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Sketchup Snaps question

Discussion in 'CAD' started by Metalguru, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Learning how to use sketchup, I'm just playing with models from the various builds on OpenBuilds.

    I can manipulate parts ok, but for one thing:

    I can't figure out how to snap parts together in precise alignment based on a set of points. .

    For instance, how do you make a bolt object snap to the center of a hole with the face of the bolt head flush with the face of the surface where the hole is located? Or how do you snap 2 objects together so their faces are in contact and the are aligned on their center points?

    Seems to me this should be a critical part of the process but I'll be damned if I can find anything in the help files on it. Maybe its called something else, but I can find no info on this.

    Help!
     
  2. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    I prefer to use decimal units in SketchUp and where you set it to decimal units, in Windows/Model info/Units, you can also set the snapping, which I have set to 0.0001". That helps with precise snapping.
    To snap to the center of a hole I use a plugin called 'Set Center Point'. I think it has to be downloaded. With it you can snap to the center of objects.
     
  3. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Seems kind of silly to have to use a plugin to do something every other CADD program in the world does by default.

    Thanks for the info, Justin.
     
  4. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Another question:

    Suppose I have a plate with an array of holes. Suppose I also have a different plate of a different size and thickness with a different array of holes. I want to copy a group of holes or at least their size and location from one plate and add them to the other in a specific position. How do I do this? In 2D cadd I just select the circles, enter a reference point, and copy the holes from one object to the other. I have not been able to figure out how to do this in Sketchup.

    Again, another simple feature that should be easy to do but definitely is not. At least until you know the secret...
     
  5. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Haven't figured out how to do it in a single step but as a two step process, it is fairly simple. I just grab the center of the bolt end and drop it at the center of the hole. Then using the move command, I grip the bottom edge of the bolt head and slide (using the shift to maintain the axis) and when it gets to the face of the plate, the pop-ups will let you know. Depending on the complexity of the drawing, grabbing the center of a hole can often be a challenge and for those times I just draw a line across the hole and drop to the center of the line which is fairly easy to catch.

    As far as copying from plate to plate, I generally use reference marks on both the source and destination where it is easy to grip the end of the source mark and move (copy) to the the end of the one at the destination.
     
  6. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Sketchup has a lot of these little 'secrets' :) for many features. Going back and forth between programs like Auto CAD and Sketchup can be tough as SketchUp works differently then CAD in may ways (as you are finding out)
    However, both have their place for experts and novices so its nice to learn each of them.
    It may be worth taking a look though these short video tutorials to learn the basics of what can (and can't) be done using SketchUp
    Video Tutorials: Getting Started | SketchUp
    Also have a look at these as well. These I have not seen but plan to as they look really helpful
    Sketchup Tutorials, Tips & Tricks | MasterSketchup.com
    Hope this helps
     
  7. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Yeah, that sounds so simple. However, a lot of the models that I have downloaded from OpenBuilds don't actually have circles as the ends of a hole. It seems that they are a collection of line segments arranged in a circular pattern, and a pattern of rectangular faces as the inside circumference of the hole. There is no inference point at the center. Thus it becomes impossible to just "grab the center". I guess this may have been just an artifact from importing a G-code file, or it could have been an older version of SU or something.

    I tried using the trick of drawing a line across, it sort of works for positioning.

    As far as reference marks, that sounds real good, but I have yet to figure out how to actually put one on something. I can find no command designed to do this.

    This is one of the most frustrating learning curves I have ever come across. It just doesn't seem to make sense. I've spent hours in SU trying to do simple tasks that would have taken minutes in 2D CAD.

    I think I'm going to have to look for .DXF files of these models, do my editing in 2D CAD and import them back into SU and extrude them.
     
  8. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    When I came to SketchUp I didn't have the handicap of coming from AutoCAD, or whatever program is being used, and my learning curve was very short. I found it to be very intuitive. I'm trying now to learn 3d modeling in Fusion 360 and I find it to be NOT intuitive. I guess my experience with SketchUp is hampering me from getting into Fusion. :) I spend hours in Fusion for stuff that will take me minutes in SketchUp. Sounds familiar, @Metalguru: :D

    When I want to move parts from one model to another in the same window I select the parts. On my keyboard I hit 'm' for move and 'Ctrl' for copy and move the parts to an empty space. Now I group them so that they will not interact with anything I drop them on. You may want to put a small cross in a place that you may want to use as a handle before you group them. Now you can move it to wherever you want and once you have them in the place you want you can explode (ungroup) the part.
     
  9. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Thanks Justin, I'll give that a try. I think it's something in the "explode" command that makes entities like circles turn unto hundreds of small segments. Haven't figured out how to turn them back. I've got examples where the hole on one side of a part is a circle, but the same hole on the other face of the part is 24 line segments arranged in a circular pattern. The inside surface of the hole could also be 2 arc shaped segments, or 24 rectangular segments arranged in a circle. If I put a reference point on the circle side it works fine, but it wont recognize the line segments as a circle and refuses to put a center reference. I'm using an extension called Guide Tools, it works well except for the above mentioned case.

    You are definitely right, past experience is a big part of the learning curve. Once you have learned to do things one way, its harder to learn a new way. And, once you learn it, its hard to keep them straight in your mind.

    I spent a few more hours on it yesterday, and things are becoming easier as I gain experience, but its a slow process. Sketchups Help site is so dismal, it's impossible to find anything useful on it. For some reason, when you search for stuff on Make, it keeps coming up with links to Layout, which has no resemblance to Make at all in most cases.
     
  10. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    @JustinTime same on fusion but learning ;)
    @Metalguru if your looking for the parts in other formats for your cad program it may help to check out the OpenBuilds Parts Resources formats
    STEP
    IGES
    SolidWorks
     
  11. Scott594

    Scott594 Well-Known
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    I'm where you're at. I'm trying to decide what Cad to standardize on. Used Autocad all my life, but I'm retired and can't afford the subscriptions. 1st thing I did in Sketchup is try to set the snaps. Upon searching the net, I find out you only get snaps in the Pro version. (I didn't know there was a plug-in)
     
  12. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Hey Scott:

    I feel your pain. In exactly the same situation. I'm not sure about snaps even in Pro. 'I think I have the 30 day eval of Pro and there aint no snaps. Might be worth looking at plugins, theres a lot out there and there should be some useful ones. The one I have isn't for snaps, it just allows you to put a center reference point in a hole or circle.

    In my previous life, the draftsman used Creo (Pro E) for 3d. Putting a bolt in a hole was simple - click on the faces you want to mate, click on the circ of the bolt and the hole, and voila! it just drops into place. Not so with sketchup...

    Ah well, back to the tutorials...
     
  13. Scott594

    Scott594 Well-Known
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    Metal, I was wondering about that too, I supposedly have the Pro edition trial, and can't tell. It' got a few nice features, but I re-drew a carriage 3 times that I would have had done and gone in Acad in 20mins.
    3tries times after I walked myself into a corner trying to spot bolt holes off center. Then it was the belt fin. It's like pulling teeth. Watched all the tutorials and now can draw furniture, but that's now what I'm trying to cut.

    I outfited my mill and lathe with steppers, bought an ethernet Smoothstepper, 4 5500 drives and built a dedicated computer/drive setup a couple years ago. Now I get back to it only to find out the Mach 3 is the only software that's not either a mess or $700. I now have a laser settig out there that will probably be keeping the chinese controller for a while.
    Supposedly it comes with Corellaser which includes the CAM gcode converter. Holding my breath...
    Patience I guess. Sorry to ramble on. Needed to vent. Sketchup may be the answer, but I heard it won't output a DXF unless you pay... This is going to take some serious homework... I sure miss my Fanuc controllers....
     
  14. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    Sheesh, people, SketchUp is FREE! So you have to install a plugin, big deal. :D I still don't know what the problem with the snap is. My SketchUp always snaps and/or snapped. Sometimes it annoys me since it would snap to things I don't want it to and I have to zoom in to clear the point where it snaps to.
    My SketchUp imports/exports .dxf and .stl files. Just ini bitzy tiny little plugins. :ROFL::ROFL::ROFL::ROFL:
     
  15. Scott594

    Scott594 Well-Known
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    Sounds good to me, can you please save us some time by directing us to source for the plug ins?
    I'm here to learn.

    Scott
     
  16. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Well my sketchup sure as hell doesn't snap to anything except the short road to insanity.

    Justin, mind giving us a list of the extensions you have installed? Also, keep in mind that FREE does not automatically equate to GOOD. You get what you pay for.

    Scott, Extensions (what SketchUp calls them) are best installed by clicking on the red Extension Warehouse button on your Getting Started toolbar almost all the way to the right. You can search through to your hearts content. Mind that some of them are not free. When you find one you want to try out, click the Install button at the top right. Don't click Download as it is a bit of a process to install downloaded Extensions. The Install button does it all for you.
     
  17. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Scott:

    I'll be using an Arduino microcontroller, cheap Chinese stepper drivers, and free software that downloads g-code to the Arduino. Should work fine, there are many people using a system like this. Helps if you are an electronics/programming guy and know something about microcontrollers. You could use an Arduino with your existing stepper controllers, though. It just has a step and direction output for each axis. The free software that interprets G-code into axis steps resides on the microcontroller. Check out the Controller boards forum for more info.
     
  18. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    One of the great features I find of Sketchup is that it can be as powerful or basic as you like it to be. Once you master the basic tools you can then begin to add some quite powerful plugins to help you achieve what is needed for your particular application.

    See some of the plugin examples tasmccarthy put in the tutorial video below and you may find there are ones you would like to use as well.
    - I have attached the plugins he demonstrates in the ZIP below: (scanned with defender)


    There are tons of great video tutorials that will help you get started using Sketchup and most of the time you can pin point the one your after.
    More:
    Here is a nice plugin that exports to STL and DXF:
    Convert Sketchup SKP files to DXF or STL | guitar-list

    The main list of extensions/plugins for SketchUp can be found here:
    Extension Warehouse | SketchUp Extension Warehouse

    Installing Ruby Plugins
    SketchUp and .rbz files The SketchUp 8 and 2013 allows you to install zipped Ruby files (.rbz) from within the product.
    If your plugin has a standard (.zip) extension, then you can just change the extension name from .zip to .rbz.
    To install a SketchUp Ruby plugin script with the .rbz format:We recommend logging into your computer as an admin before installing any Ruby scripts. This will make the installation go more smoothly and ensure that files get installed in the proper places.Select Window > Preferences (Microsoft Windows) or SketchUp > Preferences (Mac OS X). The Preferences dialog box is displayed.Click on Extensions. The Extensions panel is displayed.Click on the Install Extension button. The Open dialog box is displayed.Locate the Ruby zip file to install (.rbz).Click on the Open button. The Ruby plugin appears in the list of extensions.

    Older versions of SketchUp and .rb files If you're using an older version of SketchUp or you have a file with the .rb extension, you can install the plugin by placing the Ruby script file into the appropriate folder, and then restarting SketchUp.Windows - the default location is:SketchUp and SketchUp Pro: C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp #\Plugins.

    Hope this helps
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Scott594

    Scott594 Well-Known
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    Thanks for the info.
    I really am leaning toward Draughtsight at the moment. Solidworks is also in the running. I agree with the get what you pay for. I wouldn't mind paying for a decent CAD, Preferably CAD/CAM package if it were reasonable and not a "subscription". I'd pay 5 or 6 hundred bucks if I were to get something that lasted, and operated in the manner of Autocad. I learned on Autocad 10 back in the late 80's when you needed to add a math coprocessor to your 386sx to run Autocad. I then bought Lite when it came out. I needed to as I was doing contract for IBM and others who insisted on getting the drawings in Acad. So I'm kind of set in my ways, having used it exclusively for 30 years. (before a lot of Acad critics were born). It's fine software, but Autodesk has always insisted on pricing it on the ragged edge for small businesses. Now that I'm doing it as a hobby, it's insane. Solidworks seems to be the standard for a lot of small machine shops, and I'm looking into that.
    I've played with a variety of freecad stuff, and most are clumsy (my avatar is a Teeshirt transfer drawn in SilhouetteV3)

    Right now, I'm looking for something under a grand, preferably half that, and that exports gcode or something that can be easily translated to gcode.

    I've played with the Arduino stuff, and it looks like it's a possiblility.
    Right now, I'm close to purchasing D2nc, which is a handy operation by operation gcode generator that integrates with Mach 3.I've got the demo, and it looks good to me. Most times, I don't need end to end automation. I just want it to cut a circle, face a surface, drill a bolt circle, or turn a profile, and D2nc excels at that level of automation. It was developed by a machine shop owner for just that purpose. You can get it for $40 if you buy it with Mach3 in a package deal. $215 for both. It' $79 and worth it IMO.

    Thanks for the hints on Sketchup. Guess I need to play with it some more and confirm the free version will really work.

    I've got a cousin that does setup on CNC mills for a living at a larger job shop. I'm going to give him a call, those guys gotta have home shops, I'll see what they're running (probably copies of the bosses Solidworks if they're anything like we used to be)

    Scott
     
    #19 Scott594, Jan 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  20. Scott594

    Scott594 Well-Known
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    Looks like I cross posted you Mark.

    Thanks a lot for the info. I didn't realize that Sketchup had so much add on material. In my day you could add on pre-fab blocks and that was it. Sketchup looks like you can make it into almost anything.
    Looks like I have some learning to do. I'm about 20 years out of date.

    Scott

    Ps - It sure DOES help!
     
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  21. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Glad to be a help @Scott594
    I can say that the way that worked for me when I was working on learning Sketchup was to learn a new tool every night. There was a set of short video tutorials only about 2-3 min on each tool and its function (can't seem to locate them now) so that helped me learn a lot in the beginning. If I can find them I will share them.
    A lot of this stuff is new to most of us here because the programs available and information is moving at top speed right now with 3D printing and the maker movement in full swing so there are so many choices out there (and new ones being developed every day) that it can be hard to settle on just one to learn.
    The great thing is having this awesome group of like minded guys here on OpenBuilds who share and help one another and work though challenges as a team.
     
  22. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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    Are you able to snap to anything in any of the existing Sketchup Files from this site?
    If not, I think you should try reinstalling it.
     
  23. Scott594

    Scott594 Well-Known
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    Thanks Mark.

    You are dead on about the explosion of the maker movement. Seems like anybody with a couple coding classes and time on their hands is writing software, CADs included. It's made finding decent software difficult and standardizing (like the"the good old days") nearly impossible.



    It seems the big boys, Dassault, Adobe etc, all have gone to the subscription/engineered obsolescence arrangement. The student editions they offer are their version of a crack dealer's 'free sample', and don't work for us. The only intention there is to hook future customers. It's not a good trend, especially for the more serious hobby/part time pro user. We don't expect free commercial grade software, but on the other hand can't pay $1200 each a year for a CAD program, a CAM program, Gcode editor, etc.



    I find Mach 3 well written and fairly priced. Too bad they didn't finish Lazy CAM, then it would solve 2 of the links.



    There's a niche open as I see it. A $500 software package, licensed to the user permanently, that emulates or at least operates using similar tools as AutoCad, converts to G code, and allow editing would seem to have a near limitless market right now. Packages with Mach 3, it would be an “all machine” solution. Nobody seems interested in offering a coordinated package that Older and new users both can use with a moderate learning curve. There would be plenty of market left if they offered improved editions and plug in library s every 3-5 years. (like the flight simulator market does)



    Maybe I'm just getting lazy as I age, but I've got 5 or 6 CAD programs rolling around in my brain, merging and confusing me. I just hate to add several more.



    It took quite a bit of searching, but it seems I HAVE found a forum of like minded folks who are willing to help each other.



    I'm looking forward to hitting the “GO” and watching my mill take a little off the top. Still a ways to go, but I'll get it. Now I've got a cheap chinese laser to 'fix up' –



    My “Big Plan” is to standardize as much as possible on “Some Cad program”, a common CAM and Gcode editor, to Mach 3 and D2nc and a common controller (Ethernet Smoothstepper?) in the lathe, mill and Laser cutter.



    Sorry to run so long, and sorry to OP to get off on a tangent. Snaps DO NOT currently work. Will “plug in “ tonight and see what we get. Fingers crossed.

    Thanks for the help.



    Scott
     
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  24. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    To answer Steve, no.

    Indulge me here for a moment. Could someone, who is familiar with SketchUp, do a recording of how you assemble, say, the wheel assemblies onto a v slot gantry plate so that all the wheels are in the correct position with spacers etc. Or even just putting together the wheel assembly itself. Doesn't even have to have commentary. Just a screen vid of you doing it to see how it's done. Picture is worth 1000 words and all that.
     
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  25. Scott594

    Scott594 Well-Known
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    +1 Metalguru

    Seeing it done would answer a lot of questions for me as well. Not sure if it's just my lack of 3d CAD experience or Sketchup setup. Probably both.
     
  26. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    I'd be willing if I knew how to do a screen video....

    But I'm not sure why you are wanting to put wheel assemblies together. I just grab the ones Mark has already created and move them around.
     
  27. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    you say 'snap' , Sketchup says 'inference', look it up in the Sketchup help/online.

    Sketchup is inherently an architectural drawing tool that with a little pushing and understanding can do just about anything. Thus, arcs are made up of segments that are tagged with a radius and are thus part of a 'circle'.
    If you leave them like that SketchUcam will generate true arc commands from them (G02/G03) that may have some slight inaccuracies if you edited the arc.
    If you explode the arc you get line segments, and the Gcode will be just line segments (G01).
    Before you explode, right click the arc and set the number of segments up to 48 or 96, or more, depending on the radius.
    This can get you so many line segments that you cannot see them in the cut. But, it will slow down redraw and Gcode generation.
    You can also go the other way, and set a true unexploded arc to have as few as 3 segments, drawing looks terrible but the Gcode is pure arc segments, and few of them, making for fast clean cuts.

    Another little thing to watch out for, do not expect to be able to use features smaller than 0.001" because Sketchup's internal math translates
    if (x == y) // is x equal to y)
    into
    if (absolute difference between x and y is less than 0.001" then we think they are equal)

    have fun
     
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  28. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    I looked into the Zip file Mark posted and I found that I don't have even one of those plugins. :D Not even ONE! :D :D

    I had to install the plugin that does the center of objects. I have it since SketchUp 7. I used to save all the plugin directory when I went from one Windows system to another and that's how I still have it. I think it has to be downloaded but I don't recall from where. It has to be copied into the plugin directory, it can't be installed through SketchUp.
    Another plugin I use a lot is the BezierSpline plugin. For my 3d printing I use the STL import/export plugin SketchUp-stl.
     
  29. Metalguru

    Metalguru Master
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    Rick:

    I don't want to put wheel assemblies together. I want to SEE HOW to put wheel assemblies together. I'm trying to figure out why I find this so hard to do when everybody else says it's so easy. I have been so far completely unable to put a wheel assembly (or anything else for that matter) into a v slot gantry plate so everything lines up properly.
     
  30. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    it's easy, select a vertex on the edge of the bolt and line it up with a vertex on the edge of the hole
    (rather than try for centers)
    (-:
     

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