Cutting out an imported dxf shape from a componant

Im new to sketchup btw
Hi here is what i have so far:
I have made 2 components 5mm plate and have them assembled in my model

I also have a copy of each of those components laid out in a flat axis to allow me to work on them easier later (with the intention that the changes i make to them will automatically occur in the assembled ones)

my idea is to create complex shapes in another CAD system (as its easier) and import the DXF’s into SU, and that i can do fine.

The problem:
I want to take those complex shapes and lay it on the surface of the flat components and then use them like a cookie cutter effect to produce that shape as a cut outs in the 5mm plate components. These plate profiles and cut out detail within them can then be sent to the laser cutter to be cut out of 5mm plate mild steel.

I can fumble my way through cutting them out using the subtract first solid from the second, however this does not replicate in the assembled version grrr.

So the overall idea is that the assembly stays the same until i change the cutout detail and i see what the whole assembly looks like.

Woulds someone kindly advise on if this achievable?

Since the Solid Tools operate on the outside of a component, not on its definition, boolean operations do not propagate to other instances of the component. To affect Instance B by operating on Instance A, you must perform the operation within the context of Instance A, meaning you can’t use the Solid Tools. So enter the context of Instance A and cut it out using the Intersect command.


Thanks Gully, so if i understand you correct i have to get that profile onto the same context as the plate i wish fo cut it out of yes?

So if that is indeed the case, how do i add the profile to same context as the plate? i mean if i wanted a simple square cut out i know i could simply make a square on the surface of the plate and then push through, but how do i get the imported profile onto the same context as the plate?

Why don’t you show me a picture of one of your designs, so I don’t have to waste time making something up from a rather limited description, and I’ll give you a demo? Or simply upload a plate and a dxf, and I’ll show you how to cut the latter out of the former.


There you go Gully, so i want to add the dxf to the top surface of the component that is on its own lying flat, then i would like to cookie cut that profile out of the component and see the result replicated in the other component that is part of the assembly…

I hope that has explained it better :wink:

PS i have had to post the dxf separate as im such a new user on this forum

plate and assembly.skp (34.2 KB)

Heck–I thought you meant a dinner plate. I’m glad I didn’t make my own.

This is difficult to show because the final cutouts, perforce, show up on the intermediate steps in the process instead of just at the end. That’s the whole idea. of course.

Still, see if you can decipher this picture. Feel free to ask follow up questions.



Uh…as I look at this, I can see that the inability to show this in discrete steps made me miss some of the description. Here’s the important step to get the flames into the context of the plate. After positioning the fllames, do a cut on it (Ctrl-X). Then enter the context of the plate and do an Edit > Paste-in-place.

Cut and paste (or copy and paste) is the easiest way to move an object from one context to another.


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Gully, i have spent literally since 9 am and its now 21:45 (uk) trying to move the flames to the plate in 101 permutations and with no luck, i mean i have got the flames onto the plate but just when i tried to push and pull it seemed to go through the whole plate ane even after trying subtract or intersect it did not replicate onto the fellow components. I new i had to somehow get the flames into the same context, but was obviously going down the wrong road.

so you my friend are a savior and i cannot thank you enough :slight_smile: And it turns out to be as simple as that!

Thank you again

Hi Moid, Gully,

Interesting thing I found while working with the plate component.
The perimeter edges are a bit non-coplanar.
It’s very slight, but I find if I delete the face it’s enough to make healing the face problematic.

I’ve seen slightly non-coplanar edges support a face many times.
But I don’t recall seeing a non-collinear edge, ever. Have you, @Gully?
To avoid potential headaches later, @Moid101 might consider modeling a new component for the final production model.


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No, @Geo, I never have encountered such a thing.

And by the way, @Moid101, to minimize the tedious and error-prone nature of push/pulling all those cutouts through that thin wall, just push one through, then double-click on the other cutouts to duplicate the first push/pull depth on them.


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thank you very much ill take a look, however it probably would not make much difference on the laser when the parts are cut…

lol yes i agree and now you reminded me that wouyld of helped :confused: oh well ill remember that from now on :smile: