Quick Start: Building a Windmill
If you can't decide for sure where to start, I suggest that you start right here with this Quick Start. It is designed to give you a quick whirlwind tour of the major SketchUp features using tutorials.
Each stage of this Quick Start is also saved on the book's CD and available as a reference if you get off track. And if you are inspired to take the model in a different direction, feel free to do so.
The example project for this Quick Start is a windmill. SketchUp is really good at creating architectural designs such as buildings and homes. It also is good at visualizing machines, and a windmill is both.
Finding a Reference Image
One of the best places to start is to look for a reference image that is similar to what you want to build. A quick search on the Internet enabled me to find a windmill that is fairly close to what I want to build. This image is used as a reference that gives me the correct relative dimensions and shapes.
Because the reference image is flat, you can load it into the drawing area and use the image as you line up different dimensions. You can load the reference image as a background image, but the scaling may be off, so you'll load it onto a flat planar surface that you can position wherever you want.
Tutorial: Loading a reference image
Loading and positioning a reference image will take a little bit of work, but it is worth ...