Follow Me tool problems in SfS

I’m am an elementary school teacher. Last year I had my students building chess pieces and used some of the tutorials done by Aaron in the Youtube tutorials. SketchUp Skill Builder: Modeling a Chess Set, Part 1 - Pawn - YouTube

Love them, by the way, made some of my own for the kids.

Problem now is the follow-me tool. Last school year we could easily click the circular path we wanted, then follow me, then click our profile piece. Poof. Fully formed piece. Now the follow me tool no longer works with clicking and has to be dragged around the path. Nine times out of ten it does not follow the path correctly for some reason and leaves overhangs, or seems to change the axis starting point.

It looks like the centerline of the profile isn’t centered on the circle for the path. Guessing from the screen shot that the profile isn’t oriented vertically.

Can you share the .skp file so we can see what you’ve got exactly?

I agree Dave. That’s what I kept telling all my students. You didn’t center bases, you didn’t center profile piece. But, I’ve recreated it 14 times and get different results on the SketchUp for Schools app each time I do it. I will attach file, right after class. Thanks.

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It will be interesting to see the file. This is what I get with the profile placed vertically and centered.


I don’t know how to explain it, other than it is consistently inconsistent. One time it works with a click, then next time it has to be dragged. One time the surface is smooth, the next time it has lines across the surface. One time it will drag a full 360 degrees and line up, the next time it starts by moving the initial starting axis, leaving a hangover.

This is what I get when I preselect the path in your model.

The upper perimeter of the base is not a circle. It is a bunch of exploded segments. If trying to use that for Follow Me, there could be problems. Here I have alternate segments selected.

How was the model created? Was the base done as a separate Follow Me operation?

It might be better to draw the entire profile of the pawn as I did in my first GIF and then create the whole thing in a single Follow Me operation.

I can duplicate the result while sweeping the profile around the exploded curve…

…but not if I sweep along a circle.

Generally it’s best and more efficient to select the path, get Follow Me, and click on the profile.

I was going to mention that the upper base was not a circle. I had noticed that. Oddly, that upper base was created with Offset from the lower base.

The problem remains for me though. When I click the circle plane, or the circle line, SOMETIMES follow me works with a click of the profile, sometimes I have to drag in a circle. It was never like that for me, or my students in the past. Clicking with follow me is so much easier for elementary kids, while dragging will be rather hard for some kids. Trying to figure out the path of least resistance for my kids, (no pun intended). Thanks for your help so far.

I wonder how that top circle became exploded. It doesn’t get exploded with Offset. Is it possible Follow Me had already been run once, the pawn deleted, and a new profile drawn? That would result in the exploded top circle. Follow Me explodes curves when it is run. It would be best to not have the path exploded.

I’m guessing you are trying to lump Push/Pull, Offset, and Follow Me into one lesson? Might be better to split it into a couple of different objects, at least. Seems like that would be the path of least resistance. Suppose in addition to or instead of a pawn you have them model a rook? Here’s Follow Me and Push/Pull to create the crennelations.

That pawn file had been reworked 20 times for demo and also to troubleshoot the initial issue, so follow me had been run 20 times, which explains the exploded circle.

Most of my kids have been using Sketchup for Schools for two years already. But that just means a total of 4 weeks. So, this starting lesson/tutorial is somewhat of a review. They haven’t touched Sketchup in a year. I try and refresh old concepts (push/pull) etc., along with new things (follow me). Again, I get two weeks this year for them to learn, practice, build, and then we 3D print. Everyone has to build a pawn, then they get to choose to make two other chess pieces. Many kids do choose to make the rook.

Bottom line, I’m just going to have to let go of my old tutorial that told them they could click the path, then follow me, then the profile. It seemed to be foolproof last year, but 80% of my class would disagree with it working like that this year. I have two screen recordings of me doing the same thing with different results. The only difference is the second time I used UNDO to go back a few steps before I tried to use follow me. The first time I make the pawn I can use follow me just by clicking. If I try and undo steps and then replicate the process it no longer works by just clicking. I’m not sure what is changing except for the use of undo.

Are you giving them that file to use for Follow Me or are they drawing their own? If you are giving them that file I would suggest that you replace the exploded curve with a proper circle. That will eliminate the problem you are having.

I guess I wouldn’t do that. That’s the method I would be teaching. It’s easier and faster to run Follow Me that way.

I have had circles “explode” somehow in the past as well. My question is, can a circle that has become a bunch of connected edges be made back into a circle again, with a center and all that good stuff?

Yes, you could either redraw the circle with the Circle tool or in the desktop version and at least in Shop you can weld the edges. Welding will make them behave like a single entity but it won’t convert them back to a circle.


I always ask my students to make their own projects from scratch. They use the video tutorials to try and replicate the project and that way they all work at their own pace, allowing me to field questions and give support.

When you say, “I guess I wouldn’t do that.” Were you saying I should teach them to expect follow me to work with just a click instead of a drag?

I don’t know how to make the cool videos you’ve added, but here is a link to a screen recording I did where I can just click on the circle, then click follow me, then click the rectangle to get a perfect follow me creation. Then, I use undo to take away that step and try to do it again and I can only drag the follow me tool for it to work. (My original issue-why doesn’t follow me work consistently with just clicking?)


Basically yes. Although it is possible to drag the profile around the path, it’s easier to select the path (or the face), get the Follow Me tool, and click on the profile.

I generally teach my students to select the path edges instead of the face because there isn’t always a face to select. The exact same method of selecting the path first works whether there’s a face or not.

It’s very useful when you can’t see the entire path, too.

I use a freeware GIF created called LiceCap. There are others out there as well.

I think the reason things aren’t working for you correctly is because you have the circle exploded into individual segments.

Not going to believe this, but when I create a shortcut for follow me and use the keyboard shortcut, the follow me tool works every time with just a click. I can undo and redo it perfectly with just clicks. When I use the toolbar, follow me only works the first time with a click. Every time after that (using the toolbar icon for follow me) it has to be dragged for it to work, clicking does nothing. ???

Wondering if my screen thinks I’m clicking off the path when I select the follow me icon on the side or something? But why does it work the first time?

In the web versions, if you don’t already have the Follow Me tool showing on the toolbar, the preselection thing doesn’t work. You need to have the Follow Me tool up on the toolbar then pre-select the path, get the tool and click on the profile. The keyboard shortcut is a great way to go because it doesn’t require having the tool staged and ready to be selected.


Preselecting does work, even when the follow me tool is embedded. But…only the first time! Stay with me here:
The first time using follow me on a project, you have to select the push/pull icon and then select follow me from the pop out tools. After that, follow me stays in the main toolbar right.
Now, if you just click the toolbar icon of follow me it seems to always work as intended. As well as if you have a keyboard shortcut.
The problem is: after the first time using follow me, when it is now on the toolbar and not just a pop out, if you click on follow me (toolbar), and then click on follow me(pop out) it only works with dragging and not just by clicking.
I’ve apparently been clicking on the pop out even after it has been established on the toolbar. That seems to be the issue somehow.
Aug-25-2021 15-51-44