Creating planes and faces from Illustrator drawings - Making a guitar

Hello SketchUp forums! Total noob here, so please excuse my ignorance.

I have successfully imported the contour lines for my guitar top from Illustrator. Each one of the contour lines is supposed to represent 1/16". I am trying use the Push/Pull tool to give these pieces the proper elevations. I’ve tried to group the objects, then explode. Push/Pull still doesn’t want to select the objects. Could anyone point me in the right direction?

I really don’t want to re-draw all my plans, because I have about 10 different guitars with full-sized blueprints I made on Illustrator. I want to take these and create 3d models for my CNC. I am just starting this process and any help would be greatly appreciated!

Make sure you’re dealing with raw geometry; explode any groups or components containing the contour lines.

As you must be aware, this is exactly like building terrain from contour lines, so you should do it the same way you would create the terrain. Don’t use Push/Pull. Instead, you want to raise each contour line to its correct elevation (increments of 1/16") using the Move tool, then use the From Contours Sandbox Tool to skin them smoothly.

You should be able to select one entire contour line by triple-clicking it (which selects all contiguous geometry). So start with the second contour from the outside: select it, pick the Move tool, and move the contour line up along the Blue axis by 1/16". If you don’t know how to lock movement along an axis or how to use numeric input with the Move tool, let us know and we’ll review those techniques (which are very basic). Then move the third contour up by 1/8" and the next by 3/16", and so on.

When all the contours are at their correct elevations, select all of them and invoke the From Contours tool.


In SketchUp, click … Window > Entity Info
Leave that little dialog open as you’re working in SU and pay attention to what it tells you.
Notice it displays the proper name of the entity you select.
Knowing the name of what you’re working with helps you search topics in the Help Forum and Knowledge Center.

If you could review that information, that would be great! I tried to figure it out on my own and didn’t get very far. I triple clicked the individual layers and tried to move, but had some difficulty. I thought I was doing it correctly, however after I moved each layer and looked at it from the front, there was no differentiated elevation. Thanks for all the advise! I’m pretty determined to make this whole thing happen!

Also, tried to use the sandbox tool and it didn’t seem to have any affect. Probably because I didn’t move the contours correctly…anyway. Thanks for the help!

I hope you’re using the term “layers” simply to describe the strata of the contour stackup, not to denote that you’re using SU layers to arrange the geometry. You should be dealing with raw geometry–all edges, no groups or components–and it should all be on Layer0.

How can I help you resolve your difficulty if you don’t tell me what it was?

If that’s true, you’ll head for the Knowledge Center and bone up on the tools and techiques involved.

Triple-clicking should certainly select an entire contour unless there are two breaks in it–one on either side of where you click.

If you want to upload your contours, I’ll try to walk you through the process in a demo.


I’m sorry I’m not using the correct syntax, just starting out here. I’m just trying to use relate-able, general terms to describe what I’m doing. I will try to keep those kinds of things in mind during my future posts!

While I really appreciate the offer, I would like to figure out a lot of this on my own. I will definitely keep posting updates to my project. Chances are I’ll need a walkthrough at some point. Right now, I just need to figure out how to make objects do the actions I want. I’m pretty sure my Illustrator file wasn’t clean enough and it was giving me troubles. I’ll have more time to try it out this afternoon, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Like I said, this is my first time using any kind of 3D modeling software. Thanks for bearing with me while I overcome my learning curve!

Cool project! There are a number of guitar players on the SketchUp team, so we enjoy seeing this type of work.


Hey, by the way, here’s a different approach to modeling a guitar I tried a few years back:

Guitar Body Tutorial


Gully, THANK YOU! That looks great! The designs and plans I have are a little more intricate, but those intricacies come later :smile:

I believe I can use the hand stiching like in your tutorial and combine it with the elevated contour lines I already have. Perfect! Thanks again!

Hello again! I finally got some time to work. I also found the Sketchup Quick Guide… Game changer!

Anyway, I Moved my contours at 1/16" intervals and used the sandbox tool. Seemed to work, but my lines are still there. It also added the sandbox filling to the major cut-aways of the guitar top. I suppose that is because I did not give the outer most contour any elevation at all.

This is going to be a fairly complex drawing. Let me explain how the top is carved… Keep in mind I did this all by hand the first time. I start with a piece of wood that is 3/4" thick. Each contour line represents a 1/16" change in elevation. The thickness of the top itself is 1/4". Since this is a semi-hollow guitar, I carve top and the underside at the same points. I used a different set of templates for the underside, that took into account a center block (for supporting the pickups and top). This center block remains a constant height while the inside contours (red lines) are 1/16" steps.

I do the exact same thing for the back/body, except extend the sides, tail block, and center block 1.5" up (black lines). This gives the guitar its thickness.

So! My next step would be to give the top thickness (1/4"). Is there a way to keep the contours and thicken up the model. Also, I will eventually be adding in cavities for pickups, a mortise(cutaway) where the neck fits in, and drilling holes for the miscellaneous parts. Is there a specific timing when I should add these cavities?

Thank you all again! This project is quite over my head, but I’m learning quickly. It will get easier and easier :smiley:

I am definitely going to try that alternate way of making the tops 3d if this doesn’t work out.

Here you can see the contours of the top, as well as what the bottom looks like. Hopefully it helps you picture what I’m going for.