Why Can’t I Get a Face?
I suspect it’s already happened to you – you’ve drawn a nice shape and the face will not close. Don’t worry, this will continue to happen, especially as you build more complex shapes. I’m in my fifth year with SketchUp and “the missing face” continues to happen with every new piece I design. Often, it is just unexplainable, and you can’t find a problem. You’ve checked that all lines are indeed on axis, so the shape looks to be co-planer, nevertheless, the face will just not appear.
The quick and usually successful thing to do is to draw a line over one of the edges, endpoint-to-endpoint. This is called “healing” and if you’re lucky, will bring back the face.
However, there are times when this healing process doesn’t work. No matter how many times you draw over the edges, nothing happens. What are some of the remedies?
The first step in resolving a reluctant face, is to review visually from several angles. Often, SketchUp can fool you – in the front view the above rectangle looks perfect, so what could be wrong?
However when you orbit around, it’s quite apparent the problem – one vertical edge is off at an angle, causing an unplaner situation. Use your mouse with Orbit, Zoom, and Pan. Look from all angles to see if there is a mislocation of a line or edge.
The next step is to look for extra line segments that are in the way of the face.
In the following image, I’ve shown two extraneous line segments. No matter how many times you try to heal this shape to create a face, it won’t work. These extra line segments are blocking automatic creation of a face.
Sometimes the extra lines are very easy to see and to erase. However, often they are hidden next to the shape edge and more difficult to find. Notice the extra vertical line segment on the right edge where the mouse cursor is pointing. Again, close visual inspection is required, to detect and delete these lines. After deleting these offending lines, use the Line Tool to re-draw over one edge corner-to-corner.
If these two steps fail to correct the missing face problem. it is usually best to delete the shape and start over. Occasionally, you will find that a component will have one good face, but you can’t get the back face to close as shown in the following image. A reader sent me this example and I must admit to not being able to find out why the back face would not close. But in this case, there is not much incentive to spend time looking since the fix is very easy.
Use the Eraser tool to delete the thickness of the component, leaving only the front face. With the Push/Pull Tool, push out the thickness to re-create the component.
When I do carving shapes which I “brand” onto a component, I can expect many problems closing the faces. It is equivalent to having extraneous lines as shown above. To get the face to close in this example, I have to start at one end of the piece, adding various connecting lines, then deleting them as the face covers them. It is a tedious process but I don’t have to do it often.
There are probably plug-ins that can help with this process. And I’m sure readers have suggestions which are welcome.