How do I create a part based on a real item?


I have to make a bracket for a specific Android terminal. The terminal is contoured on the bottom. I created a trace of the contour and want to create a bracket with a matching contour. Is this even possible in Sketchup?

I was thinking that I could draw the profile on paper, scan my drawing, import it into Sketchup, scale it to match the original size and then apply it somehow to an extruded rectangle to change the flat top of the rectangle to match my contour shape.

I hope that my request is easily understood and that someone has an answer for me. If I had a 3D scanner, I’d try it, but I don’t. I did try AutoDesk 123D Catch, but I am having problems downloading my scan from their website.


You are most of the way there. You will have to draw SketchUp geometry along the profile since the imported image is just that - an image, not geometry. Then you can intersect, extrude, whatever the geometry as necessary.


Are you saying that this contour has a constant cross-section? If so, and since you’ve already got that section, this should be easy.



I thought I would show you a few pictures of what I am doing. I have the terminal that I want to make brackets for. I have an old woodworkers tool for copying outlines of moldings. I use that to get the profile. I copy the profile to a piece of paper and then scan and import it into Paintbrush for cleanup and cropping and then into Sketchup. I guess wat slbaumgartner is saying is that I should use the pencil tool to overlay a line on top of the line in the scan image and then close it off as I see fit, thus creating the basic shape of the bracket (cradle) I need.

Now I will try the next steps.


It’s not perfect (yet), but I think I’m on the right track.

If I were to use a 3D laser scanners instead, I should be able to import the model into Sketchup, slice it and get a more exact copy of the profile. I may have to run over to my local makerspace and try their scanner.


I don’t understand why you’ve got such an involved process.

If you’ve got a scan of the contour, just import it, trace it, and extrude it. Actually, the contour is not that complex a shape that you couldn’t just draw it from measurements.



I don’t have a scan of the contour. I only have the manual method I showed above.


You said in your first post:

Okay, you can do that easily. Just add the sides and bottom of the rectangle to the contour to create a face (which is a cross-section through the bracket), then extrude it to length. What’s the hangup?



That is exactly what I did. I think I am confusing you because I am treating the word “scan” as something I would get from a Makerbot Digitizer, instead of a photocopier scan of my handmade drawing.

Thank you for your comments. I do appreciate you taking your time to reply.