How to Draw Your SketchUp Model’s Profile from Somewhere Else
The awful thing about handrails is that they’re almost always at funny angles, not parallel to a colored axis. In SketchUp, 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.
The following steps describe how you’d draw and position a profile for a handrail:
Draw your extrusion profile flat on the ground.
Draw a short edge perpendicular to the face you just drew.
This tail should come from the point where you want your profile to attach to the extrusion path.
Make your profile and its tail into a group.
This makes it easier to move and rotate around all at once.
Using the Move tool, place your profile at the end of the extrusion path.
To make sure that you position your profile accurately, pick it up by clicking the point where the tail meets the face and then drop it by clicking the end of the extrusion path.
With the Rotate tool, rotate your profile into position.
Here’s where you need to use a bit of skill. The Rotate tool is easy to use — after you get the hang of it.
Right-click the group you made in Step 3 and choose Explode; delete your tail.