How to duplicate components and get them to all change the same way

OK, the various youtube videos and such are resolutely unhelpful and so I post here. This is becoming extremely frustrating to me.

SO I am trying to model a stool like in this video here

But the interface in Sketchup for schools (esp on a mac) is clearly different.

Anyhow, I decided to try something even simpler. I want to make a pancake like cylinder and create four posts, and then be able to manipulate them in a way similar to what’s in the video.

I got as far as duplicating the posts. But when I try to select one of them (for example to use the move tool on it) only one post changes; when I try to select them both I get the big box and then they move all over the place – together! but I can’t get them to do something like change length.

I am attempting to get to where I can duplicate what that guy does in the video because I am attempting to teach a bunch of students about modeling chairs, and this seems an easier way to do things like make sure that the angle of the legs is the same, for example, But I am really stuck here on getting past the basics, so any help would be appreciated.

So to be clear:

I want to make two posts
I want the posts to be on opposite sides of my pancake like disk
I want them to “angle” out symmetrically
I want to be able to extend the length of one and have the other extend as well

I can get one of them to lengthen with the move tool, the push pull doesn’t seem to work – but not both.

Also, I can’t seem to find the tool or input that allows me to duplicate something multiple times; all the videos say “type 3 times” or whatever the hell and if I type “*3” or “3x” I get an invalid angle or something. This is just starting to drive me batty. The picture is what happens whenever I try to select the component – I either get that box or I select just one and it changes all by itself without affecting the other one

pancake towers .skp (230.6 KB)

Your screen shot illustrates a common new-user mistake. You made a component of the cylinder and then opened it and copied the geometry instead of simply copying the component itself.

That’s great but what you said is a little opaque to me, can you please explain the difference? The instructions I got said that hitting the option key copies the component, how do I make it so I am copying that?

After you create the component of the first cylinder, single click on it to select it so it shows the blue bounding box. Then get Move and invoke the copy function.

And what you likely did. It looks like you only copied the side of the cylinder and not the ends.

Honestly I got nothing that looks remotely similar – that dialog box I have never, ever seen.

Here’s what I got; the second one was after I made the “leg” into a component and clicked on it

I got it to duplicate

But it still moves things as only one component

I did that in the desktop version but there would be a mostly similar window that opened when you created the component.

Your screen shots now show something different. Notice the bounding box fits around the shape tightly now. You aren’t actually selecting all of the geometry of the first cylinder however. The copy is missing the ends.

when i right cick to create component my dialog box looks like this

Only when you “edit” the component will the effects be seen in all components. You double click or Choose component/ edit in the edit menu. If you move a “closed” component as in the last picture, only that instance moves, the geometry inside is still the same as all other instances.

Yes. Of course it does. I was working in the desktop version. Cosmetically they are different but functionally the same.

Could you please translate your answer to non-Sketchup speakers? Pretend I am the dumbest person on earth. Where is the edit menu?

You don’t need an edit menu to edit a component. Right click on the component and choose Edit Component or double click on it with the Select tool.

Maybe a good idea to spend some time going through the fundamentals at

OK—I am speaking from experience in the desktop version. I’ll butt out, if there is no Edit menu for you. But you can double click. Concept is the same. Dave can fill in the differences for the web version.

A little further information. You made the far cylinder first and made it a component. Notice where the component’s origin and axes are when the component is open for editing. Then you opened the component for editing (probably double clicked on it with the Select Tool and the selected the side of the cylinder to copy since the copy has no end faces.

Since the appearance of the Create Component panel seems to be a sticking point, I’ve redone the correct copying process in SketchUp for Web.

thanks for the help. It’s just been a really frustrating day. I think I figured out how to get them to act together. The next step if figuring out how to do the duplication (so that when I move the tops of the legs they go in opposite directions, like when you scale…)

And I think I figured it out. It’s a matter of the right number of clicks and using the rotational tool to orient the component, at least if you want to make the chair legs at the correct angle…

Instead of using Move/Copy use Rotate/Copy. Then in the case of your round legs, then edit one, select the end face, get the Move tool and activate Auto-Fold by holding Command. Then move the foot in the desired direction.

again thanks. Just FYI, it’s been a day in part because at the same time I am attempting to learn Fusion 360, because for many parts of the curriculum Autodesk was required (Pre pandemic) but I have pretty much given up on that one. since fighting my way through the file system (and getting a bunch of 9th graders to do the same) seems to provide little reward for a ton of hassle. (I am feeling a bit salty towards software developers today – Sketchup is much more intuitive than Fusion 360, which is a monument to completely horrific UI design).

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Nothing like trying to teach something to force you to learn the basics yourself! :wink:

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I can sympathize with you. I currently have three other middle and high school teachers as online students who are learning SketchUp so they can teach it to their young students.

Yeah, my issue with a lot of Sketchup videos is that they are geared to desktop and pro versions and very little of it is set up for web-based and Edu versions. so you get these small but significant differences in UI and you also have to contend with differences in the machines students have (try using sketchup from an iPad – total nightmare). And when you have certain specific questions it’s not easy to pick the right search term, esp when you haven’t got a lot of time – you get lots of “almost” hits, that don’t quite answer the Q at hand. And then there’s a ton of stuff that seems to always fall into the “Oh, we forgot to mention…” category. (Do developers not test apps on normal humans?)

I get it that designing CAD software is a complex beast, though, and making it user-friendly is far from simple. But dang some days I feel like someone is just messing with me. (I’m looking at you Autodesk).

All this is to say I appreciate very much your time and patience.