Aligning solids vertically on center

Hi all,

This is probably a typical novice question, but I was experimenting with the solid tools last night and wanted to try to simply “sink” an extruded hexagon shape (made with polygon tool) into a slightly larger cylinder shape to perform a cut out using the trim tool, and finding it hard to inference-lock to simply stack them on top of each other on center.

I know this whole process can be done by simply extruding both shapes up from the bottom (making polygon face inside circle face) but I love the software generally and I’m trying to learn multiple ways to do things.

Is there a certain align function that allows you to stack basic solids on top of each other on center, kind of like a child’s block tower?

Pardon the question if it’s too elementary, but I was looking through documentation and watched a couple YouTube videos and couldn’t figure it out.


I would generally draw something like that in place but it’s easy enough to use inferencing. Switching to Xray face style can help.

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Ok, great, thanks Dave! It’s about locating that endpoint on the appropriate face first! That searching around with your mouse in space for a midpoint inference was frustrating. I now have “X” as my x-ray shortcut–very creative, I know :wink:

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Yes, in that case to be able to actually infer to the center point.

If you can do it, I highly recommend modeling things in place. It usually requires less data entry and reduces the chances of errors.

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Yes, this has become my go-to workflow after watching a lot of tutorial content, but I’m still trying to figure out the ins-and-outs of SU compared to some other programs I’ve used. For example Tinkercad has these 3D align handles that function like this (5 second gif):

The whole workflow of that free web-based software is about using primitive shapes to “punch holes” in other shapes. It has some similarities to SU that it’s not a true solids modeler like Fusion360 and needs to run some boolean operations to allow exports to STL and OBJ files. However, I’m not a software expert by any means.

Some users have created some very Sketchuppy designs with it (albeit at tiny scale) with it that are quite brilliant, like:

Its also worth noting that Groups and Components have specific grab handles that you can select to move. Tapping alt will toggle through them. They default to the corners of the bounding box but each tap of alt will highlight another set and cycle through them.
Here I have used the Bottom side middle to place the sphere at the top midpoint of the octagon, then used the midpoint of the side and the up arrow to lock to the blue and move it to the midpoint. Effectively centering the sphere within the octagon. You could also do this in one step by grabbing the center grab handle and move it straight to the middle. Xray helps with that. There is also the option to add Snaps, a relatively new feature, but that is another story.
GIF 12-05-2024 10-18-04 AM

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Very cool, thanks for that! I didn’t know that shortcut to cycle through the inference-locking points–very helpful. That feeling of being “lost in space” moving around objects without reference points can be a bit disorienting.