Best way of dealing with a large number of holes?

Usually I have to deal with a few holes on my Sketchup created walls, for things like doors and windows. The way Sketchup handles these isn’t ideal, but it was never a big issue as it isn’t hard to create and modify a few, usually rectangular, holes.

Recently however I had to open and modify a large amount of holes and the experience was very frustrating.

The best way I found was the following, but it is still very cumbersome, so I hope that there is a better way (maybe with an extension):

To create the holes:

  1. Create a component with the shape that I need the holes to be.
  2. Place instances of this component where I want the holes to be.
  3. Group all instances together.
  4. Make a copy of the parent group and paste it in place. Hide this copy.
  5. Enter the original parent group, select and explode all component instances (so the parent group is a Solid)
  6. Subtract the group from wall to create the holes.

Then to modify the shape/placement of holes:

  1. Carefully select all holes to delete them, making sure no other geometry is deleted in the process.
  2. Unhide the group I created earlier.
  3. Enter the group and modify the shape of the holes by editing one of the components.
  4. Change the placement of the components if needed
  5. Follow Steps 4-6 from above.

There must be a better way. Ideally we would have “hole cutting components”, in order to be able to easily modify the position and shape of the hole after you created it, and automatically also change all other hole components. But even if this isn’t possible, anything better than what I describe above would be welcomed!

Give us at least a screen shot of what you are working with. There might indeed be an easier way.

It’s hard to follow exactly what you are doing but from what I red it sounds like you are working harder than you need to.

Here is an example:

Say you have a wall (a rectangular solid group) and you want to open 100 star shaped holes on it. Then you want to change those 100 star shaped holes by rotating them a bit and making them a bit bigger.

How would you go about it?

Simple example using an old plugin called Chaos which is available from Sketchucation.

A star as an object (group or component) laid out on a face in a linear array with Move/Copy. Then run Chaos. Explode the the star objects to loose geometry. Copy the face outside the stars and use Push/Pull to add the thickness. I copied with Move/Copy here so there’s an example before the Explode operation but in practice I would select that face, copy it to the clipboard, delete all of that geometry and then use Paste in place to paste the copied face back into the same location.

This does require thinking ahead about the process. Much easier to create the opening in the rectangle before giving it thickness than pushing the openings through a thick wall.

Thanks guys. The problem is that what you show works on a plane. Once you create the wall (i.e. a solid object with thickness) the stars can no longer be editable as components. I can’t rotate one star hole and have all star holes rotate simultaneously, like I can do on a plane.

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That’s why I told you that you need to think ahead about what you want to do.


Yeah - sometimes - even if you already have a wall (volume-object) it’s easier to go “one step back” - just delete everything except one side of the wall, then make your changes, as @DaveR suggested and then you’re just one push/pull away from a solid wall again. Much easier then editing holes in a solid wall.

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The main issue is that once you turn your components into holes on a solid group you lose the editability that components provide. I am not saying that there is no way around this, I describe a way in my original post, but I think that such ways are far from ideal.

Here is how Blender handles Booleans: Blender BOOLEAN MODIFIER Tutorial - Cut Holes, Combine Objects, and More! - YouTube

I kinda miss that type of editing logic from my VectorWorks days. When you cut or combined solids in VectorWorks it was similar to what you described. It’s what is called “destruction free modeling” - the original geometry is combined and it “hidden” in the resulting geometry - so when you want to edit it you can just go into the element and move things around. But - that’s not the way Sketchup works and it’s just one of the things one has to deal with.

When I have something like that where I want to fiddle around with the geometry afterwards I sometimes make a copy of the geometry before cutting so I have the “original” still to play with. It’s not awesome but the way Sketchup is built (what you see is what it is) this is not going to change, I firmly believe.

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Yes, I keep a copy of the components that are turned into holes. But the wall might have other, unrelated, changes, so bringing back an old copy isn’t ideal.

You could use and extension

DoubleCut might update the modified holes automatically

Hi Anssi,
The first time I really need it, I will test the trial version of Duble-Cut before buying the license. From what I saw in the tutorials, you need to press the refresh button and choose which components to update.

VisuHole from Fredo?

Click in sequence on the scenes tabs of this SU file for ideas.

Changing star shaped holes in a wall.skp (1.0 MB)