Click the links below to read about the course:








Download the ARC481c course syllabus:

· Word Format (54 KB)

View a clip of the laser cutter in action:

· Windows Media (1.5 MB)

· QuickTime (2.5 MB)

View the Fused Deposition Modeler:

· Windows Media (0.8 MB)

· QuickTime (1.5 MB)

A video of the first model printed from SketchUp, with commentary:

· Windows Media (8 MB)

· QuickTime (13 MB)

Exporting from SketchUp to the Unreal Engine:

· Windows Media (7 MB)

· QuickTime (7 MB)

Originally published in SketchUpDate, the SketchUp newsletter

ARC 481c Communicating Design Data  ·  PART 1

During the spring semester of 2004, I taught a mixed graduate and undergraduate course at the University of Arizona College of Architecture. The course subject was digital design exploration and visualization, and included two main areas of focus:

  • Software topics: SketchUp, 3DSmax/viz, Maya, and immersive online walk-through simulation.

  • Digital fabrication: Laser cutter, fused deposition modelers, and powder-based rapid 3D prototyping.

The first course module was essentially "SketchUp Immersion 101." Using the Continuing Education courses offered by the @Last training team as a base, I expanded the content by including more detailed information and new lectures. We started out with small drawing exercises, and over several sessions worked up to a small building model:

Beginning student exercises

I owe many thanks to Diego Matho and Paul Moore, both of whom have been teaching SketchUp at the BAC (Boston Architectural Center) for several semesters. They permitted me to use a few of the exercises they've developed, such as the example shown above.

One of the challenges many users face when first learning SketchUp or other 3D software is understanding how lines and faces work together. It's a novel approach in many respects, and it takes a bit of time and practice to figure everything out. But perhaps harder still is to get to the point where you can really loosen up and work "sketchy". It's just so easy to get lost in the details, whether it's remembering how to do something (clicking here and then clicking that), or what to do in the first place. (i.e. Spending too much time modeling a small or unnoticeable aspect of the model, leaving no time to finish.)

"One SketchUp to go, please…"

The main thing I wanted to accomplish for the first module was to help my students achieve a freedom of work-flow that allows them to be more creative with SketchUp and 3D in general. I also wanted them to practice capturing the overall character and proportions of a building within a short time-frame without worrying too much about dimensions, almost like one would during a creative design session. Since architecture students at the U of A are required to have laptops, I thought it would be a natural step to venture out of the computer lab and into the bitter cold of Tucson winter for a fresh air digital sketching session:

SketchUp on the go. Just kidding about the bitter cold bit...

Overall, the session was successful, but I did learn a couple of important lessons: (1) Students can't afford to buy new laptop batteries. (2) Apparently, after four years, a laptop battery's charge-holding capacity is pretty much nil… Back to the computer lab we went.


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Part 2: Cross-Pollination