Is there an easy way to draw the cross section of a physical item

This is probably a silly question, but I am just looking to see if anyone has any tips.

I am trying to make a holder for a remote control, so need to draw the shape of the remotes cross section and the ‘pull’ it into a holder… The shape isn’t that complicated but it has a lot of curves and its hard to measure.

I know how to make the holder… But its getting an accurate shape is what I am struggling with.

Typically how does one get this kind of shape drawn in Sketchup… Is it a case of trial and error or are there any tools/techniques that could be used.

I am wondering whether it makes more sense to cut a hole in some paper/card which fits the remote, and then measure from there… Better still, is there a way to do this and then ‘scan’ the drawing into Sketchup?

I just thought I would ask before I waste a lot of time trying to draw this.


Your idea of cutting a card to fit the shape and scanning it is a good one. You could import the resulting image and trace it.

Cutting out the shape is easy… Scanning it is easy… But how exactly would I import it into Sketchup?

Is there an option to import a 2D image? And then I guess I could use ‘scale’ to get it to the right size.

My fear is that whilst an object drawn in Sketchup which would have a few perfect lines and curves… One “imported” this was would hardly be the same… is there a way to get Sketchup to take an imported shape and “clean” it into lines and curves so that it could be tweaked?


Once it is an image, use File>Import and import it as an image, After you get it into the model space, you can adjust the size. Somewhere I did a thing that shows how to do it. I’ll hunt it up and give you the link.

Just playing now… I have drawing a random shape in paint… (Black on white)… And then imported it into SU… But now its just a picture which I can scale and move… But I can’t manipulate the ‘shape’ (As you might have realised I am an absolute novice at this)

You’ll have to trace it with various drawing tools. Have patience while I track down the link.

And you do not need to import it as a material as denisroy suggests.

If you show what you are trying to get it might be easier to help.

you need to use this as a template to “trace” over.
(Only trace 1/2 and make it into a component, then flip it)

This is really old but it should give you the idea. Link

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Thanks…: That link looks like it might help

I don’t have a specific application… But I wanted to make a ‘holder’ for an Amazon Fire Remote Control…

I looked at its cross section and using calipers measured it, and then drew it in Sketchup and was going to sue this to "Push"a holder into shape. It was basically a 4 sided shape with curved corners.

But before i started to print, I looked at it again and realised that the front face wasn’t quite right and it was actually a 6 sided shape… So needed to start again.

And it just got me thinking whether there was an easier/better way to get this kind of ‘shape’ into Sketchup.


if it is like this you will have to create two shapes and intersect them together in one single solid.

That is the kind of thing I am building… But has a ‘tunnel’ the shape of the remote from the middle to the bottom.

I have no problems creating the object… Its just getting the “profile” of the hole…

To be honest, I could just make it rectangle and it would work just fine… But I set myself a challenge of trying to make something which was a near perfect fit.

Take some thicker paper and roll it tightly around the remote(so that the end of the paper ends a little bit further than the end of the remote) then use some tape to hold it in place, then use some colors that dry slower and paint the edge of the paper, then take a white piece of paper and slowly take the print of the end of the rolled paper. Then you will have to take a perfect perpendicular picture of that profile and insert it in sketchup and trace it with the arc tool. You better cut the profile from the paper and see if it slides easy around the remote, and also to scale it up slightly to let the remote slide easy.

I am liking the importing and tracing option… Thats working out nicely… As a test I actually tried to copy the example from the woodworking link above…

How exacty do you do some of the more obscure arcs? I am using the 2 point arc, and the “bulge” is right in the middle of the 2 endpoints… Is there a way to modify the bulge so that you can trace in some of the more gradual curves?

Edit: Ignore that… I think I worked it out… All of the Youtube videos I
found all had a different Arc tool to what I have… .But I guess they are
from an older version.

Realised now that when the line goes ‘cyan’ its follows a natural
curve from the last arc… So its easy to trace around these flowing


They aren’t arcs in that post. They were drawn with the Bezier plugin which is available in the Extension Warehouse. Now days I would use the curves from the Bezier Spline tool by Fredo6 which is available in the Sketchucation Plugin Store.

I was referring to the Youtube videos… In the guide I see he was talking about an ‘extension’. I just tried looking for it and there are only 2 extensions by Fredo6 and not a Spline Tool.

There is a “Bezier Curve Tool” by the Sketchup team, so I am going to take a look at that.

That’s the one I referred to in the blog post I linked to. Bezier Spline is Fredo’s and is available through the Sketchucation Plugin Store.

AHhh… Right… I didn’t realise it was a separate site… Tried to get it and I have to register at $15… I think I will stick with the “Bezier Curve Tool” which seems OK for my need.



No you don’t! Although you can become a paying member and there are a bunch of additional resources available, you certainly don’t have to pay to become a member and get the plugin.

There is an SCF “free account”, which gets you most of the basic services - including the SCF PluginStore downloads etc…

Just ‘read’ the page…

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