Google SketchUp

As I mentioned in my previous post about building a set of stairs and deck railings, I have been having fun re-aquainting myself to creating shop drawings. I initially started working with OpenOffice Draw, because I had it installed and I knew it would be able to do the very basic 2d modeling I needed. However, I found it a little lacking - it would have been nice to be able to show detailed expanded portions of the drawing (but still to scale) as I had learned to do with Corel Draw in my past jobs. So I started looking for free 2d or 3d drafting tools just to see what was out there. I stumbled across Google SketchUp, and have found it to be an amazing tool. It is really easy to use, and comes with great documentation - good help files and tons of video tutorials. They've done a great job of creating an intuitive way of working with 3D objects they call their inference engine. I have to say that it works incredibly well compared to any other tool I've used. Here's the start of the drawing that I created for the deck project:

And here's the almost finished drawing (I don't think I'm going to take it much further than this because it's probably not neccesary for the project...

And here's an example of a detailed view:

I know there's a ton of features I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of yet; I might post more drawings if I wind up doing more just for the fun of it.