Is there a clever way to model a roof truss ? Frame Generator?


Anyone can provide more efficient method for modeling a metal roof truss, similar this sample.
I update small model for testing here.
SKP Truss Study 2023.12.01.skp (1.3 MB)

  1. I used the DBS Pipetube profile, which quickly creates a line to form a pipe. However, fixing corners took a lot of time as I had to address each one individually.
    @DBS ?

  1. I experimented with Profile Builder, but didn’t get the result I wanted.

  2. Usually, I draw a 2D truss with the right thickness and clean corners, then turn it into 3D.
    It’s simple, but I’m curious if there’s a better method.

Thank you for your sharing your method.

I usually model them using profile builder, the design I get from the structural engineer which is usually just line work, but the profiles are specified, I redraw the lines on sketchup and create the different profiles to add them on profile builder in case I don’t have them already in my library, and then I extrude the profiles along the paths. There’s a plugin from medeek to create trusses, I downloaded the trial some years ago but it didn’t work for the kind of trusses I had to model, mostly metal trusses.

Mindsight Studios, @Whaat, has been developing a plugin for a while now called Deca steel, I’ve been waiting for it anxiously, I’m not sure if it will have a tool to create trusses, I hope it does.

This was the latest truss I had to model.


Follow Me, s4u to components, Outer Shell


@mihai.s Wow!

This is a clever approach that I hadn’t think off! It’s simpler than I expected; I tend to complicate things unnecessarily.

Thank you very much. I consistently learn new things from you. Today, I just know about Outer Shell.

@francisquitof , thanks for sharing your method too. Similar to what you did, I begin by creating a clean 2D outline before extruding to 3D. However, start from single line transforms into a profile, is more flexible, especially when the profile is not a rectangle. :slight_smile:

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My trusses, when I need them. don’t have to be very accurate. I usually model the boundaries and diagonals as linework with faces, and then use Rick Wilson’s ancient (appeared for SketchUp 4) Windowizer extension with zero thickness, erase all faces with “glass” material and coplanar edges. What is left is a single face that can be push-pulled to form the truss.


Good idea, Anssi! TIG Latticeizer can also be used

You’re welcome, Kwin!

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To answer acat on your question, there is no frame generator… yet, but please check the new extension MetalFab.

This is a fresh new plugin and it will be developed over time.

Check it:

I also made a video showing how that kind of truss can be made with the MetalFab plugin.

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