Best way to intersect if you have multiple components?


Hello everyone. I’m having trouble being able to explode/intersect these components so I can complete my model as one single solid. Each array of 6 anchor links you see in one component. So I only have 4 copies of the anchor arrays and then a component of the sprue base cylinder.

Here is a photo with all 5 components highlighted to show you what I need intersected/exploded.

I have a fairly powerful computer as I play some of the latest video games… yet if I try to intersect with model all 5 components, Sketchup just hangs or crashes.

Is there a recommended efficient way to do this? Must I just highlight the large cylinder sprue and one anchor array at a time?

thanks for any advice,



did you try ‘Outer Shell’?


No sir, I did not.

You mean I can select all components, then use outer shell tool?

I’ll try that. Thank you. I only knew about exploding and intersecting.

But I like your outer shell Idea because I need it to be a solid and that will help.

thank you sir.


OK, I’m trying it, but since you have to select two items with Outer Shell, I think I have to use one of those “cut and paste in place” tricks.

Does that sound right?


you can pre-select all then run the tool…


When I try that, I first get warning “either they are locked or not solid” so some will be deselected". It only likes my vertical sprue cylinder, the other items are locked out and say “nested solids”.

I’m not sure what to try next. But I appreciate your guidance.


posting the skp is the easiest way to se what’s wrong…

all need to be solids to start with…

work backwards using Outer Shell on the locked out ones until you have all solids…


Ah, you were correct. When I originally made my anchor arrays in a flat 360 degree array. I think they were solid and fine.

But when I tilted them, and now they touch… they are all nested. But I don’t know how to fix this. Does nested mean I need to delete geometry that is inside them, or do I need to explode them or something like that?


Here is the file of one of these problem guys. I have no idea how to fix it, I mean just what approach. I

Forgive my ignorance on this one. If it’s just inner geometry that is the problem, I can fix this. I just want to know if that is indeed what they mean by nested?



I think I figured it out. Forgive me for wasting so much of your time because I just realized, each anchor link is another component inside the larger array component.

So “nested” means I have components inside of components. This is the issue. So I believe I must explode each of the 6 anchor links inside it’s own component array.

Thank you for your time,



Doing an Outer Shell on the model you posted does work. It locked up my Mac for ten minutes, but after that I had a solid entity, with a volume.


crippled my mac a bit as well, do you really need that many segments for the circles?


If you’re just trying to print this and don’t care if it’s a single solid or not, you can make one anchor link into a component and then insert 23 copies. Add the sprue base cylinder as a separate group. Most print slicing software will handle them just fine un-exploded. As long as each group (or component) is at the top level and contains no sub-groups, it should work fine. Model: tree.skp (1.9 MB)

MakerBot screenshot of STL export:

Animation of MakerBot printfile:

Screenshot from Shapeways:


Oh, I had no idea you could do that. Thank you. I’m totally new to this and yest, I intend to use shapeways to 3d print in wax.
I’m a jewelry hobbyist, not a professional so I am self taught. So I appreciate this insight into 3d printing.

I have meshmixer software and just use shapeways for 3d printing. So could I do this trick with meshmixer?


Sorry. I pick a lot of segments so that as 3d printing resolution gets better and better, I will not have to remake this design. I think already the resolution is .1mm accurate and if someone where to make these from gold, they don’t want to polish away more material. I will only make these from argentium or sterling silver. You want it as perfectly smooth as possible in wax so that just a dip in a wax solvent to further polish the surface of the wax is all you need before investing and burn out.


Maybe I’ll have to get a mac. Or do jimhami’s trick. My Windows PC keeps crashing when I try outershell. I’ll maybe remake it with fewer segments after all. :slight_smile:


Meshmixer seems to import the STL file exported from SketchUp without any problems:

You can also export the file from SketchUp as a DAE file and it will upload to Shapeways as well. Their analysis software gives it a green light in wax:


Oh, awesome. Thanks for the info.

Appreciate all the help everyone. I think I’m OK from here and will get to it.