Getting started with a 3D Warehouse shed


I am trying to create a plan for a shed in the backyard, and I was told to use SketchUp instead of hand drawing it. I found a model in the 3D Warehouse that is almost what I need, but I need to re-size a few of the dimensions. (I want a shed that is 8’ x 12 ‘x 11’, not 10’ x 12’ x 13’.) I’m having trouble dragging the scale tool and not making a mess of it. Is there a way to type in the size changes I need. For example, I want the wall to be 6’ tall instead of nearly 8’. I figured out the dimension tool, and the help guide says that I have to go to the “arrange menu” to change the size when I change the dimension…uh…where’s the arrange menu?

It also seems like this model has been flattened to one layer and has no components…what’s up with that? Can I change it?

I’d love to be able to take the siding off and just view the structure, but I can’t see to do that. Is that because it only has one layer?

Also, what’s the difference in grouping items and making them a component?


You didn’t post a link or explicit reference to the 3DW model you are using, so I can’t make any specific comments about it. A quick search returned 4138 models involving “shed”! It would make life much easier for everyone if you would upload the model here so we know exactly what you are dealing with.

To get an exact size using the scale tool, first click the desired handle, move the mouse, and click. Then type the desired size into the VCB (aka “Measurements” or “Scale”). Be sure to include the units or it will be taken as a ratio instead of a size. You should be aware that scale will resize all parts of the selection proportionally. For example, if you scale vertically the thickness of a horizontal board will also scale. That might not be what you wanted. Often it is better to select the geometry of the end and reposition it using the move tool. The edges attached to it will stretch or shrink as required.

The arrange menu is in Layout, not SketchUp.

You can always edit a model to add layers, create components, etc. I can’t tell you why the author of that model decided to build it the way he did. The 3DW has no quality control, and submitters are free to post whatever kind of model they like.

Again, without knowing what model you are talking about I can’t tell you why you can’t take the siding off. Maybe it is in a Group or Component that you need to open for edit first? However, this has nothing to do with layers. In SketchUp, layers control visibility. They do not encapsulate, isolate, or otherwise organize anything. Misunderstanding SketchUp’s layers is a common issue for people who previously used other CAD or Photoshop, where they mean something entirely different from in SketchUp.

The difference between Groups and Components is subtle but pretty fundamental. Groups are meant for one-of-a-kind collections of geometry. Components are meant for collections of which you will want multiple identical copies. If you edit a Group, you affect only that one Group even if you have copied it. If you edit a ComponentInstance, you simultaneously and identically affect all the other instances.


10x12Shed_Shared.skp (520.8 KB)

Thank you! That’s exactly the info I needed about groups and components!

This is the model I’m using. I was just going to use the layers for visibility…that’s mostly what I use them for in Photoshop. I’ve been copying and pasting the siding into another layer, but I still need to re-size things.

I see what you’re saying about re-sizing proportionally. I didn’t notice it at first, but now I am. When I try to re-size, it wants to re-size across opposite points instead of across one side. If I try to select two points in the re-sizing, it starts dragging things around. Is there a way to avoid that?


Scaling is the wrong way to deal with this task, as there are mixtures of vertical and horizontal members in every portion of the structure. If you scale the whole thing horizontally to get the width and depth you want, the vertical studs will shrink by the same width and depth proportions. I’m not certain what you mean by “dragging things around”, but since scaling is the wrong approach it doesn’t matter.

Whoever built that model did you multiple disservices that will force you to do a lot of work to resize it as you desire. If, as I sense, you are relatively new to SketchUp, this will be a very challenging model and a poor learning exercise for you to start off with. Most of your effort will go into undoing the bad work of the original author without clearly teaching you how to do it right!

What follows is a bit of a rant about the defects in this model.

First, they used Groups for everything, even when there are multiple identical copies that have no reason to be distinct - and there are a lot of copies of some of the Groups! For example, each of 17 wall studs is a copy of the same Group. You can’t shorten them all at once, as you could if they were instances of a Component, you will have to edit them one-by-one or create a Component and replace them all with it. This task is made more difficult because they are nested in different subassembly Groups. Thom Thom’s Component Replacer could help with this, but it would have been unnecessary if the creator had used Components correctly in the first place.

Second, they failed to give any of the Groups names, making it much harder to figure out what is what.

Third, they were erratic about whether to nest Groups to create subassemblies, This again makes it more difficult to figure out the structure of the model. For example, all the floor joists are gathered together in one Group, but the ceiling joists are not. The sides and back wall framing are gathered into Groups, but the front wall framing is not. The two end vents in the gables are just rectangular Faces - not even Groups!


Yeah…I was getting that this model was bunk, but it was so close to what I needed that I didn’t want to abandon it. I know exactly how I would get out there and build it, but I need to delegate this task to the men-folk. I also need to figure out exactly what materials we’ll need. I noticed that some 2"x4" components existed out there in the warehouse…should I just scrap this and start my own model? How do I know a good component to download?


The original modeler did good job in that it is not as bad as one would think at first view;
There are plugins that will do a batch conversion from group to component;
Once you have as a component them it is possible to do a batch conversion change of many components with one. Component definitions are invariant under moving, rotation, scaling and rotation and is done in reference to the component axis in the model. The component browser allows you select a number of components and then replace all of them with one. You could even replace all the 2x4 with motor cycles if you want :rage: :
The down side is the entities are not named so it can be easy to get lost in the model. However you need to find the out-liner if you have not done so. It shows a hierarchical listing of the model , allows you to select them from there and makes model work much easier. IMHO I would use this model for your plans, but first set down and plan a naming convention you can work with.
Attached is a change for groups to components of your model.


I actually found this dynamic 2" x 4" that been great to work with. We had really wanted to do pallets for the floor, and I found some the exact size that we have. I just can’t figure out how to cut them off…but I haven’t really tried. (Somebody should totally make some dynamic pallets.) The gambrel roof that I found isn’t quite right, but it’s close enough for the sketch. The overall measurements came out surprising close. I’ll use a more exact roof plan from a calculator I found online.

I actually wish I had just started from scratch hours ago. My model is coming along quite nicely.


They are invariant, you can scale the instances and the definition stays the same. If you want to scale all of them at same time, if you have as componets then select from the component browser and scale all.
See my attached model above, find the 4x4 base in it and note as example I just scaled one of them to 13’


Since you have pro version it can be used to make a BOM but it so simple you may not want to go through that learning process now. I have free and would probably just use spread sheet or p&p. If you are in the manufacturing business then dynamic component is appropriate , but if his one of I would not worry about it unless you want to learn. Things you have to watch is warehouse models have items you can actually buy since things no not come in infinite values of length, width, thickness, etc. and you have actual vs nominal in model if you “designing” and not just making a model, two different things and remember forum always follows function and you may have local code to know about also.
We had 8" of snow Mother’s day and need to take some time in yard to day but may spend some time this eve. to give you better idea on approach thoughts.
Good Luck