In our last tutorial, we learned how to draw a floor plan of a house to scale using the image found on the assessor’s page for the property. Today we’re going to learn how to print that basic plan to scale so that we can use it as a starting point for taking our field measurements. I’ve made the tutorial available as a video and included the step by step instructions below.
Let’s Get Started
Step by Step Instructions
First, open up the floor plan drawing that you wish to print to scale. Make sure you are oriented to the top view by selecting Camera from the top menu, then Standard Views from the drop down menu and then top.
Click the Zoom Extents button to make sure you can see your entire drawing. You should be able to see three axes – red, green and blue. The blue line represents the Z axis (up and down) and tells us that we are still in a perspective view. Since we want to print an orthographic drawing to scale, we need to flatten the perspective.
Click Camera in the top menu and then select Parallel Projection from the drop down. You’ll see that the blueZ-axis disappears and the drawing appears to flatten out.
Down at the bottom of the screen, you may see a little diagonal. That is the standard person that all SketchUp drawing start out with. Go ahead and delete it and then click Zoom Extents again. Now we’re ready to modify the drawing style. To open the Styles window, click on Window in the top menu and then select Styles.
The Styles window should pop up. In the center, there will be a drop down menu. Click on it and select Default Styles.
Your current style will depend on which template you started with or if you previously selected a style. I am going to switch to the Shaded with Textures, which has a nice white background.
We’re going to save a new style called Orthographic Drawing Style and edit it to be more printer friendly. Type in the new name at the top of the Styles window and then click on the Edit button in the center. This will bring up the different settings for the style, which we can edit to create our new custom style.
When you click edit, there are several different menus available with various settings that you can edit. Click on the blue shaded box to edit the Modeling Settings. Then uncheck the button next to Model Axes. Finally, click on the icon for the style in the top left to update the style with the new settings. You can now use this style again in the future.
I am planning to print this drawing out to use as a starting point for taking my field measurements, so before I print it, I want to add a bar scale for reference. I’m going to zoom into the lower right-hand corner of one of my walls. Click on the rectangle tool and hover your mouse over the point at the corner. You should see a green dot. Start dragging your mouse to the right, and you should see a red dotted line. That means that the next point you’re about to click is lined up with that green point along the red axis.
Click once and drag your mouse to the upper right. Without clicking again, type 6″,6″ and hit enter. You should now have a 6″ square.
Next to the 6″ square, draw a 12″ x 6″ rectangle, then a 24″ x 6″ rectangle and a 48″ x 6″ rectangle.
If you want your bar scale to look more like a traditional bar scale, you can use the paint bucket tool to change the colors to black and white.
Close the color picker and click Zoom Extents so that you can see your entire drawing on the screen. We’re almost ready to print our drawing, but before we move on, I think it’s important to note that SketchUp will print everything you see in the modeling window including all of the white space around your drawing. We need to resize our model window so that there is as little white space as possible around the perimeter of the drawing in order to get it to fit on a letter size piece of paper.
From the bottom right hand corner of your window, drag your mouse to resize the window until your drawing fills the entire window.
Next we’re going to change the print scale of the drawing. In the top menu, click on File and then Document Setup.
In the Document Setup dialog, uncheck Fit View to Page. Under Print Scale, change the value for In Drawing to 1/8″ and the value for In Model to 1′. It’s very important that you click off the value for In Model before clicking OK. Otherwise, the print size will not change. Verify the print size has changed and how big the drawing will print. My drawing will fit nicely on a letter size piece of paper in portrait orientation.
Now we’re ready to print. Hit CMD-P (Mac) or CTRL-P (Windows) to bring up the print dialog. You can see that the drawing is now centered on a letter size sheet of paper. You can either print directly from here or save to a PDF. I always save to PDF. If your drawing doesn’t fit on the page, you’ll need to go to File then Page Setup to adjust the orientation of the page or the size of the paper. Or, you can reduce the scale to 1/16″
Save your file with a new name when you are finished. Do not save over your original file.
You should have a perfectly scaled floor plan that you can use as the basis for your field measurements instead of having to start your sketch from scratch. Next time we’ll use our field measurements to create a basic three dimensional floor plan of the house.