Making Twisted Columns (Help Please!)


Hi all, I am having trouble making a particular style of column for my building called “Sendai Mediatheque”. I’ve attached a photo of the column. It would be great if someone could give me a detailed explanation of how to make such a column as it is part of an assignment and due very soon.

Thank you so much!


You want one of us to do your school work ?
Do we get credit on your diploma ?


@dshah2538, I’m sure you’ve noticed that each of these columns is different, and it’s even kind of hard to figure out exactly what any one of them actually looks like. The structures are variable and irregular, so telling you how to make one would be sort of like telling you how to make a snowflake.

Leaving aside their specific detailed arrangement, it’s possible to say a few very general things about their construction. I mean, it’s just a bunch of more or less upright cylinders going around in a circle, with some of the cylinders leaning over. The cylinders are bound circumferentially with toroidal hoops. Frankly, it’s hard to picture many shapes easier to model than a cylinder and a torus. Are you saying you don’t know how to do that? If so, you’ve got to tell us that. Are you saying you’re not sure how to manipulate the objects with the Move and Rotate tools? If so, you’ve got to tell us that.

By asking for specific advice, such as how a torus is made or how to lean something over, you avoid the situation where you’re just asking us to figure the whole thing out for you. There’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking advice on how to go about making something, but you have to be specific.

So tell us where you’re running into trouble and we’ll try to help. (Incidentally, if you’re a stone cold beginner with SketchUp, this is not really about how to make a column but how to work SketchUp, and for that you’ve got to start at the very beginning like everyone else, not skip directly to your project.)



Hi Gully, thanks for your reply. I am new to sketchup and I have to go straight into the project. I know how to use the basic tools (ie, push/pull, rotate, move tools etc.). I’ve completed about 90% of the building, but i’m having trouble to actually make these columns entirely. There’s no specific bit im having trouble with whilst making the columns. I’ve tried a number of methods to try to make these columns (ie, drawing a circle with vertical lines, using the “follow me” tool method), but I can’t seem to make it work.


IN an empty model try this:

Draw a hexagon using the polygon tool.
Use the PushPullTool to pull it up into a column.
Select the Rotate tool and click the center of the top face,
select one of the hexagon face’s vertices, and rotate about the z-axis.

Does that give some idea ?


Come now. Of course there are specific bits you’re having trouble with. Specific bits is all there are. It simply takes a bit of mental discipline to analyze your problem so you can identify specific bits rather than speak in vague abstractions. So right now is the time to become analytical and to get very specific. In fact, it sounds to me like that’s part of the assignment.



Okay, so i guess the specific bit i need help with is on what tool to use to make these twisted-like columns. I’ve used the push/pull, move, rotate, and follow me tool, but none of them give the exact replication of the column.


That is the title of your thread. We’re back at the beginning.

Look, as I mentioned, these “columns” are not monolithic: they are a combination of shapes: a series of cylinders running around a circle, some leaning, some vertical, bound by several toroidal hoops.

So: are you able to create the cylinders? Are you able to create the torus? Are you able to move the parts into position? Those are the specific bits of this assembly process. Exactly where are you having problems?

No one of these tools would yield the completed column because they must be made using several tools. In any event, let’s say you’re using these tools incorrectly. How would I ever find out unless you tell me exactly what you did and what happened as a result?

This will be my last attemp to elicit a specific description of your problem.



Following @DanRathbun’s suggestion …
(last step with Lines to tubes)





Thank you so much Cotty, makes sense now! I was actually trying this exact same method (except that last function-- lines to tubes which i didn’t know about) with a circle. Thank you so much!! Really appreciate it!


Thanks so much Dan Rathbun!!!


rotate it using one of the vertices of the top’s perimeter as the centerpoint.


Thanks Jeff! I’ve got it now :slight_smile:


Depending on your field of study, You are probably off to a lousy start. If you are an art major, you are OK, If architectural, you are off to a half bad start. If you are mechanical, you are completely off base in your thinking. As Gully mentioned these are not monolithic. However you are attempting to model them so. They ARE created of parts. Parts=COMPONENTS. Begin with that premise and the construction of these columns becomes one beam added to another.


@bwelty5, I certainly agree with you about how to construct the model, but I must also acknowledge that @Jeff cracked the code to forming the configuration of these odd shapes.