Creating amorphous 2D shapes, finding area (sq in), printing to scale


I am wondering if SketchUp can be used for a particular project I am working on. I hope to:

  1. Draw an amorphous 2D shape in SketchUp
  2. Find the area of that shape in SketchUp (in square inches).
  3. Print that shape to-scale.

I would like to do this in order to calibrate a Lasico planimeter. I want to calibrate the planimeter by measuring shapes with known areas, and seeing how close the planimeter results are to the actual area. Once we know how accurate the planimeter results are, I can measure shapes that I don’t know the area of.

I am a SketchUp beginner: does the program have these capabilities? If so, how?

Thank you!


You can display area for each, individual face or for each material.

It’s entirely possible to draw “amorphous shapes,” although that is far from SU’s strong suit. Remember that there are no true curves in SU: curved lines consist of multiple straight line segments. It’s much better suited to constructing rectilinear forms on axis.

Printing generally is weak in SU; it is not intended to produce 2D paper documents, but 3D models. One of our Sages, Geo, has written a procedure for printing to scale that seems to work fairly well.

May I inquire why you have chosen a 3D modeling tool to do this strictly 2D drawing task?


Here’s the link…

Hi Gully,

Thank you the information and insight! To answer your question - a friend recommended SketchUp when I described the project I was working on. That is what led me to posting on this forum. If you have other recommendations of programs or methods I could use to accomplish this - that would be much appreciated!

Thank you,


Thank you for sharing this!

Well, okay, but the very first thing you see on the SU home page is “The easiest way to draw in 3D,” which is simply not what you’re doing. Friend’s recommendation or not, that’s sort of a red flag, isn’t it? I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but we live in an era in which there is a tremendous proliferation of software types and capabilities, and the ability to objectively evaluate software products against a specific set of criteria and select the best match has become an essential survival skill. Choosing the wrong software in the professional world can put you at a tremendous disadvantage from which you may have a tough time recovering.

That said, this question (what’s a good 2D drawing application) comes up fairly regularly, so you may take some solace there. See this earlier thread:

Creating a key for a 2d floor plan - SketchUp - SketchUp Community