Fundamental Approach Discussion/Clarification/Explanation

I’m a newbie looking for some overall advice on how to approach building things in sketchup.

My Project: I’m looking to design and build a large cardboard cat tower as a fun project during home lockdown.

Advice Request: Should I design each of the card board pieces on their own and then assemble them, or should I build the tower with big blocks and carve away the blocks to the shape I want then figure out how to build the pieces?

My current thinking/experience: I tried to build with the pieces of cardboard first, but had troubles getting the pieces to rotate to the right angles to fit properly. Now I’ve been building it with big blocks and shaping it to the thickness of the cardboard, but now I can’t figure out how I would then separate the model into the card board pieces so that I can accurately make measurements and plan out the project.

Any insights, thoughts on how you guys all approach building/designing projects would be appreciated, thanks!

My general approach with all models that I do is to make the parts in place as much as possible. I would draw the first major piece and make it a component before moving on to the next one. I’d make components of each part I’d need to make in the real world. That workflow means you don’t need to know or enter as many dimensions because you can use what you have as references for the next parts. It also reduces the work load because you don’t spend as much time screwing around with getting parts into place. There’s less chance for error, too.


I would use general block shapes for the different parts, grouped. Say if you wanted a square post, that would be one six sided SketchUp block with the post dimensions–made into one component. Then you can visualize the design as you go, working with overall dimensions, adjusting the parts. You may decide to change the arrangement of parts, so by grouping each post, beam, each platform, or cat “penthouse”, you can move them about and duplicate them if you want. You may adjust how they intersect and may decide how to cut them out for the other parts.

Later once you have your design, if you find the need you might build the detail of the construction. Showing the sheets of plywood or cardboard and how they fit in each section. These could be grouped separately within the outer shell shape that represent the basic shapes.

Have a scale model of your cat handy.

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To shorten this all up:
concept…you have
design…working on it
final design…coming
construction details…to follow
Time to build…and make kitty happy

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Most of all that was mentioned above plus…
Create a shortcut key for 'Hide Rest of Model’ to be able to toggle visibility of the rest of the model on/off while you edit an object (group or component).
In menu Window→ Preferences→Shortcuts → assign a key to ‘Hide Rest of Model’.
You must have an object selected to see this option in the long list of options for shortcut keys.

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(post withdrawn …). Why? Afraid to step on some toes?
I was just thinking about saving your text. Split second too late, unfortunately.
There’s nothing wrong with comparing software, +<>-

You can still see it for 24 hours, click the pencil icon at the top right of the post.

How right you are, thanks. I had just finished reading the post when “poof”… gone by the wind.
It seems improper to me to paste the already deleted text here though.

Thanks for the tips guys.