Inference issues

I’m fairly new to sketchup (less than 100 hrs) and am trying to solve a problem which is driving me a little nuts. I have an STL file of a complex object that has tons of faces and details, and is also has a lot of odd lines and so on. I wanted to create a simplified solid from it, so I tried the Cleanup and Solid Inspector plugins without any luck. Im a photoshop pro, so I recognize that this may be my own ignorance on settings. In any case, my next move was to try doing a section and taking a solid outline from that, and then use the follow me tool to recreated the shape (which is circular). I clearly don’t understand how to do that, either, since I got my cross section, but then couldn’t figure out how to make a outline of it. Tried the Workplace extension without much luck. SO, I went fully manual. I made a perpendicular plane and centered it with the model, and then slowly drew out the outline.

So the problem I’m trying to solve now is that I’m having a very hard time staying locked to the plane while outlining. There are so many little lines in the original model that I have to zoom super close to the details to get a precise line. I also can’t figure out how to lock the 2-point arc tool so that the arc itself stays on the same plane as the points. I’ve resorted to drawing rectangles on the perpendicular plane using the lock arrows and/or shift key, then using the move tool to edge out each line to where it needs to be (so it won’t inference the original model), and then deleting that part of the plane, then doing it again in little chunks until I have a final cutout.

I’m guessing someone experienced could do this in about 2 minutes. I’ve been trying for 5 hours. Any advice on how I solve this? Here’s the file I’m working with.

cross section model.skp (618.8 KB)

When you import the .stl file you can choose to merge coplanar faces which will help. Softening edges after import can also help. You have a lot of very short edges in your model so missing faces. I would suggest importing the .stl using meters as the import units.

If you share the .stl file we can probably give you more guidance.

You could take a look at the extension SectionCutFace. This will make a plane of your cross section, which you could use Follow Me to create the solid.

Holy cow! Using merge coplanar faces as well as softening edges made a huge difference. I took a section and tried the SectionCutFace tool which was only partly successful - I’ll try some setting adjustments. Quick question: in general, can I disable inferencing for an object and still see it? I think if I could turn off inferencing for the original model, I’d have not problem sticking to the cross section plane when making my outline. Thanks so much!

You need to have a closed loop of of section edges.

No. You cannot disable inferencing.

Instead of SectionCutFace you could also do this with native tools.
Draw a rectangle and center it. Intersect faces and you have the outline you want…