Assembling Complex Objects with Union or Outer Shell in SketchUp

By Aidan Chopra

Here are a few examples of everyday modeling challenges that the Solid Tools can help make less challenging. You’re almost certain to encounter these tricky situations while you climb the ladder toward ultimate SketchUp ninjahood.

You can use the Intersect Faces tool to combine multiple roof pitches into a single, solitary roof. If all those gables, hips, dormers, and other roof elements are solids, you can absolutely use SketchUp’s Union or Outer Shell tools to make quick work of the problem.

The same goes for anything that’s composed of several disparate elements that you’ve assembled by moving them together until they overlap. In the spacecraft shown, the hull (or body) of the craft is a combination of different pieces modeled separately.

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Notice the lack of edges where the components intersect? Edges add detail and definition, especially when a model is displayed using a lines-only style (as it is here). There’s also the issue of all the geometry hidden inside the hull. Combining everything together into a single solid helps it shed weight and look better, all at the same time.