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.

Every parameter setting used to draw a cabinet is stored within every part of the cabinet; we call it the cabinet’s DNA. This is a very powerful concept because most projects will have cabinets designed with multiple construction methods, or parameter settings, which can get confusing to keep track of. To make it easy, CabWriter provides a tool to quickly extract the parameter settings from any cabinet so that you can draw more cabinets using the same construction method from the current or a previous project. Essentially, every cabinet you ever draw automatically becomes part of your own personal cabinet library.

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 first used to indicate where the end markers of the cabinet are, and just as importantly, what type of end 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 the case of a face frame design. In this case, we’re placing a right end because it’s going to be 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 center set of marks placed by the Story Stick are called connector markers that indicate where the two boxes will come together, or connect. After placing the ends of a cabinet, the connector markers are used to partition a cabinet run into any number of boxes.

Lastly, we specify the type of cabinet we want for each of the cabinet boxes we specified using the Story Stick tool. CabWriter highlights in blue the active cabinet. In this case, we want the left box to be a drawer bank with three drawers. You can also choose the number of drawers or override the material specification for the carcasses at this point as well as change other options.

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.