Mate/join/connect Components

Hi all,

Does anyone know of an extension that allows one to “easily” create mates/joints/connections with SketchUp components? A long time ago I used CATIA and SolidWorks, and when I started to use SketchUp it took me quite a while to get used to building components that couldn’t be readily instructed to mate/join/connect to other components. Of course, you can write masses of instructions using dynamic components to acheive very basic relationships. But it would be great if there’s an extension that allows you to program things like:

  • Force 2 points (presumably found in 2 separate components) to be convergent forever
  • Force 2 lines (presumably found in 2 separate components) to be colinear forever
  • Force 2 surfaces (presumably found in 2 separate components) to be coplanar forever

Thanks all.

Is there a reason you wouldn’t either join two components and then make a component of the combined model, or use Solid Tools Union?

Hi Simon,
thanks for the response. I’m thinking more dynamic relationships, like :

  • slabs that auto-update their size to align to a wall or other structure,
  • a structure that knows to increase it’s length (but not cross section) when it’s connected ends move
  • a table leg that knows to correctly reposition itself based off of the size of the table.
    further apart.
    I appreciate these examples can be done with dynamic components, but it takes a while, and it can get complicated, and for people new to SketchUp, dynamic components are very onerous.

This is a video about Mates in SolidWorks, to help explain what I mean:

Of course I’m not suggesting there’s anything that can make SketchUp do what is in this video, SolidoWorks is a completely different type of software (and is way way more expensive), I’m just looking for easier ways to implement the geometric relationships that are currently attainable through dynamic components that don’t require programming the components manually. :slight_smile:

SketchUp doesn’t have a “mate” concept. There are some animator type extensions that can simulate some of that but not all. And SketchUp is not a parametric modeling application so things like what you describe won’t happen. Dynamic Components can do some of it but you’re right, they are time consuming to set up.

What sort of things do you want to model? I have used mates and parametric modeling in other applications but can say it’s never really bothered me that SketchUp doesn’t have those features. I find SketchUp much more intuitive and easier to work with than the other programs. Maybe it’s just because I prefer the workflow in SU to those other programs.

Changing the position of table legs when the top is resized is a trivial thing if the model is set up correctly.

Wow! Hey DaveR! I read your comments so often, you really do bring so much to this community, thank you!

I think that, simple mates (lets call them easier dynamic components) like this could be used in many applications, cabinetry where parts resize or reposition when you make changes to overall dimensions or individual parts, floor surfaces or solids that follow changes in walls, a slat timber table that rearranges itself if you change the cross section area of the slats.

For some context, I should note that I don’t really have a particular application in mind, I introduce SketchUp to different people from all sorts of industries, and I feel this kind of dynamic/parametric functionality is something people in many industries are looking for in a modelling solution. I guess my hope was that because this kind of functionality is already possible by way of dynamic components, that some bright spark may have come up with a tool to more easy apply it.

Thank you!

Yes, they could. I frequently make changes to dimensions in models of furniture and casework. I don’t really find it all that much problem to do and it often requires more than just moving a few components. For example the king sized bed on the right started out as a copy of the queen sized bed on the left. Mates wouldn’t have been very useful for this change and actually might have gotten in the way.

But yes, for some things they could be useful.

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I remember an extension many years ago that allowed you to add virtual joint nodes to objects that acted like pivot points or magnetic attractors so when you bought two objects together they snapped to those nodes automatically… looked very impressive and well executed but sorry I cant remember its name…

Maybe it was this. EASY OBJECT ASSEMBLY with The Snap Connector Extension for SketchUp - YouTube

But I must admit I first saw it maybe 10 years ago…