Creating a solid? what is a solid?



Hi people,

How do I turn a freehand scribble into a solid, or a single entity. Would this then allow me to Push Pull?

I have just drawn a random shape which closes I think, and found out that it is made out of hundreds of broken lines.

I also ask because I am trying to use some text as the positive shape to create a negative shape within another solid? Im not too sure if that was clear, basically I want an imprint of text in a solid and Im trying to use the solid tools, but I am getting a message telling me something is not a solid.

Can the selected text be in groups or do I have to explode everything? I have placed the text underneath a flat surface and selected all entities before playing around with the options and all I get is a message about not everything being a solid.

Thanks everyone


A solid is a group or component containing only raw geometry. The raw geometry must completely enclose a volume of space without gaps and without excess geometry.

When you perform a boolean operation on solids using the Solid tools, you select the solids, not their constituent geometry.

If you upload your model, it would be easier to give you definitive advice.




tried to upload model, or it is still uploading… its about 3-4 mb


It is the highlighted irregular line in the image.

Im not sure if its still uploading my model or it has stopped as it is saying its still uploading


It could be that your model is unnecessarily bloated by an accumulation of unused images. (Just guessing.) Try going to Window > Model Info > Statistics and hit Purge Unused. Then save your file and check to see if it has assumed more manageable proportions. The file size reduction could be dramatic depending on how much stuff you’ve brought in and later discarded (if any).



ThomThoms ‘Solid Insepctor²’ plug-in might come in handy here (“Window > Extension Warehouse”).


Your right Ive put in a few found textures, and have duplicated model a few times for iteration purposes. I’ll go and make a copy and see how much I can get it to shrink. thanks again


It hasnt shrunk at all? Ive purged and deleted all layers and am only left with the one model of a sign and its still showing as 3.8 MB?


Layers? Did you Purge All (on the Statistics page)?

If the thing really is that big, you can upload it to the 3D Warehouse and provide us a link, or, for that matter, just about any publically accessible on-line file server–like Google Drive–will do. Just give us a hyperlink.



Where is the statistics page? I purged from the Layers toolbar? I dont think its big or complicated at all, its just a sign with some lettering on at the moment. I deleted the several buildings I had hidden and they themselves werent that complicated either.


Look to the top menus…
Window > Model Info > Statistics > Purge Unused


This does not have anything to do with layers. You want to purge unused images, primarily.

When I say,

what is it that you can’t follow?



138 merton road purge copy.skp (1.9 MB)

Thanks people, purged from the statistics page.


Apparently you want to inset or recess the 3D text into the sign. Try this:



are you trying to do this?

if so use Push Pull Tool…


Unless I misunderstand, there are really two objectives you are trying to accomplish in your model, plus confusion about what constitutes a solid in SketchUp.

Gully gave you a nutshell definition of “solid” in SketchUp. In your model, the only thing that is a solid is the letter “O#3”. In every other case, you have groups or components that nest multiple other ones and usually also loose primitive geometry (edges, faces). SketchUp doesn’t accept a Group or Component as a solid when it has multiple, disjoint nested items, even if taken one at a time they would be solids.

Your first stated objective is trimming away the areas outside your line, and I believe John provided the answer: open Slurp sign#11 for edit and use the pushpull tool to push the faces outside your freehand line to the back of the board. They will then disappear, per his picture.

Your second objective is to inset the lettering into the face of the board. I wish I could give you as nice and tight an answer as for the first, but along the way you have made somewhat of a mess of the model and there are many things that need to be corrected first. Gully’s idea of exploding back to ground zero and working forward from there would be faster and easier than trying to fix the model as-is.

As an variation to his approach, after exploding you could create a component of each separate letter. SketchUp should recognize these as solids. Then you could make a solid Component of the board. Finally, you could position the components on the board. Now the solid tools subtract should work, as everything is a solid - though you have to do it one letter at a time. This would likely be slower than what Gully proposed, but I describe it because it is closer to how you originally imagined working.

For the sake of education, here’s a discussion of issues I found in your model:

You are not using layers correctly for SketchUp.

  • You have all your primitive geometry (edges, faces) associated with other than layer0. You should always draw all primitives on layer0 and only associate Groups or Components with other layers to control visibility.
  • You also have nested Groups and Components associated with other than layer0. Though not as serious as putting primitives there, in your model it isn’t necessary as all the nested Groups are associated with the same layer as their container. When you hide the layer of a container, its contents are hidden regardless of what layer they are associated with, so nothing is gained by associating contents with the same layer.
  • You also have layer OB set as Active. You should only make a layer other than layer0 Active under very limited situations such as when adding dimensions.
  • You have first associated a bunch of edges to layer grd flr and then hidden them individually. Aside from the issue of primitive geometry on such a layer, it would have been easier to make them invisible by unchecking visibility for the associated layer.

In Component Slurp sign#11, you have two versions of the same Group (though independent, not copies of a single Group), one flush with the surface of the board and one inset into it. This redundancy causes needless confusion when trying to edit the model.

You haven’t made a component of the board itself. This lets other geometry interfere by “sticking” to it.

You shoud align the axes of your sign components with the board (right-click, Change Axes). This will make it easier to work with them.

Maybe it’s because of other geometry that you hid or deleted while making this model for upload, but your signs are floating in space at a seemingly arbitrary angle from the model axes and away from the origin. These aspects can also make them harder to work with because SketchUp helps you move things along the main model axes. You have to pay extra careful attention to the inference engine when the items are at odd angles. For instance, to move a letter a bit to the left on the surface of the sign.


Ah, many thanks for the in depth replies people… Yes I did have 2 objectives that I couldnt work out, wasnt sure about.

Thanks for the clear explanation Gully I just wasnt sure if SKU wanted me to explode or group everything before I could carry out the action.

And thanks for the lessons on layers. I was never 100% sure about layers and groups and especially the importance of layer 0


erm embarrassingly yes I was! for some reason I thought that I needed to group all the lines together and then turn it into a solid before I could do that!


A quick way to check if your component (or group) is a solid is to check the Entity Info window; If Sketchup was able to calculate the volume it’s written there. If it’s not there, it’s not a solid .