component, component, oops!

Beechwood Chip

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Sketchup is driving me crazy. I'm used to CAD systems that make you do many small operations. It's tedious, but you always know what what the program is going to do. Sketchup makes it more convenient by guessing at what you want to do, and it usually guesses wrong - at least when I use it.

Say I make a board, then I make another board, then I put the two boards together to make a corner. Then I move the second board away. I don't expect the first board to turn into some monstrous, twisted rhomboid from bizarro world. I didn't tell Sketchup to make the two boards into a single object, so I expect them to stay separate, even if they are adjacent.

I eventually figured out that I need to press "G" every time I pause for breath, to let Google know that each thing is a separate thing even if it's touching another thing. But it still seems that stuff gets stuck together when I thought that I had made them separate components.

OK, enough venting. Here are some questions that may help me adjust:

Say I have two "boards" that are touching, and let's say that I forgot to make them separate components. I want to move one away to make an exploded drawing or a cut list, or select one so that I can make it a component. Is there a way to select all of one board without selecting the vertices and edges of the other board that are touching it?

Is there a way to check to see if there's anything that I forgot to turn into a component?

Is there some hint or tip that makes this easier? Should I be using groups instead of components?

I'm going to go watch some more episodes of "Sketchup for Woodworkers". Maybe that will help.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

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One of the ways to make using SketchUp easy is to pretend you're in the shop. As soon as something is 3-dimensional and looks like a hunk of wood, make it a component and give it the same name you would give it on a cut list. The stickiness and stretchiness is wrapped inside the component and won't cause unpredictabe problems. Once you understand the nature of things in SketchUp, and the difference between loose geometry and components, you can do some amazing things in no time at all, and the sticky, stretchy nature of things becomes an asset.

Open up the Instructor window (from the Window menu) and when you click on any tool it will give you all your options. There are several ways to select stuff in SketchUp. Draw a box from left to right and the only objects selected are those that are entirely within the box. You can tell whether objects are components or not by the way they highlight when you select them. If it's a component, the edges will be blue and the faces white. If what you selected is loose geometry, the faces will be covered with tiny dots.

A good way to frustrate yourself in trying to learn SketchUp is to dive in to a project without learning the fundamentals. In my classes, we spend the first day or so playing around with blocks and other simple shapes, and people move forward pretty quickly because they know what the screen is telling them, and what will happen when they push a button. Without that understanding you're stumbling around a virtual woodshop wearing someone else's glasses, and everything is made of Silly Putty and coated with Crazy Glue.

Bob Lang

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I had a similar problem when working on a design last week. Made the box, then started drawing the lines inside for the particular partitions. Every time I drew a line across the bottom (which had been made a component), the lines across the top filled in and created a solid face on top of the component. Is there a way to avoid this when I'm drawing a perpendicular line that will eventually become part of it's own separate component?

I eventually started taking the measurements and then making it in an "outside" portion of the design, making the partition into a component, and moving it inside the box. This seems to take longer because now I'm looking for that place I wanted it to be originally, which is not always aligned with the top or bottom plane of the sides.

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Thanks Bob, that was helpful. My problem is that I think I'm making everything a component, and then stuff ends up sticking together anyway. But I can use "select all" periodically to show what's not in a component, so I can catch and fix the problem without having to redo too much work.

Also, the Instructor panel looks to be useful for finding the effects of the modifier keys.


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I'm so confused. I select some stuff. It shows up white with blue edges. Which means that it is a component. But it is still silly putty when I try to work with it., and when I select it, I select individual edges, faces, and vertices. So, it must not be a component. Or maybe it's a component, but it's open for editing. Nope; the "close component" option is grayed out.

So, I select the stuff I want and deslect the stuff I don't want, and when I've got just what I want I type "G" and give it a name "panel". Then I try to move it and it is still silly putty. And when I click on it I get individual edges, faces, and vertices. So, it must not be a component.

So, I repeat selecting the stuff I want and de-selecting the stuff I don't want, and when I've got just what I want I type "G" and give it a name "panel". Sketchup says that there is already a component named "panel", and I say OK to replace that panel with this one. Not surprisingly, it doesn't work any better the second time.

Any idea what's going wrong? I would just start over from scratch, but I don't see what I could do differently.

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OK, given two bits of geometry that I've forgotten to group into components and accidentally allowed to touch. If I can angle the view such that I can get a selection box around just the parts that I want in component #1, great. Do that, make it into a component, then hide it and select what's left for component #2. If not, then I'd go this way: Select the whole pile, make it into a component. Duplicate it and make the duplicate unique. Then edit each component down by deleting what you don't want.

Yes, as you build a model in Sketchup, the "G" key becomes your best friend.

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I managed to fix this by exporting the model and then importing it into a new drawing. Once I did that everything started working as I expected. All of my pieces were correctly organized into components in the imported model. I don't know why the components "stopped working" in the original drawing, but as long as it doesn't happen again, I don't need to worry about that.

Thanks for your help.

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