Circular guides


I have been searching on google for this and last post i was able to find was in march of 2016. Is there a way to create a circular construction guide? Guide lines are way awesome, but i need a circular one for some things.



No circular guidelines but you could draw a circle and group it to prevent other geometry from sticking to it. Where would you use a circle guide? Might be there’s another way.


hole placement on circular parts. IE that pulley we made. Or for creating a centerline for people to view, unless layout can do that.

But mostly, its a nice feature for hole placement.


i think it works nice on parts where you want a hole on a circular path but not at the top, bottom or left right of the circle, so at the same radii but at a different angle. if that makes sense. i can see it in my head what im tyring to portray haha


No need for a circular guideline to do that. Since you know where the center of the hole is, you can use that with Rotate/Copy to make a radial array of holes at the same distance from the center.

Go back to that other thread. You can see how I copied the circle around the center to make the holes. You could just as easily copy the circle and different angles if you don’t want them evenly distributed.

You can create a dashed line in LayOut to use as a centerline. It isn’t a good idea to rely on guidelines for that sort of thing. They are a raster-only thing in LayOut and they are volatile. Guides are meant for temporary use and then to be deleted.


the reason i think i circular guide would be nice, is on that pulley, that face the hole belongs on is not at origin. i had to make a guide line out from origin at 0.375 inches, then drag one from origin to the new line, then move that one up along blue axes of 1.75 inches. so i had to make three lines. no big deal at all. just thought a circular guide line from the intersecting lines would make it easier, but it is still 3 keystrokes or whatever we want to call it haha.

so the first image, i would drag that line up by 1.75, then use rotate copy which is awesome by the way. thanks for showing me that.

second pic shows a circle that i drew at the intersection, then made it a radii of 1.75. basically, it saved me 3 seconds of time… so kind of pointless since the rotate tool is placed on the axis you want it to rotate around anyway. so i guess a circular guide is not needed haha


I must be missing something. Why the larger circle in your second screen shot? You didn’t need it for copying the circles or even placing the the first one. And you don’t need the crossing guides either.


sorry for the confusion. that image with the circle, thats what i was trying to accomplish at first before the thread haha. thats the circle i wanted to be a guide:)

Once i figured a circle was not going to work, i used just the guide lines.

but with out the lines, i could not get a circle to place on the face, it was always above it by some distance. So i actually had to place those guides on the surface of that face by dragging a verticle guide from the origin by 0.375 inches, then up to the 1.75 inch mark. that made center of my hole, then i used rotate copy like you taught me:)

the reason i thought i needed the circle, was due to my thinking that the rotate tool needed it for some reason. Then i realized that i just need to use the origin as my point of reference.

thanks for the help

DOes sketchup have a gif recorder? that way i dont have to use screenshots all the time?


There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get the circle on the face. I wonder what you were doing.

You could put a single guideline in to mark where the circle’s center goes if you want.

No but there are a few you can download. I use one called LICEcap.


ok, i am going to have to record what i was doing then because it was frustrating. it was litteraly drawing the circle about 1mm above the face.

Thank you much for the software name. I want to start recording to make life easier.


I tried to get that line to go along that axis. I know this may sound strange, but i wonder i an app in the background is toying with sketchup. Because sometimes it works, and sometimes its moody


The inference engine isn’t ‘moody’, it depends on the angle of the view you’re using. Either rotate your view to make it easier to snap to the axis or use the arrow keys on the keyboard.

→ x-axis (red)
← y-axis (green)
↑ z-axis (blue)
↓ Parallel to edge. Press twice for perpendicular to edge.

Here’s an extreme example of a view where it’s nearly impossible to determine which axis the lines are being drawn on. The camera is in the x-y plane so the red and green axes are almost parallel.

Even without rotating that view, you could infer red or green by pressing the right or left arrow key.


No, the inferrence engine is not moody, its the app or process in the background causing SU to act moody. Took 17 minutes to load gmail without SU loaded.

In Su, it sometimes can take 10 seconds to switch tools.

Its a new machine with win10. I suspect either something on the motherboard is causing it, maybe an IRQ issue or a background process. I only have two apps installed. Su and designspark.

BUT my laptop runs it fine… anyway, for some reason it was not drawing on the face i wanted. Always 1mm above the surface, which tells me, something was there that i couldnt see haha.

Thanks for the tip with the arrow keys. I discover3d that a few days back via Dave telling me. It helps alot.


Thanks for also showing me what color goes with what axis. That was something i didnt pay attention to.

Im begining to learn more and more as i increase my stay here:) thanks to all for the knowledge.


well, this kinda bites, but the new PC i got, it bit the dust haha. time to figure out what killed it. funny thing is, on my laptop, i was able to get this to work, but on the pc that crashed, i was not. very strange stuff.


I always learn from these discussions. I didn’t know the trick of down arrow twice for perpendicular. I tried it and it works! What is the trick for snapping to the center of a hole. I have a very difficult time with the inferencing system. I put the cursor on a circle and it inferences the center, but when i try to snap to the center, the inference disappears and it snaps to geometry behind the object. Seems there should be a key to hold to lock on the inferences.

On my wishlist is the ability to have center and hidden line capability. I have been told the lines are not lines in sketchup but edges.

good discussion, thanks.


Maybe you need to change your view slightly. Or you can try holding Shift to not only lock the orientation but also the plane.


Another technique to reliably reference the center of a circle or arc is to use “Find Center” on the Context (right-click) menu when hovering over an edge of a circle or arc. This places a permanent Guide Point at the center of curvature. You can then inference directly on that visible coordinate.


Thanks for the quick responses. I tired and the tricks work, sometimes. Sometimes sketchup converts simple geometry, like a tube or circle into multiple segments/faces. Then it can’t find the center. I’m trying to find a button to attache a file where I can’t get it to work. here is a drop box link. your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to draw a centerline from either end of the pipe or from one end to the other. It started as a simple extruded tube.


In the extension warehouse has a plugin “Add center point” and one “Convert to construction line”