Troubleshooting a Model
Almost everyday I receive a SketchUp model from somewhere in the world. It is usually an attachment to an email describing a problem performing an action described in one of the many steps outlined in my eBook. The email may say something along the lines of, “I’m a bit confused by the procedure to ……”.
I look forward to receiving these notes, especially when they attach a model. I can often guess the problem by the description of the problem alone, but having the model makes a big difference in my ability to troubleshoot.
I have to say that the most frequent problem for new SketchUp users, continues to be failing to open the component for editing. The reader tries a Push/Pull for a tenon, mortise, groove or rabbet and it doesn’t work. It is frustrating, I know, and it is usually caused by not opening the component for editing before marking out a joint of some type.
I find that using an Exploded View is a key to troubleshooting these problems. You may find that this can help you get over a frustrating experience.
I’ll use an example of the Magazine Rack model. Here is how I received the model.
By the way, I have approval from the SketchUp user to use this as an example in this blog.
Step 1: I’ll spend a few minutes arranging the model for ease of inspection. This is a back view and upside down, so I’ll orbit and pan to get a standard front view, and get an idea of how the axes are oriented. If materials and grain colors are used, I will delete them, as they make it hard for me to see issues.
I find guidelines very distracting, and a fist step will be to delete them. There is a quick command to delete guides as shown below.
Step 2: I’ll do a quick inspection on the assembled model to identify some of the most apparent issues.
Step 3: With the Select Tool, draw a select box around the complete model. This selects all the graphics in the model.
Step 4: With the Move/Copy Tool, tap the Ctrl Key to make a copy of the model. Move it down the red access to a clear space.
Step 5: I’ll open the Scenes Dialog Box, and make a Scene called Exploded View. Then I can always get back to this view with a click of the mouse.
Step 6: With the Move/Copy Tool, pull the model apart. This is when issues usually show up.
Step 7: Orbit around for a rear view of the Exploded model. This helps identify issues not exposed in the front view.
The Exploded View helps find problems. It does not necessarily identify the cause. In this case, the user was having trouble making the rabbet in the back edge of the Top. The Exploded view tells the problem; that the rabbet was drawn outside the definition of the Top component. The dangling rectangle is evidence of not opening the component prior to drawing the joint lines.