Google Sketchup - Come Along for the Ride #8: Putting in the legs and zooming and panning

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 07-23-2008 06:04 AM 2196 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Continuing the table - inserting guides and preparing for legs Part 8 of Google Sketchup - Come Along for the Ride series Part 9: The next progect »

Second try on this one. Had it almost done and it went into oblivion somewhere. Oh well – here we start again.

This is where we ended the last time.


So now it’s time to place the legs. This will be another exercise in redundancy. No copying and pasting – practice practice practice. :+)

We are going to work with the bottom left leg. You need to select your rectangle tool and move it to the corner of the two guide lines. When your tool hits the corner exactly a black inference dot will show up showing that you are at the intersection of the guides. Left click the mouse once and let go. push the mouse up about an inch or so and click again. Then type in 3,3 and Enter. This gives you the dimension of your leg.

Next select your push/pull tool, which is the same tool we used to give depth/thickness to the top.

One thing you have to remember about the push/pull tool is this—whatever it is hovering over will turn to a bunch of dots——that means the tool is ready to do something to that particular part of your project. Because of that you need to be sure that the tool is on top of the new rectangle/leg. Once you have it over the leg = left click and bring the leg up. Then type 29.25 in the VCB box and hit enter.

You should now have this.


Now we want to work on the top left leg. You can see that when you place your rectangle tool there that it is not as easy to get the intersection to come into view. This is like standing at your workbench and not being able to correctly see the part you are trying to work on. So you either walk around the bench or you move the project. In this case if you physically walk around the project all you’ll see is the back of your computer—- that won’t help—believe me. What you want to do is to pan and zoom.

I like to pan (use that ghostly hand) and move the project to the center of the screen and then I zoom in (using the scroll wheel on the mouse) until I get a good view.

This is what my screen looks like.


Now try getting your intersection inference to show up. Place your second leg just like the first. Then zoom an d pan some more until you get all four legs in place.


Now is a good time to learn the eraser function. You cannot use the Edit drop down menu for this part – you can only use the eraser. The eraser is the flat pink tool (7th from the left).

Before you go any further have you been saving your table progress? I’m assuming you are building with me and not just reading. Maybe, please.

So anyway – now is a good time to get rid of those guide lines. You do this two ways one simple one not so hard way. The simply way if you want all of your guides to go away is to go to the Edit menu on the tool bar and drop down and select delete guides and just like that they are gone.

However,what if you need to keep one or two guides and only need to erase one or two. Hummm you do that with the eraser tool and this is how that’s done.

Select the eraser tool bring it to the guide you want erased and left click near the guide – it should turn blue the click again – and it’s gone

So now we have an upside down table. That’s not much use to us. Use your pan and orbit tools to flip this table upright.


This is what we want to end up with.


Hope you all are getting a little something out of this. I know I am. All questions and comments welcomed.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

9 comments so far

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3751 days

#1 posted 07-23-2008 06:13 AM

This is really starting to come together!

Thanks Betsy.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3891 days

#2 posted 07-23-2008 06:16 AM

Thanks Lew you’re a good cheer leader!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Martin Sojka's profile

Martin Sojka

1893 posts in 4468 days

#3 posted 07-23-2008 11:01 AM

Keep it up, Betsy… the word about your series is spreading ;)

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3953 days

#4 posted 07-23-2008 02:19 PM

Hey Betsy..
Your table is coming along nicely. As usual, I have a few observations.

I know you are trying to keep it simple and emphasize the basics but you should think about using groups and components at this point. There really isn’t anything particularly complicated about this…basically, it’s just a way to group certain geometry together. This accomplishes 2 allows you to more easily manipulate the elements in your model, and it keeps the geometry of certain elements from interacting and changing other geometry in your model. For instance the way you made your table leg. If you just draw a rectangle on your table underside and extrude it that works just fine. But if you hide or erase your leg you will find there will be a hole in your tabletop. To avoid this you could just make the tabletop a group. It’s real easy, you just select all the geometry (you can do this real easy by triple clicking on any element in the, side,edge or windowing all the geometry you want to include). Once everything is selected, you right mouse click and select make group…thats it! Now the tabletop is its own group and to change any of the geometry you click on the group, right click and say edit group…or just double click on the group. The beauty of this is you can still draw on the tabletop, or snap any lines or guides to any element in the group. Now when you draw your rectangle for the leg, you can still use any geometry in the group as a reference, or make your own guides the same as you did before, but when you make the leg it doesn’t make a hole in your tabletop! The new geometry doesn’t change or interact directly with the grouped geometry. Once you make the leg you can group it the same way as the tabletop. Then when you make you stretchers they wont mess up the legs etc, etc. It also makes it easier to hide can hide the whole leg with one click instead of several. It also makes it easier to copy elements as well.
Components are really the same as groups, but when you make an item a component, you can also name it , and set some other attributes about it. The real cool thing about components is that once you make something a component, and copy it, if you make a change to the component all the copies change as well. Say you make a table leg real basic. You make it a component and copy it 3 more times for your table. Then you say..I want to put a bunch of complicated turnings and chamfered edges on the leg. You double click on one of the legs, and make your changes, and all the legs will change along with that one! You will see when you go into edit mode, that the rest of the legs will get that haze over them as you edit. This is a real time saver, especially if you have allot of copied or repeating elements in your model. Give it a try, doesn’t really take any extra time or effort…you just have to consider what elements you want to group. You can also group other groups as well. You can make your table a group, then all the elements inside that group ( tops, legs stretchers) could be groups/components.

Also, when you flipped your table over you really didn’t flip the table over you rotated the view. Essentially the table is still upside down, the viewer is just standing on his head looking at it. look at the screen shot you can see the ground is now the sky! You should use the rotate tool to flip the table around. Just select the entire table then grab the rotate tool click on an anchor point ( this is the axis point that the item will rotate around) and flip it. The problem with rotating the view is now everything in the model is oriented in reverse.

Hope this helps….


View Sac's profile


268 posts in 3629 days

#5 posted 07-23-2008 02:38 PM

Thanks for starting this project on sketchup. I am working with it some more now that I’ve read this series in trying to understand it more. With your help it is a little less intimidating as I am not much with these types of programs.

-- Jerry

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3891 days

#6 posted 07-23-2008 03:15 PM

Martin does this make me a celebrity worthy of MsDebbie wanting an autograph? :-)

Brad – you are awesome! Thanks for the tips. Those are the things I am going to put into the next project.

“the viewer is just standing on his head looking at it.” – that’s hilarious – I didn’t realize what I had done!

Brad your input is invaluable and that is what I was hoping to get from doing this blog. You’ve given me some good pointeres.

This first project is really basic but the next, a hall table, will incorporate all the things you described. With help from fellow LJs like you I’m going to work my way into “expert” status! Weellll maybe, matbe not. But I’ll be able to do my projects.

Thanks again for the help!

Jerry – I’m glad you are getting something out of it.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Martin Sojka's profile

Martin Sojka

1893 posts in 4468 days

#7 posted 07-23-2008 03:19 PM

Yup.. celebrity ;)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4156 days

#8 posted 07-30-2008 12:09 PM

wow.. I’m impressed!!!
you’re my hero! (again)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3425 days

#9 posted 01-07-2009 05:04 PM

I’m following along most of the time but I got side tracked again.

Brad, I attempted what suggested about making a group. At least that is what I thought I was going to do. I got myself in trouble with the select tool. When I select, instead of getting a set of blue lines, representing the group of objects selected, I get a dark grouping of the object. I would have to call it a blob. Looking at it very closely, it is the set of objects selected but not in the form of a nice neat set of blue lines.

That is what I get for going off on my own.

The only way I could recover was to close out of Sketchup and come backin. Good thing I had saved.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

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