How to Make Lathed Forms in Google SketchUp 8 - dummies

How to Make Lathed Forms in Google SketchUp 8

By Aidan Chopra

Lathed forms, like spheres and bottles, can also be modeled in Google SketchUp. And a surprising number of things can be modeled in Google SketchUp by using Follow Me to perform a lathe operation. A lathe is a tool that carpenters (and machinists) use to spin a block of raw material while they carve into it — that’s how baseball bats are made.

Here’s how you might make a sphere with Follow Me:

  1. Draw a circle on the ground.

  2. Rotate a copy of your circle up by 90 degrees.


    If you’re wondering how to do this, follow these steps:

    1. Select the face of your circle with the Select tool and then choose Tools, Rotate to activate the Rotate tool.

    2. Press the Ctrl key (Option on a Mac) to tell SketchUp you want to make a copy.

    3. Click a green endpoint inference along the edge of your circle and hold down your mouse button to drag. Don’t let go just yet.

    4. Still dragging, move your cursor over to the endpoint on the exact opposite side of your circle; then release your mouse button.

      Your axis of rotation is a line right through the center of your circle.

    5. Click anywhere on the edge of your circle and then move your mouse over a little bit.

    6. Type 90 and press Enter.

  3. Make sure that one of your circles is selected.

  4. With the Follow Me tool, click the circle that’s not selected.

    Now you have a sphere.


If you really need a sphere, the easiest way to get one is in the Components dialog box. The Shapes library that comes installed with SketchUp has a selection of spheres (and cones and other things) you can choose from.

Under normal circumstances, you only have to model half a profile to use Follow Me to make it three-dimensional.