Confused about Dimensioning in Layout

Can someone point me to some good documentation about Dimensions in Layout? I’ve already read this section in Help and it did clear up some things, but I’m still a bit confused.

I love how I can easily insert a dimension and easily move its position around AND that it can automatically be refreshed by updating the model. However, I cannot figure out how to control the Extension lines the way I want.

When I add a Linear Dimension, I want the Extension lines to be just a little bit away from the start and end points being measured.

Then if I want to move the dimension object later I can do that and the extension lines will automatically adjust to be shorter/longer but still the same size gap between the end of the extension line and the point it refers to.

This is the behavior I’m seeing in SU if I draw a dimension. However, in Layout I can’t figure out what to do to get it to behave the same way. I’ve played with the various options in the Dimension Style tab of Default Tray, but no luck.

Any help would be appreciated.

Here are 2 screenshots: One from SU showing the Extension Lines with just a tiny gap between them and the object position being measured. The other is from LO. I know that one looks weird because I had the Gap value set to something like 1" just to test it out.

Greenshot_2021-12-24 09_16_22

Greenshot_2021-12-24 09_16_35

In case it helps, here are the model and layout files.

CatHouse.layout (358.3 KB)
CatHouse.skp (329.7 KB)

Hang tight.

In Dimension Style you can set the gap to something like 0.2 or 0.1 or use whatever value you want. Get the Dimension tool and set that before you start adding dimensions and off you go.

The gap won’t change if you move the dimension line closer or farther from the parts. The extension lines just get longer or shorter.

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When you get the chance, be sure to take the LayOut Essentials course on SketchUp Campus.


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I was looking at your model and found some issues. Some dimensions seem strange and some parts aren’t correctly located which I expect has to do with having Length Snapping enabled and rather coarse Display Precision set. Here’s a cutlist of the parts in your model after increasing Display Precision. There’s also at least one excess part. Either Floor or Floor#1
Screenshot - 12_24_2021 , 9_13_50 AM

I reworked your model to deal with those dimensions. I also to the liberty of simplifying the build by making the end panels and interior dividers the same size.

Here’s a quickie PDF from LayOut which ought to be enough to take to the shop. I am curious about the opening in the top panel. Seems odd that it crosses the rear interior divider.
CathousePlan.pdf (28.1 KB)

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Thanks ChrisDizon. I will definitely look at that

Thanks DaveR. That PDF is fantastic. You probably whipped that out in a couple of minutes. It’d take me a LOT longer to figure out how to do all that.

The opening in the top panel was going to be covered with plexiglass so I could look in and check on them and the last 2 compartments. I decided not to do that because I’m going to make the top and its dividers all as one connected piece, but not connected to the rest of the house. It’ll just sit on top of the walls so it’s easy for me to lift it off when I need to clean the inside compartments.

As for the dividers not being same size as front & end pieces… I thought if I made some dados in the walls & floor for the dividers then they’d be more solid since the top will be removable

Thank you. It didn’t take too teribly long to do. Part of the speed comes from leveraging the

That makes sense.

So easily removed from the model and the related dimensions and label deleted.

May I suggest that you leave the top and the dividers separate? That’ll make it easier to fit together both during construction and later when doing maintenance. The dividers can still be inserted into dadoes in the sides but not glued so they could be removed during cleaning.

I figure since you’re going to be cutting the dadoes for the dividers, it is easy enough to cut rabbets on the ends of the sides. The rabbets mean that the front and back would be the same size as the dividers so they’ll be easier to batch cut. The rabbets will also make it easier to locate the ends during assembly. You could add some small blocks to the underside of the lid to help keep it located on top of the walls.

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That’s what happens when I reply without double-checking what I wrote. I meant the trim pieces along the top and not the dividers. I had planned on doing the dados and gluing, but I like your idea even better: leave unglued for easier cleaning later. Thanks!

Very good point!

Thanks again DaveR. If you celebrate it, I hope you have a great Christmas!

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You have a great Christmas, too.

Good luck with the cat house build. I bet the cat(s) will be happy.

Matt Donley has a very helpful dimensioning tutorial on YouTube. Pretty much everything you need to know.

ChrisD, thank you very much for that link. I decided to do the SU Fundamentals first and I’m glad I did. It was refreshing to view a tutorial where the presenter didn’t scream or whisper, didn’t hype some product, didn’t make a 10-minute video to show how to do a 30second process, and so on.

The instructor was great and went through each topic in an easy-to-follow manner. I recommend those to anyone that’s new to SU. Heck, even though I’ve used SU for about 2 years now, I learned some things that help me build models much faster and efficiently.

Thanks again for the great suggestion!