this lesson.

Read and review the lesson

Try the examples with your own copy of SketchList 3D

Review the videos listed in the lesson.


At this point you should be able to locate a board in three-dimensional space and locate that board in relationship to other boards in that same space to create the design. The design in the videos was a bookcase. There are some aspect of this material that’s confusing please communicate via email or on the site bulletin board.

You will discover that these techniques for locating objects in three-dimensional space are exactly the same for all of the objects in SketchList 3D. So while you’ve invested time mastering this lesson, you will use the techniques and tools over and over again in your design process.


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