Model and 3D Print The DC-3 With SketchUp

The Douglas DC-3 (the military version was the C-47) first flew in the 1930s, made commercial passenger flight affordable, flew in many wars, and still flies today.

Coming soon will be the screencasts for completing this project and they will be published on my YouTube channel.  Like many of my projects, this one is:

      • Completely free without ads.
      • Can be completed by any user regardless of experience level.
      • Can be completed on any computer with a mouse, including Chromebooks.
      • “Kid-safe”

I’ll post the link for the screencasts here once they are released.  If you want to be notified, do the usual YouTube subscribe thing and click on the bell 🙂

Here is the link for the DC-3 Blueprint we will use when modeling.





Video Editing on Chromebooks? YES!

Created with GIMP

Actual software applications usually cannot be installed on a Chromebook, which usually means that editing video has to be done in the cloud, like at, which was neither free nor convenient for schools and students.

With the advent of being able to install some Linux apps on Chromebooks, developers have bundled together some Linux open-source applications that can easily be installed (You don’t need to know Linux) via Flatpak.

There are several choices, but my favorite is OpenShot.  It is a typical non-linear video editor that students can learn easily.  It even comes with a nice library of transitions and effects.

You are not going to be able to edit the next Star Wars movie with it on a Chromebook, but for presentations, science experiments, debates, book reports – you name it – it provides the best option for editing video on a Chromebook.

Here is how to install it on a Chromebook:

RAW Photo Editing on a Chromebook

Up until recently, editing RAW camera images on a Chromebook has not been possible.  However, two RAW editors are now available – Raw Therapee and Darktable.  Both are very powerful and can now be installed on a Chromebook.  Of the two, both can do everything I could ever want to do, but I prefer Raw Therapee simply because it is easier to use, at least for me.

Here is how to add RawTherapee to your Chromebook.

At first, it may look intimidating to use, which is understandable as it can do so much, but the basics are easy to access.  These two YouTube guides will convince you in less than 15 minutes that if your students are using Chromebooks, RawTherapee is something you will want to include in your lessons.

Loom Screencast Pro Is Now Free For Educators!

Loom is an online screen recording program from Google.  While the online version does a nice job, if you have a Mac or PC, you can install an application that will give you more features.

Loom does a nice job recording your screen and narration and then stores your screencasts in the cloud for easy sharing.  It comes with a basic editor, but if you want to spruce up your project, you can download the file as a .mp4 and edit it in your favorite free editor like HitFilm Express.

As of the spring of 2020, the Pro version of Loom is now free, for teachers, forever.  That is tough to beat for free, so I encourage you to give it a test drive.

Techsmith Capture – Free Screencapture Software, Image and Video!

There are several good options for capturing screenshots and recording video screencasts.  Techsmith sells two fantastic programs, Snagit and Camtasia.  I have purchased both of them, but for those that don’t need that level of horsepower, Techsmith Capture is a great choice, which borrows some seasoned basic elements from Snagit and Camtasia.  It can be mastered in minutes, captures both images and video (even your webcam), and then easily shares them to your free account.

Highly recommended!  Here’s a brief diddy on how to use it.

Installing GIMP on a Chromebook

For 99% of the image editing tasks, GIMP and Photoshop can do the same thing.  Of course, GIMP is much-lesser known as it is a free open-source program that does not have Adobe’s multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, but nevertheless, it gets the job done and more!

Now with many schools adopting Chromebooks, full-featured image editing has been limited.  No more, as you can now easily install GIMP on most Chromebooks.  I managed to install it on my 3-year old $225 Costco Chromebook and it runs great.  This is the full version of GIMP, not some watered-down web version.

Here are  Terminal Commands For Installing GIMP on a Chromebook,  versions 2.8 or 2.10, using your Chromebook’s version of Terminal.  Installing 2.8 is a little easier, but 2.10 is worth the little bit of extra time.

Build Wallace and Grommit’s Spaceship With SketchUp (and Pixlr)

When I started planning this project, I was asking myself what could be fun for kids, have supporting media, and be short/easy.  I think I hit the first two perfectly, but I kept wanting to introduce new skills.  Before I was done, I realized I had created a monster, but a fun monster indeed.

Anyone can do this project, but it is helpful to have some prior SketchUp experience – explaining every move for a total beginner would result in something no one could use.  However, for those that don’t, they can refer to my online indexed guide for all of SketchUp’s moves and grooves.

Here is a brief excerpt from A Grand Day Out to get your students fired up.

You can stream the whole episode for free if you have an Amazon Prime account.

Here is a link to the playlist.  Enjoy!

SketchUp Pro 2020 – Should You Upgrade?

At the end of January, Trimble announced SketchUp Pro 2020.  I winced somewhat when I saw the subject title wondering if they wrecked a near-perfect thing.  After reading their announcement, the basics have remained untouched.

Students and teachers are either using the web-version or SketchUp Make 2017, which was the last free desktop version.  Regardless, I am still a strong advocate of using the built-in and custom keyboard shortcuts.  They save time and work in any version.

I did upgrade my free version of Pro to 2020, but that is because I know I am going to get work to grade saved by others using 2020 and I won’t be able to open it with earlier versions.  Otherwise, I saw no real reason to “upgrade”.

BTW, you can save your files so they can be opened by earlier versions.

SketchUp and Chromebooks in Schools

A year or two ago, Trimble released a web-based version of SketchUp. Branded as SketchUp Free, it was somewhat limited compared to the desktop version but now has blossomed into a decent version.  They discontinued free desktop version (Make 2017), but it can still be downloaded for a few more months.

Trimble then adapted the web version for education as SketchUp for Schools.  It is 95% the same as SketchUp Free with the main difference being that it uses Google Drive for cloud storage instead of Trimble Connect cloud storage(free).  The user/student must have a google account AND your district IT department must set it up for your school(s) to work with G-Suite for Education or Microsoft Education.  For most users, either version will do whatever you want it to for school, so just choose what works best for you.


The full-blown version of SketchUp Pro is still available for schools in states participating in the free grant program, so this is great news for schools that have more developed programs with computer labs.

For schools using Chromebooks, SketchUp Free or for Schools are the only options.  Files are freely interchangeable regardless of the version, but since software can’t be installed on a Chromebook, the web-based version is the only option.  As long as you have a basic 3-button mouse, it runs well.  From what I’ve read, using just the trackpad really slows down the experience.

The interfaces and menus do differ between the versions.  Most of the same keyboard shortcuts work as well which is about all I use whenever I can.  I did create an indexed demonstration for students of most of SketchUp’s commands with the web version to help translate the commands between the versions.

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