SketchUp for Timber Frame Design

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SketchUp is a free, intuitive, and powerful 3D drawing program that, with an efficient capacity for drawing timbers, detailing joinery, and producing measured shop drawings, is well suited for designing timber frame structures. We’ll start with an intro to SketchUp and move quickly into drawing dimension timbers, putting together bents, adding braces and rafters and reproducing parts of a frame. After you’ve mastered the basics, we’ll move into making joinery and producing shop drawings. A laptop computer with SketchUp already installed is required along with a wheel mouse. Students already familiar with SketchUp are encouraged to bring their own timber frame design ideas and draw them in SketchUp during the course.

Below is an interactive model of the SketchUp Timberframe design from the 2016 course


AIA Credit Courses, Whole Structure Design/Build


Beginner, Intermediate


  • Sterling College: 1 Continuing Education Unit ($130 additional)
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA): 14 Learning Units

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