Diagonal beams, problems with rotation/flipping and trimming


new user here, been through as many tutorials as I could find, but now that I’m finally drawing something I’m running into problems. I’m trying to build a stand for a spooling system using a bunch of 2x4 framing lumber (1.5" x 3.5" actual). I’m having a few difficulties:

  1. imagine I have a frame like in the pic below and I need to put a beam diagonally, what’s the best way of doing it? right now I ended up creating an angle guide with the protractor, drawing a 2x4 and rotating it to follow that guide. I then moved it by 0.75 down so that the center of the beam was centered with the guide. This seems quite complicated, wondering if there’s a simpler way.

  1. with that side structure done I move-copied it and then tried to add two beams across to connect the two frames. After drawing the first top cross beam I copied it and moved it below and then tried to flip it so that it would form an X with the top beam, but it wouldn’t flip. These are all groups. Both flipping from the model or while editing the group does nothing, on any of the axes. What am I missing? I could rotate it, but it seems that flipping should work and would be more accurate.

  1. last but not least, intersection and trimming. I’ve read that intersections happen “in the same context”, so trying to intersect groups won’t put the intersection lines on the objects in the group. I’ve tried to practice with two simple cubes and it works, 2 groups, I explode one, intersect, cleanup, regroup the trimmed object I exploded. However I can’t get this to work trying to clean up the diagonal beam. All the 4 pieces of the frame and the diagonal beam are objects. As you can see the vertical lines are not places so cleaning up deletes the faces, I have to pull the object out/add some lines, and then I can trim it. Any idea why that’s happening?

thanks for all your help,


It would be easier and much more efficient if you were using components instead of groups.

I would use the Rotation Tool in FredoScale for this. Draw the diagonal in either a vertical or horizontal orientation and then rotate it into place. I did a thing that shows this sort of thing.

And this quickie.

Flipping is only a mirroring operation. Rotating makes more sense.

Exploding the group isn’t the best thing to do. Open it for editing and make the intersection.

SketchUp won’t intersect coplanar faces. There was a discussion about this recently. Instead, you could trace the horizontal and vertical lines onto the side face of the diagonal and then use Push/Pull to push away the waste.

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thanks Dave, had not set things up for Fredo plugins, but after getting the scale plugin working and following your example it’s indeed a lot easier.

Kind off topic, but one confusing thing is that I see some items like the rotate tool you mentioned with the added label “free” in the title, but others do not, and yet they seem to work just fine. I tried to look on sketchucation, but I couldn’t figure it out, freescale seemed free to download and use, so I don’t get it.

anyway thanks again for the tip and the writeup on finewoorwoking, that was a good read, will need to do something just like that some time soon.


Actually, I believe you could do just what Dave shows with SU’s built in rotate and push pull tools.

It depends upon the setup. With the center of the diagonal member as show in my GIF, you actually can do it with the native Rotate tool. Typically the diagonals are set up like shown in the link I provided. The native Rotate tool doesn’t handle that situation well.

“Free” has nothing to do with cost to use the tool or anything like that.

This one is a good candidate for the rotated rectangle tool and push/pull. Maybe a few less operations.



oooh, great tip, thanks @shep. I had actually done something similar with just lines and guides, but this is a lot neater, hadn’t even noticed there was a rotated rectangle, cool.

See this topic…

thanks Geo, nice scene tutorial you made for the other thread, very kind of you.

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