How to Make Extruded Shapes in Google SketchUp 8

When adding extruded shapes, like gutters and handrails, to your Google SketchUp models, you use the Follow Me tool. A lot of the time, you want to use Follow Me to create geometry (edges and faces) that’s attached to another part of your model.

When you use Follow Me to extrude a face along a path that consists of edges that already exist as part of your model, always do two things:

  • Before using Follow Me, make the rest of your model a separate group. Follow Me can sometimes mess up your model, so keep the geometry Follow Me creates separate, just in case.

  • Make a copy of your extrusion path outside your group. The edge (or edges) you want to use as an extrusion path aren’t available because you can’t use Follow Me with a path that’s in a separate group or component.

    What to do? You need to make a copy of the path outside the group and then use the copy to do the Follow Me operation. Here’s the best way to make a copy of the path:

    1. With the Select tool, double-click your group to edit it.

    2. Select the path you want to use for Follow Me and then choose Edit, Copy.

    3. Exit (stop editing) your group by clicking somewhere else in your modeling window.

    4. Choose Edit, Paste in Place.

      You have a copy of the path you want to use, and it’s outside your group.

When you use an existing edge (or series of edges) as an extrusion path, the hard part is getting your profile in the right place. You can proceed in two ways; which one you choose depends on what you need to model.

Drawing your profile in place

You want to use Follow Me to add a gutter that goes all the way around the perimeter of the roof. You decide to draw the profile in place (right on the roof itself) because the edges of the roof are drawn parallel to the colored drawing axes.

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  1. Zoom in on what you’re doing.

  2. Using the Line tool, draw a rectangle whose face is perpendicular to the edge you want to use for Follow Me.

  3. Use the Line tool (and SketchUp’s other drawing tools) to draw your profile directly on the rectangle you just drew.

    The important thing here is to make sure that your extrusion profile is a single face; if it’s not, Follow Me won’t work the way you want it to.

  4. Erase the rest of your rectangle, leaving only the profile.

Drawing your profile somewhere else

The awful thing about handrails is that they’re almost always at funny angles, not parallel to a colored axis. When drawing your extrusion profile in place isn’t convenient, draw it on the ground and move it into position after.

Here’s the trick: Draw a tail — a short edge — perpendicular to your extrusion profile. You can use this tail to help line up your profile with the edge you want to use as an extrusion path for Follow Me.

image1.jpg
  1. Draw your extrusion profile flat on the ground.

  2. Draw a short edge perpendicular to the face you just drew.

  3. Make your profile and its tail into a group.

  4. Using the Move tool, place your profile at the end of the extrusion path.

  5. With the Rotate tool, rotate your profile into position.

  6. Right-click the group you made in Step 3 and choose Explode; delete your tail.

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