Google Sketchup - Come Along for the Ride #16: My saga continues -- really starting to get some ideas now though

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 08-06-2008 06:07 AM 2349 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Hall table redo -- just putsing along - and questions, course Part 16 of Google Sketchup - Come Along for the Ride series Part 17: Hall table - drawers -- not a good start »

As with any new thing – it’s a stop and start learning experience. Yep. Still working on the hall-table-drawing. Getting a lot of great help from Dave and David – thanks guys.

So now I’ve started again with the legs. I’ve come a long ways from just a simple rectangle on the ground – but it’s a long way from a fancy turning. But that will come in time. (I promise that I won’t start from the beginning every single time I blog—- but right now it makes sense to me.)

The table leg is 1.5×1.5×28. Mortises are ½” deep x ¼” wide x 3” long centered on the leg.
The legs on the short side are 12.5” apart from outside to outside.
The legs on the long side are 39” apart from the outside to outside.

Start with the basic rectangle and size as stated above. It’s a good idea to check dimensions as you go (unless, of course, you are designing on the go). I’m working of a model so I know my dimensions which makes drawing easier. You can adjust dimensions as you go, but I’m not so good at that yet.


To insert dimensions use the dimension tool (looks like a three sided box with a “3” at the top and slashes through the corners) – click once on a corner or edge then move your mouse to the opposite end click once and move your mouse to the side. You should see something similar to my picture above.

Next make the leg a component. Anytime you are going to make more than one of anything, make it a component.

Select the leg by triple clicking (should be entirely blue) then right-click and chose “make component”. Name it whatever you choose – I choose “leg.” (very original I know.)

Now the fun starts. Because you’ve made the leg a component anything you change on the component will be made automatically to all copies of that component.

As in woodworking with the actual wood there are a dozen different ways to do everything. Drawing is the same. You have to be able to see what you are drawing in your mind’s eye. It seems like it is a ton easier to draw the mortises on the top of the leg because you don’t have to spin the leg around to see each side.

Draw in the guide lines by using the measuring tool. For my purposes, I’ve drawn lines at 5/8 from each side and in from the inside edge ½”.

Then use the rectangle tool to draw in the rectangle and use the push/pull tool to push the rectangle down 3”. Do the drawing guides on both edges and draw the rectangle twice. But the nice thing about the push/pull tool is that that second push/pull can be accomplished with a double click. (Provided, of course, that you intend both to be the same.)


Now to copy and then rotate/mirror/scale/flip the second leg. Four terms/methods to do the same job – so you have to find the one that works best for you. I’ve not managed to get the scale tool to work for me yet. The minus 1 thing escapes me. The rotate tool has had me snagged as well – but I’m getting that by working on this project.

First start by selecting the leg by triple clicking (should be all blue). Then pick the move/copy tool and over the tool over the leg. Hold down the “Control” key at the same time moving the leg/copy to the right. As you slide to the right (or the direction you choose) you should see on the screen a light red dotted line along with “on red axis”

Continue moving to the right – make sure you keep the dotted line and on red axis showing – if that goes away that means that you are not on the same plane as your first leg.

Some other things to keep in mind. When you move the move/copy tool over the leg – if you position the inference dot over the top inside corner so that it says “endpoint” when you stop moving your copy over – if you type in 37.5 in the VCB box then it will automatically move the leg the required 39” outside measurement.

Also, once you start moving the copy – you can release the control key. As for the mouse key, the caveat with the mouse is that you can let go if you are going to type in the dimension you want. If you are going to place the leg precisely where you want it then don’t let up on the mouse until you reach your destination.



You’ll notice in the above picture that the mortises are in the wrong direction for the right front leg. Not for long!

The easiest thing is to triple click the copy (the new right front leg) until it is all blue then right click and select “flip” “along the red axis.” Double check your dimension and it should still be at 39”.


To use the scale tool——triple click then select the scale tool (looks like a diamond with a brown corner) – you’ll see a parcel of green dots on the leg. Move your cursor over the leg and watch how the dots are connected. That will give you some clues on how this works. Play with it some also. Just remember you can always undo what you don’t want to keep by using Edit – undo.

For our purposes on this project – move your cursor over the top middle dot.


Then while holding down the Control key and the left mouse key – move the mouse to the left. Watch the leg turn inside out. Let go of the Control and mouse key and type in -1, 1 on your keypad and hit Enter. Check your dimension. (Now here’s a confession—- I can’t get this to do it twice. So not sure what I’m doing wrong.) Will have to keep working on it. And on and on.

If you are going to use the Rotate tool to reposition the leg – start again by triple clicking until it’s blue, select the rotate tool and hover – After that you’re on your own. Still have not got this one figured out.

For now though—- use that flip tool. That worked great!


So now you have the two front legs with the mortises in the right directions and the right distance apart.

Here is something I did not know and, I suppose, is good to know for other computer programs (in my electronically challenged opinion) is that if you select one object and hold down the shift key you can simultaneously select a second object!

With that said, that’s what we do next—- select both legs so they are both completely blue.

Then pick up your move/copy tool, hover over one of the two legs and move up along the green axes – if you position the inference dot over the top inside corner so that it says “endpoint” when you stop moving your copy over – if you type in 11.5 in the VCB box then it will automatically move the leg the required 12.5” outside measurement.

Now you have 4 legs – albeit the second set of two with the mortises going in the wrong direction.



OK that’s all I can do tonight. Here is where I’m headed. Although, this model has a lot of bugs in it, I’m getting there.


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

2 comments so far

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3982 days

#1 posted 08-06-2008 01:50 PM

Looking good Betsy! Thats a cool thing about SU…I love how things come to life when you start playing with textures. I like the flip’s an easy way to mirror parts. What is it about the rotate tool you don’t understand? Your first click is to anchor the protractor..that will be the axis the piece will rotate on. Then the next click you are kinda making a handle to grab to move the piece. Then just rotate the leg till its in the direction you want and click for a third time. Use the inferences to make sure your rotating at right angles.


View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3920 days

#2 posted 08-07-2008 12:00 AM

Thanks Dave and David. I’ll work on this later tonight. And post more.

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

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