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This post is where you can ask questions about using Google SketchUp, or about one of our products for learning SketchUp.

Ask your question by leaving a comment below. You can also comment and add your method or insight to any questions. You will need to register before you can comment, and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments. Questions and Answers that become lengthy will move to their own posts and this post will serve as a directory.

34 thoughts on “SketchUp Questions and Answers

  1. Ro

    I really liked your description on how to make ogee feet. The long explanation covered the process for making them in nice detail.
    My question is how to save this detail (component) for use in other projects. I have made several components over and over and would like to be able to easily insert these type of components into various projects. How do I add them to the components menu?

  2. scooteruk

    Hello Mr. Lang,
    I purchased Sketchup from PW a couple of years ago and have now switched computers. The Sketchup did not transfer over. Is there a way for me to re-load what I purchased from PW? Thanks.
    Scott

  3. ddorfmeier

    When I download a Sketchup Warehouse model, such as a carriage bolt & nut or flat head wood screw, and import it I have a heck of a time orienting it properly to the model. Any advice on how to place something like this so I’m not ranging far away from where I want to place the imported feature?

    Dale D

  4. delaing

    Bob,

    I’ve started into the Part 2 CD of SU for Woodworkers.
    Do you have a model of the “cab assy” component that you use to get started with the drawer instructions. Doesn’t seem too critical for that particular lesson, but I jumped ahead and it does appear that you continue to use the cabinet assembly in other lessons.

    Thank you,
    Delain

  5. delaing

    Robert,

    First, thanks for all the effort and special attention you gave in putting together the SketchUp Shop Class CD’s. I’m not quite done with Pt.1, but this is definitely going to move me forward much faster with putting SU to use for woodworking projects.

    Question:
    In Section 5 (Modeling Table) you start to lay down guidelines with Tape. You drag two ‘starter’ guides, then click on one and keyin 1.5″ for the offset of the table legs. You state that SU ‘remembers’ your last key-in and offers to snap to that dimension when laying down subsequent guides. I can tell in the video that SU is wanting to soft-snap to that dimension, so I can see it working for you.

    However, it’s not working that way for me. I’m using version 8. I key-in the 1.5″ to lay down a guide off of the first reference guide. Then when trying to lay down the next guide(s), SU does not remember the 1.5″ with a snap position.

    After much time surfing around, I’ve only found a partial solution. The only way I can get Tape to behave the same is to click in ‘mid-air’ (not on an object or axes) then, type in 1.5″ for Tape to find that point. Then when I click on an axes or another existing guide, Tape will recall the 1.5″ with a snap. It’s as if I’m having to pre-load the 1.5″ in memory for Tape to be able to use it.

    Other commands like Move, and PushPull will remember previous precision inputs, as expected. But Tape is not working as in your video. I’m wondering if there is something you did ahead of that segment and just forgot or this is a feature in your version of SU that may’ve inadvertently been left out.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Delain

    Sorry for the length, but this was very frustrating when trying to follow all your moves.

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      This exact issue came up in class a couple of years ago, and the secret seems to be “click and let go” when you place the first guideline. I do that out of habit, and it makes most commands in SketchUp easier to manage. By “click and let go” I mean to start the command with a single click of the left mouse button, then move the mouse in the direction you want to go without touching that left button.

      So to put in a guideline, I tap the “T” key to bring up the tool, click once on the reference I’m using, take my finger off the left mouse button, and shove the cursor in the appropriate direction. Then I either click again to stop the command then immediately type “1.5” and hit the enter key, or just type “1.5” and hit enter.

      I’m thinking about having some T-Shirts made with “CLICK AND LET GO!!” printed on the front.

      Bob Lang

      1. delaing

        Wow! Jimineydadgumcricket!
        No way I would’ve figured that one out.

        I learned two things here:
        The solution to Tape remembering seems to rely on the [click AGAIN & immediately type 1.5"] sequence. I have to Click on a reference (guide or axes or object), drag out, click again, . . . THEN key-in the desired position of the guide if I want it to hold on to that for other guide placements. If you lay down a subsequent guide and key-in say 4.5″, it will place it at the 4.5″, but won’t remember it. Tape still has 1.5″ locked in its register(?).

        2nd thing: I did not know you could key-in the precision dimension AFTER you place the second click or destination point. Tried it with Move also. As long as the item is selected you can continue to key-in alternate destination points until you’re satisfied with the location or fix your mistype, perhaps. Very cool!!

        I’m sure this AFTER key-in is explained further into your Shop Class CD and I simply haven’t made it that far.

        Thanks so much for responding so quickly. I spent roughly 20 years on CAD drafting programs in a previous career, so not being able to duplicate your technique, while following along the video, was killing me.

        Delain

  6. MgRasmussen

    Love the blog, have been using sketchup for a long time, but not nearly as well as you do. I have a drawing that I’d like to “paint” with a wood texture that I have in a .jpeg file. Two short interrelated questions – How do I get the texture the right scale to look realistic, and how do I align the grain on each component in the direction that I want it?

  7. Linda

    Robert, first of all I would like to express How much I enjoy all that you do for users of SketchUp. I started out with SketchUp 7 and now have the newer version and have tried to work the Cutlist into my program and have had no luck. Even bought an external drive for the memory, (wish I could get one for my memory, getting so forgetful)thinking I needed it since my pc is over 5 years old. I am only computer literate not an engineer. Some of the talk goes way over my capabilities. I was wondering which of the tutorials or videos would be most helpful for troubleshooting what I am doing wrong. Have already sent for the for dummies book recommended but in the reviews has nothing on the CutList. Please recommend something. Oh I am getting a new pc this september. so the quest to change my programs over to the new pc will hang in the sidelines. That will be another question session.
    Thanks again Robert, you have a tremendous gift.

  8. tim

    I downloaded the free version of sketch-up. It is my understanding there is an advance version for which you need to purchase a license.I have purchased the sketchup for woodworkers CD’S. Am I limited to what I can do with the free version

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      Our videos and my pdf book cover the free version of SketchUp, and there isn’t a big difference between the two versions as far as modeling goes. The big differences are in what you can do with the model when you’re done with it. In the Pro version you can import and export vector graphics to other programs, and the Pro version also includes Layout. Layout is an add-on for making page layouts. With SketchUp 8, the Pro version includes the ability to use solid modeling tools, and this makes it easy to intersect one part with another, as I show in this post on making bracket feet. I talked about the differences between SketchUp and SketchUp Pro in this post. Here is a comparison of the two versions of SketchUp from Google.

      Bob Lang

  9. Roger

    I see all your sketch-up projects are downloaded to sketch-up 7. I have sketch-up 8, and cannot get the projects from sk-up 7 to download to my computer. Does anyone know why???

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      Hi Roger,

      That shouldn’t be a problem, but trying to download a SKP8 file to SKP7 would be. Are you trying to download from 3D Warehouse or directly from SketchUp. If you’re downloading from the Warehouse, you may need to save the file on your machine, then open it in SketchUp.

      Bob Lang

  10. MysticValleyWoodworking

    Any advice on drawing stopped chamfers, lamb’s feet chamfers, or other decorative stopped grooves? I have tried drawing a simple table leg, then drawing two arcs at each end of the chamfer, connected by lines between the endpoints of the arcs. But when I erase the outer edge of the table leg, the chamfer itself is treated as a hole in the leg and I can see through to the other faces as if the leg is hollow! I’ve been trying to think of a way to use Push/Pull but the shape of the stopped chamfer is too much for my feeble brain…

    Thanks for the help!

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      The leg is hollow. Everything in SketchUp is a combination of edges (lines) and faces (areas enclosed by lines). Your chamfer isn’t appearing because the arcs you’re making to define the end of the chamfer won’t create a flat face between them-the geometry is too complex. Try using short straight lines instead of the arcs and see if that works for you. That will create a simple triangle at the ends of the chamfer instead of a curved shape.

  11. JoeHDoyle

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you very much for being the Dear Abby of SketchUp!

    One thing I have never figured out is how to select a pre existing object and then change its size. Preferably I would do this by entering numbers rather than streching it with the mouse.

    This feature is in my 2D drawing program and I use it all the time when DESIGNING a project.

    Thank You!

    Joe

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      Hi Joe,

      There is a scale tool in SketchUp, but most of the time it won’t do you much good. If parts of the object you want to stretch have a thickness, that will change also. I’ve heard of a plug-in called “Fredo Scale” that I haven’t tried, but has an enthusiastic following.

      In AutoCAD, there is a discrete command called Stretch. In SketchUp you can do similar things with the Move tool. You need a good understanding of the relationships between faces and edges so you can move a part of something and have other parts change size along with it. Here’s a link to a previous post that explains my approach.

  12. Servelan

    I started in on a drawing to rough out how I want to build my potting shed, and extruded a bunch of 2x4s; they aren’t components. After adding in headers and cripple studs and the like, some of my studs are no longer the default blue, but are white.

    What does this mean (do I have something impinging on the stud that needs fixing)?

    1. Ben Pratt

      Sounds like the faces are reversed. Sketchup makes the “inside” face one color, and the “outside” face another color. The default is white for outside, and gray-blue for inside. But sometimes it doesn’t assign “inside” and “outside” correctly. You can right-click a face and choose Reverse Face to flip the inside/outside assignments.

      1. Robert W. Lang Post author

        Ben has it right, but by job description says I’m required to pick on you for not making these parts components. You’d only need to draw the first one, and you can make equally spaced copies with a couple mouse clicks. If you want to change what you have now, how will you edit all those “sticky” parts?

        Bob Lang

  13. hdsmith

    In the Poplar Woodworking Google 3Dwarehouse there is a project called American cabinet (http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=9944d068ec8b2498738e43095496b061)
    This was modeled by a reader who did a wonderful job on the ogee bracket feet.

    My question is how would one achieve similar results with curves on 2 planes? (My attempts thus far are not up to par.)

    Maybe a better question is; Is intersecting curves on 2 different planes covered in one of the “Shop Class:Sketchup for Woodworkers” CD’s?

    Thanks,

    Doug Smith

      1. hdsmith

        Thank you Mr. Lang,

        I read your ‘Lengthy Answer’, and must say I think it to be ‘The Answer’. I opened up Sketch up to my attempt at a bracket foot, and was able to get a usable model on the second try.

        I think your tutorial presentation was very straight foward, and well thought out. It is very useful to me. And there was an added bonus with the inclusion of the erase/shift tip.

        Well done sir.

        Doug Smith

  14. dweyler

    I have enjoyed the series that you have put together in the shop series, it has helped me get a lot further in Sketchup than I would have before. I am working on a design for a china hutch in much the same shape of an amish furniture 89″ canted hutch. The problem I am running into is the angled wings on both sides off the center peice. How is it possible to get the program to build the face frame and push pull the side cabinets without moving straight with that angle and into the center portion. It seems to want to follow the angled portion at 90 degrees. Thanks for the help

    Dave

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      Thanks for the kind words Dave,

      Push/Pull only works at a right angle to the face you’re extruding. Try drawing the cabinet sides or other angled parts horizontally. Then you can extrude straight up.

      Bob Lang

  15. jackew

    I’m having a hard time getting started with SketchUp simply because I am not used to drawing in 3-D. Is it possible to use, for instance, Adobe Illustrator, create each plane with precise measurements and then bring them into SketchUp and “stitch” them together? Grooves, Dados, etc. need only have their lines drawn and then use the push/pull tool.

    Jackew

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      In SketchUp Pro you can import (and export) vector files, dxf is the format I’ve found that works best. However, I don’t recommend this. You will be investing a good deal of time and effort delaying and avoiding learning how SketchUp works.

      One of the best ways to slow down your progress in learning SketchUp is to try and make a 2D drawing, or to try to apply what you know about a 2D program, such as Illustrator or AutoCAD to SketchUp. There is a big difference between modeling and drawing. Learn to make stuff, simple blocks are a good start. The tools are in SketchUp to make them exactly the size and shape you want. Combine them into groups or components so they are manageable, and play around with them and your SketchUp skills will develop rapidly.

      Pretend you’re in the shop making something and when you’re done you can output any 2D image you want.

      Bob Lang

      1. jackew

        Many thanks to Bob and JRanck for taking the time to answer my query re using a 2-D program first. I can see the validity of your advice, and so I guess it just means I shall have to knuckle down and do it the “right” way.

        Thanks guys.

    2. JRanck

      Like you, I came from a 2D drawing background. I tried to get used to sketchup by myself and kept going back to my old 2D drawing program. Well, I’m on assignment in India for the next 2-3 years and having to get my woodworking fix vicariously. So I decided to take the time to learn sketchup. After all, if I couldn’t build anything in the shop, I’d have a collection of plans to build when I got home!

      The thing that put me over the hump is Bob Lang’s two sketchup CDs. I cannot recommend them highly enough to get the basic principles (and some not so basic principles) down. Then pick a project and get to work. It won’t be long before you’ll be answering other’s questions.

  16. woodbutchr

    What are the correct steps to make multiple copies of an object? I’ve tried to select the object, then copy, then type “x” then the number of copies then enter. Whenever I click “X” I just get the x-ray view of the object instead of multiples.
    Thanks, Dave

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      Type the number of copies first, then X. There are a couple of other things that can go wrong; not completing the “copy” step, or completing it and making one too many mouse clicks or hitting the enter key one too many times.

      Select the object, then the move tool, then the CTRL (option on a Mac) key. You will see a plus sign appear next to the cursor to let you know the move tool is in copy mode. Make the move/copy in the direction and distance you want, then either click the mouse or hit the enter key to complete making one copy. Before you do anything else, type the number of copies you want, then X, then hit enter. If you want to make equally spaced copies, make one copy, type a forward slash, then the number of spaces, then hit enter. This also works with the rotate tool.

      Here is a previous post with an exercise for making multiple copies:

      Bob Lang

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