Beginner help with batch printing holes

HI forum
Im back with more help for some basics please. I will ask multiple questions relating to this in one post.
I have included a very basic sketch of what is a drilling guide I use for a repetitive job I make for my wife.
I need to add 30 evenly spaced 7mm holes in between the 2 10mm holes at either end.

Is there some formula or way to batch them out in one go ?

If I can draw this is there a way that I can print it to scale so I can print a new template each time and just fix it to the work piece ?

I drew both the 10mm holes separately, is there a way that I could have just drawn one and the other end would copy automatically ?

drilling guide.skp (18.5 KB)

You need to learn about the Array copy capabilities of the Move tool. For example, move a copy of one of your holes over atop the other and then let go of the mouse and type /29. It will create an array of thirty evenly spaced copies.


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thanks very much, I will redraw and see how it goes. I did something wrong when I made the component, one of the guide lines for the end hole became part of the component

Looking closer at your original question, to get an array of 7 mm circles spaced evenly between the two 10mm ones at the ends, draw a 7mm circle at the center of one 10mm, move a copy of it to the center of the other 10mm, type /31 to create 32 evenly spaced copies and then erase the two centered on the 10mm ends leaving 30 in between.

Thank you, I will try that now.
I did draw a new 7mm hole and was trying to copy that , when you copy a circle do you try and select it from the centre to move it ?

You can grab any convenient point on the circle when moving it. I can’t remember which version introduced the ability to inference to the center of a circle if you hover over a vertex of the circle itself then move the cursor over to the center point. If that doesn’t work in Make 2017, you can use a vertex on the 10 mm circle and move the copy to the corresponding vertex on the other 10 mm. After selecting something to move, you can click anywhere to use that click point as the reference for the move - it doesn’t have to be on the thing you are moving! This is very convenient for moving something parallel to some existing edge or, as in this case, to a reference point on something else.

Thanks again.
I don’t really understand vertex. I finally managed to make the array thingy work. I had trouble making the 7 mm circles inside the 10mm and then moving them so i drew it with all 7mm then redid the outside holes back to 10mm.

drilling guide.skp (76.2 KB)

Is there a way I can make this a printable template to place over the workpiece to mark with a centre punch.

To 3D print, an object must be modeled as a “solid” in SketchUp. For something like you need, the most straightforward workflow is probably:

  • Draw a rectangle of the desired size
  • Draw the array of circles on the rectangle spaced and sized the way you want
  • Erase the faces enclosed by the circles to make holes in the rectangle
  • Use the push-pull tool to draw the rectangle up to the desired thickness
  • Select everything and make it a group or component.

That should produce a printable SketchUp solid. I believe that for SketchUp Make you will need to install the stl export extension to export a format that most printer’s slicers will accept.

If you are looking for a paper printed template, search the forum for printing at 1:1 scale from SketchUp. This is a question that comes up frequently.

thanks for all the help, i don’t need to 3D print but I’ll check it out

I edited my reply when I realized you might have meant a paper printed template. See the earlier post.

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I used SU to draw the drilling guide as above but after marking out on the workpiece at 11mm intervals as per the SU diagram the maths did not work out correctly, I will keep trying to work it out

Your last model has the 30 holes laid out evenly between the end ones so if you were using it as a full sized pattern, it would work fine.

Unfortunately this is where you went wrong. It isn’t 11mm between holes. It’s close but not exactly 11mm so over that many intervals, you’ll have an error. You have 340 mm between the end holes. With 30 intervening holes there is 31 spaces to mark out. 340/31 = 10.96774 which is what SketchUp shows as the spacing you have laid out.
Screenshot - 10_19_2020 , 6_33_23 AM

It would probably help you out to increase the display precision of the units in Window>Model Info.

Edit to add: Here’s a pattern. If you print it out on A3 paper with no scaling it should be full sized.
Holes for Geoff.pdf (10.6 KB)


thank you very much ! I never even thought of the model precision info. I see now that the holes were actually “creeping” along the further I went.
Thanks very much for the template, did you draw that with SU ? that was all I needed to make but unfortunately I went the wrong way round.
I have a crude drilling guide made from timber that i have been using and it’s been ok but not as precise as I would have liked, this way will be much better !
I use the guide to drill holes on each edge of a square of mdf with one side only the 10 middle holes are used. My wife makes macrame baby swings and this is the seat for it, the holes all have macrame rope going through them, It’s not my favourite job.
Once again, much appreciated
ps : I am no longer working away

Hi Geoff,

The “creep” is one of the reasons I prefer to work with Display Precision set as high as it will go while modeling. I want to see that sort of thing before it becomes a problem.

I used your model. The only think i did to it was add the center marks so they would print for you. The rest was done in LayOut.

For your drilling jig you might consider adding some sort of drill guides. Or maybe if you’re doing enough of these things, have a machinist drill a piece of steel bar stock for you. If they have a CNC mill they could drill those holes in short order.

LayOut is part of the SU pro version ?
I was thinking the same about having the guide made from metal just wondering about the possibility of chipping a drill bit if I don’t get it aligned exactly on the first go, I could stop and start the drill press each time to make sure I am aligned correctly though. For the most part I leave the drill press running while sliding the workpiece along.
ps: My wife just text and said the pdf guide you made is printed :smile:

Yes. Even if you are only doing this as a hobby, if you have enough use for full size printable patterns (and/or CAD exports) SU Pro could be worthwhile.

If you chamfer the edges of the holes, I think you’d find the drill would just naturally find center.

How large are these squares of MDF? I can think of a couple of ways you could make a simple indiexing jig for drilling them without the need for a drill guide.

the mdf bases are 370mm square, I usually line up my drill guide and the seat base against my drill press fence, drill a 10mm hole then place a piece of 10mm aluminium tubing through the guide and into the base then drill the opposing hole. Rinse and repeat around the base then proceed with the 7mm holes

Are there any holes through the large faces of the MDF? Do you have a picture of one of these things?

the only holes in the bases are the ones I drill using that guide around the edge, the guide lines up with the outside edge so all the holes are 15mm in from that edge.
I will get a picture tonight. I have to leave for work now
Thanks again

Hi Dave
Here is a photo of a finished base ( please excuse the ugly blue wall, we haven’t got around to renovating the bedrooms yet).
I have uploaded a photo of the finished project as well