How can I help this model along

Dear All,

First, thank you for your help. Second, I am a complete amateur at SU (five weeks in, and I really like it, except the crashes). Third, I was just adopted by a stray cat.

Anybody want a kitten in 8 or so weeks?

Anyway, I am working on replacing this building with a library:

As part of the project, I am trying to model alternating tread stairs (file attached). I would really like the model to look better. Any suggestions? For example, I am stuck on how to join the rails, stiles and treads in a way that it looks like a welded structure. The end faces, etc. don’t align and my use of solid tools leaves a mess. I know I am close…

Alternating Treads.skp (332.2 KB)

Any help is greatly appreciated.



1 Like

To be honest, this model looks really good! YOu did a great job wit hthe tube intersections and used components for steps! Well done!

Looking specifically at the railings, I tihnk that the way they meet looks really good… not sure exactly what you were hoping to do to make them look better…


Thank you for the complements! I have been learning from your videos the entire time I have been using SU. I am your distant grasshopper.

I guess I was hoping for a more ‘welded’ look. As a hobby metal guy (machinist, crappy welder, not guitar) I would like a more finished look.

Thank you again for the complements.


PS: Your book has been very helpful.

Nice model!

Here are some things you could try:

Your pipes could look smoother with an increased number of circle segments (16 Segments):

(64 Segments):

You could cut your angle from the pipe using Solid Tools → Trim:

This cut pipe used the Offset Tool, then Push-Pull to hollow it out:

Solid Tools Trim

It is less jagged looking because it has more segments.

Your ships ladder stairs are looking good, do they have glass treads? Intersecting round elements in SketchUp can be tricky as curves are represented with facets. The key here is generally to ensure you use exactly the same diameter and side counts for your circles, that your paths share a mutual center, and that tubes are plumb and square This will make the intersecting planes match between two “tubes”. 24 sides is usually enough, more facets just makes it harder to line up and they bloat the model with unnecessary geometry, as does a second ID wall. Turning on hidden geometry will allow you to see the edges in the smoothed tubes.

Here we use hidden geometry to see the misalignment of some parts in your model, the intersection here cannot be made smooth without first fixing the alignment.

When setting things up, it helps to ignore the tube and think about correctly aligning centers as edges. You can use solid tools subtract to cut exact shapes out of the ends, but I find that cutting a simple angle that matches the center of the intersecting tube looks good enough and is simpler. As with most things in SketchUp there are many ways to go about this. Here is one method.

Note that I am leaving the default 24 sides and typing in .75 each time for identical 1.5" Ø circles.



Do not increase to 64 the segments of circles as someone suggested, it will unnecessarily increase the size of your file, 24-32 is more than enough to make them look smoother.

1 Like

Thank you all for your help. I hope to be able to work on it this evening.

Best Regards,