Drawing Cabinets

CabWriter tools allow you to quickly define the space where the cabinets will reside and then easily specify and draw the cabinets you need, where you need them. Once all of the cabinets are placed, it’s a simple matter to create your shop drawings, cutlist, optimize your plywood, and export parts to be cut on CNC if desired.

Wall Tool

CabWriter’s wall tool provides a simple way to construct the walls that define the space where the cabinets will be placed. You set the parameters indicating wall thickness and height, then place the walls where you want using the wall tool. CabWriter does the rest. Of course, you can then use standard Sketchup tools to draw the floor, punch window and door openings, and add doors, windows, and furniture from Sketchup’s extensive 3D Warehouse. You can also apply color and textures to any of the walls, objects, or cabinets for an even more realistic look.

Parametric Drawing

The reason you can draw cabinets so quickly in CabWriter is because it already knows the way you construct your cabinets; therefore, it can automatically draw them for you the same way you build them: part by part. Just like the most expensive software packages, you will spend time entering the parameters specifying your construction methods, including everything from whether you use a face frame or not, and if so, the width of the stiles and rails, toe kick height and depth, cabinet height and depth, carcass joinery methods, door and drawer style and construction, and much, much more. Once completed, you’ll be ready to place your cabinets.

Story Stick Technology

Once the walls are drawn and the space is defined, the fun begins: it’s time to start placing cabinets. CabWriter uses an innovative story stick tool to quickly indicate cabinet placement by specifying the location and type of each of the cabinet stiles. If you’re building frameless cabinets, you’ll be indicating the placement of virtual stiles corresponding to where the carcass ends come together. Once the cabinets are laid out using the story stick on the floor for lower cabinets, or higher for upper cabinets, you’ll specify the type of each cabinet box (standard, drawer bank, sink, corner, etc.) as well as other parameters. Then CabWriter automatically draws the cabinet(s) for you. Whether you build frameless cabinets, individual face frame cabinets that you screw together, or long runs of cabinets with an integrated face frame, CabWriter has you covered. See below for an example of how these tools work together or watch the overview video for a more in-depth look at drawing cabinets.

Select the CabWriter wall tool to begin drawing walls.

Indicate where to place the first wall. All walls should start on the origin of the blue axis.

Once the walls are drawn, use Sketchup’s native tools to draw a floor and punch door and window openings as necessary. If desired, download realistic windows, doors, and other objects to make the space look more realistic.

Start laying out the cabinets by using Sketchup’s tape measure tool to draw lines 24″ out from the walls for the base cabinets. Marks are also made to indicate the center of the window which determines the placement of the sink base cabinet. The story stick tool is used to mark where the stiles are located, and just as importantly, what type of stile it is which in turn determines things like whether to draw a side panel or whether to add a scribe allowance to a stile that abuts a wall. In this case, we’re placing a right end opening stile because it’s next to the dish washer opening.

Here the stiles are all placed for one continuous cabinet consisting of a drawer bank on the left and a sink base with a unified face frame. 

The first step in drawing the cabinet is to specify the height and depth of the cabinet as well as the materials being used.  In this case, we’re accepting the defaults we specified in our preferences for base cabinets.

Lastly, we specify the type of cabinet we want for each of the pairs of stiles we specified. CabWriter highlights in blue the current cabinet to specify.  In this case, we want a drawer bank with three drawers.  You can also override the material specification for the carcasses at this point.

After all the cabinets are specified, CabWriter draws them. Here is the finished cabinet with both the three drawer bank on the left, and a sink base on the right centered under the window.