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How to Create a New Component in Google SketchUp 8

Creating simple components in Google SketchUp is a pretty easy process, but making more complicated ones — components that automatically cut openings, stick to surfaces, and always face the viewer — can be a little trickier. Follow these steps, no matter what kind of component you’re trying to make:

  1. Select at least two edges and faces you want to turn into a component.

  2. Choose Edit, Create Component.

    The Create Component dialog box opens.

    image0.jpg
  3. Give your new component a name and description.

    Of these two, the name is by far the most important. Choose a name that’s descriptive enough that you’ll understand it when you open your model a year from now.

  4. Set the alignment options for your new component.

  5. Select the Replace Selection with Component check box, if it isn’t already selected.

    This drops your new component into your model right where your selected geometry was, saving you from inserting it from the Components dialog box.

  6. Click the Create button to create your new component.

Components can cut through only one face at a time. If your model’s walls are two faces thick, you have to cut your window and door openings manually.

If you need to change something about your new component, right-clicking a component instance in your modeling window opens a context menu that offers lots of useful choices; here’s what some of them let you do:

  • Edit Component: To edit all instances of a component at once, right-click any instance and choose Edit Component from the context menu. The rest of your model fades back, and you see a dashed bounding box around your component. When you’re done, click somewhere outside the bounding box to finish editing; your changes have been made in every instance of that component in your model.

  • Make Unique: Sometimes you want to make changes to only one or a few of the instances of a component in your model. In this case, select the instance(s) you want to edit, right-click one of them, and choose Make Unique from the context menu. This turns the instances you selected into a separate component. Now edit any of them; only those instances you made unique reflect your changes.

  • Explode: When you explode a component instance, you’re effectively turning it back into regular ol’ geometry. Explode is a lot like Ungroup in other software programs (in SketchUp, you use Explode to disassemble both components and groups).

  • Lock: Locking a group or a component instance means that nobody, including you, can mess with it until it’s unlocked. You should use this on parts of your model you don’t want to change accidentally. To unlock something, right-click it and choose Unlock.

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