Far from exciting, but I had a breakthrough

I use SU all the time for kitchen and bath design as well as architectural massing and renderings. Sometimes I just sit and doodle.
A while back, I wanted to create a soccer ball with basic SU tools and zero math. Seemed easy enough, I could do it with other modeling programs.
Normally, I would place my polygons flat and then create rotation paths with a circle. I would rotate to the intersection of the circle and repeat. Since SketchUp doesn’t use circles, I couldn’t quite make it work.
Finally, it dawned on me that I only needed the start, end and center. By using the basic Arc or Pie tools, I was finally able to create proper rotation path and thus perfect geometric spheres.

Very embarrassed that it took me so long to figure out.


If you need regular polyhedra in future, you could use my plug-in Polyhedra from the SketchUcation plug-in store:


Did you see @TheOnlyAaron’s video on YouTube at all? That was a while ago, and I don’t remember now how he did it, but could always watch it again.


I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you.

Now that I’ve solved the puzzle on my own, I went back and watched his icosahedron and dodecahedron builds. The arc tool was the key for his as well, but he did have one little geometry nugget that saves a few steps.


I’m always afraid to use the arc tool in SU to solve geometry problems because the segmentation can yield inaccurate results. BTW, I posted my own version of platonic solid in a thread here. Now I have to see if I can do it again.

The Arc works in this case because you aren’t relying on the smoothness. You could make it a two segment arc, but if you have the center, start and end, it is exact as anything else.

I see that even your “toy” was built using the 3 golden rectangles. A great starting point for normals.
My puzzle was just being able to rotate any two connected planes to where they shared an edge. This has now taken me down a rabbit hole, and I’m not getting my work done. :laughing:

Years ago, @jean_lemire_1 posted a beautiful tutorial about constructing a dodecahedron without using arcs or circles. He started with a cube.

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I’ll have to look that one up. Sounds intriguing.

It was some forum generations ago so probably not in the current one. I pinged Jean in the hope he would find and re-post it.

This one?

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Yes. Click in sequence on the scenes tabs of this SU file for ideas.

Platonic solids.skp (227.8 KB)


Some of what you have is what Ann Tyng’s exercise had in it, but the relationship of icosahedron faces to dodecahedron verticies was a neat insight.

A soccer ball or football as we call it here is made of pentagons and hexagons. Yours has only pentagons…

Once I figure out how to rotate and align, the rest was easy!


Well actually, not always.

I mean sure, the standard black and while ball we all have in mind yeah.
But turns out that most “official” balls for world / euro cups and such are not. There was even one that was technically a… 6 faces volume. So, a cube. and another (same video) is actually a dodecahedron.

Matt parker did some videos on it, he is quite passionate about that issue (properly representing footballs) :slight_smile:

Turns out that “big football” has been lying to us for years !


I like that Prem league ball. I guess a base ball is technically a plane since it only has two surfaces :wink:


Click in sequence on the scenes tabs of this SU file for ideas.

Truncated icosahedron.skp (180.6 KB)


So the last step would be to use the Soap Bubble plugin to inflate the thing, yes?


maybe. I don’t really use plugins.
It was never really about a soccer/foot ball/truncated icosahedron, just the rotating of things properly. The more things I can do by brute force, the better I feel.