The Solid Rules for SketchUp

By Aidan Chopra

Before you can use the Solid Tools, you need solids. Here are six things you need to know about solids; you can think of them as the Solid Rules:

  • A solid is nothing more than an object that’s completely enclosed. It has no holes or other gaps; if you filled it with water, none would leak out. For this reason, solids are sometimes referred to as being watertight. Here’s another way to think about it: Every edge in a solid must be bordered by two faces.

  • No extra edges or faces allowed. You wouldn’t think that one or two edges or faces would make much of a difference, but it does — solids can’t contain any extra geometry, period. Here are some examples of things that can disqualify otherwise completely enclosed shapes from being solids.

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  • Only groups and components can be solids. This one’s a biggie. For SketchUp to realize something is a solid, you have to make it into either a group or a component first. Another thing: Solid groups and components can’t have other groups and/or components nested inside them.

  • Making a solid doesn’t require any special tools. You don’t have to pick from a special list of objects to create solids; you make them with the same SketchUp tools you use all the time. Case in point: Every time you’ve pushed/pulled a rectangle into a box, you’ve created a solid.

  • Check Entity Info to see if your object is a solid. The easiest way to tell whether a group or component is a solid is to select it and choose Window→Entity Info. If it’s solid, this dialog box will say either “Solid Group” or “Solid Component.”

  • Solids have volumes. Manually calculating the volume of a simple shape like a rectangular box is straightforward, but try it for anything more complicated and you’ll see why the Volume readout in Entity Info is so great.

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