Help Making Curved Face on Gear Shape

Hi folks,

Long time lurker, first time poster looking for help.

I want to make the top face of the gear in the image curved/domed while following the outer contours of the face. Can it be done with native tools, and if so, how?

Are you really using the web based SketchUp for Schools or are you using SketchUp 2024 Pro?

One native way would be to draw a profile of the gear and the outline of it. Use Follow Me to extrude the shape.

Is this supposed to reprresent a real, usable gear?

HI DaveR,

Thanks for replying.

It’s an academic licence for SketchUp Pro 2024. I chose SketchUp for Schools because I thought that was the best fit although I now realise that it’s not. I’ll see about changing that if possible.

It’s intended to be a replica of a late version (the early versions had flat faces) Cog Tag from the video game franchise Gears of War and so will be decorative instead of functional. Having said that, it must be water tight because I want to print it.

I’ve tried extruding with Follow me but I can’t figure it out how to follow the contours. Would you be kind enough to explain how?

Yes. It’s possible. Click on the L in the green circle at the top right of the forum screen. Then on the person icon followed by Preferences and then Profile. After updating, scroll to the bottom of the page and save the changes.

So the first thing I would suggest is to model it as if millimeters are meters. That allows it to have smooth curves without running into the tiny face issue. Export the .stl when you get to that point with meters as the export units. Import into the slicer with units as millimeters.

Sure. Will you share the .skp file with me so I don’t have to reconstruct the whole thing?

Changes made and saved. I also changed the profile name to my own (the licence is under my wife’s name so I used that whilst creating the account).

Thanks for the modelling and slicer tips. Much appreciated.

Here’s the file:

Cog Tag2.skp (2.7 MB)

1 Like

I went ahead and made an example. The path is the flat gear shape and the profile is drawn a little above and just to the outside of the path. The path is selected, the Follow Me tool is chosen and then click on the profile. After Follow Me completes it looks like the center one. I double clicked on the surface shown selected which also selected the bounding edges. Then I hit Delete which made the hole fill in.

Since I already showed a manual way of doing this in my example, above, I opted for a method using an extension in your model. I used Round Corner by Fredo6. It’s not a free extension but it’s worth its weight in gold or beef jerky.

In this case I copied the bottom face off of your cog, extruded it to the thickness of yours and ran Round Corner to put a radius around the top edge.
Cog Tag2.skp (3.5 MB)

I hope I didn’t waste too much of your time making that but I failed to express myself adequately. My apologies.

I’ve uploaded a new file that contains an imported stl file. I’m trying to replicate the example for two reasons: 1 ) it won’t print properly and trying to manually fix the mesh is next to impossible, and 2 ) I’d like to improve my SketchUp skills by learning how to make it. If I succeed I become a better modeller and have something to show for my efforts.

As you can see in the example, the inner face is sloped slightly upward toward the hole while still maintaining the chamfer. I envision it as picking it up from the centre so that the weight pulls down resulting in a slight bulge on the top.

I can probably follow the rest of the design but it’s this part that’s kicking my butt.

Example.skp (2.3 MB)

I love beef jerky.

1 Like

OK. So the .stl by its very nature is triangulated which results in tons of tiny faces. SketchUp won’t create really small faces. You’ll likely get better results if you import the .stl into SketchUp with import units set to meters. If you can share the .stl we’ll see what we can do.

Someone needs to invent a 3D printer that can print beef jerky. :wink:

1 Like

LOL. Get it to print smoked salmon along with beef jerky and I’ll step on pets and small children to be first in line.

cog_tag.stl (1.6 MB)


So importing with units set to meters gets around a lot of the missing faces.
Screenshot - 4_18_2024 , 5_04_40 PM

I also softened edges and deleted coplanar edges. The latter done with CleanUp3, Solid Inspector 2 and CleanUp3 are both available from the Extension Warehouse.

Do you want the text and the hole through the rim?

Beef jerky and smoked salmon! Now my dinner is going to be a let down. :smiley:

Ideally, I’d like it to be as close to the example as possible. My intent is to make a resin print and coat it with graphite powder for a metal look. I tried printing a few different STLs but the engraved text wasn’t clear (leading me to suspect my printer but making a separate test print disproved that) which is largely what pushed me into this endeavour. I just didn’t anticipate that making my own Cog Tag would be so difficult.

It really shouldn’t be too difficult but this isn’t one of those things that I would call basic.

See if this will export and play nicely for you.

cog tag solid.skp (1.8 MB)

I wish I’d reached that conclusion before I wasted countless hours. Stubbornness can be a virtue in some circumstances but this wasn’t one of them.

Man, that model looks clean. I’ll chuck it into the printer tonight. I’m hoping for clearly defined text engraving that will stand out so fingers crossed.

Thanks so much for helping me.

1 Like

You’re quite welcome.

Yes. Stubborness can be a virtue at least at the right time.

The text will be quite thin. The straight strokes are less than a half millimeter wide. Depending on the printer they might still be less than beautiful but you can try.

It’s a new Elegoo Saturn 3 Ultra. I might be expecting too much from it but I’ve managed to print some minuscule stuff thus far.

1 Like

This is what it looks like in the slicer on my computer. There aren’t so many lines outlining the letters.

Here’s a rough version of how I would tackle something like this. I’ve made no effort to be accurate to your image, just showing technique.


Thanks for posting this. l’m curious as hell now to see how close I can get to the cleaned up version DaveR was kind enough to provide.

Did you create the floating toolbar in a Windows version? I can’t see a way to make one on a Mac.

As you suspected, the text was too thin to print cleanly. I erased it with the intention of adding larger and thicker letters. I did some test prints to prove it can be done with the right sizing.

What is the best method of adding text to a path? I assume I’d be looking for a plugin if I don’t want to spend hours placing and rotating text with native tools.