Model is replete with tiny holes and errors

Hi there… I’ve spent about 20+ hours building this rounded shape - a cover for a kayak hatch. I tried to be as careful as I could to keep the surface solid, but it seems almost inevitable that there are problems.

The basic shape of this is an irregular oval. I made an edge using the followme tool, after scaling by 1000x (later scaling back down) But, when doing that, I had a really hard time getting the tool to work, and there were all kinds of little gaps. I did my best to fix what I could see, and moved on.

Then, I did a bunch of additional work on some legs and other details.

Finally, I tried to export this to an stl. I found out about Solid Inspector, ran that, and have 1659 internal Face Edges and 14 Surface Borders that can’t be fixed automatically. I have no idea where these things are, or how to even look at them, much less fix them.

Is there no tool that will act as a kind of “shrink wrap” and just fix all gaps and oddities? I mean, the model looks totally fine - Anyone who was to look at this can see exactly what it ought to be. There ought to be a way to automate this.

Am I just completely screwed? Even if I had to start over, I don’t know how I’d avoid getting the exact same result. How in the world do people make solid curved shapes? I’ve watched and read dozens of tutorials, did the best I could to do things right, and am left with this mess.

(PS: not that it matters, but that photo is NOT me… another first world problem I need to fix).

kayak-cover-logo-3D-smoothed.skp (2.4 MB)

  • It would help you if you drew all the raw geometry on layer 0.
  • Clean up your model from internal faces and lines.
  • After you clean everything, make it a group.

Barring blind luck, one must understand what defines a Solid model before they can build one.
With that knowledge in hand, it’s easy to spot the errors in the model.

There’s a lot of unnecessary geometry inside the model that will prevent being a Solid.
Here’s just a fraction of what needs fixing.

It’s not difficult to spot the errors.
• Turn on Hidden Geometry and zoom in close to examine the exterior.
• Swing the camera inside the model to inspect the interior.
• Viewing the model in X-Ray or Wireframe can make finding errors easier at times.
• Creating a Section helps you view the inside as well.

Fixing the model is possible, but it would be time consuming.
Generally, it’s faster and easier to start over.

As you build the model, keep in mind what’s needed to make a Solid.
Errors tend to accumulate. Keep it neat and tidy up after each operation.

Entity Info will tell if it’s a Solid or not.
If not, first try finding the error on your own.
If you can’t spot the error, then consider using one of the Solid inspection plugins.
Use it as a learning tool instead of a crutch and you’ll become a much better modeler.

What makes a model Solid?

A Solid in SketchUp is a single Group or Component whose geometry meets certain conditions.
When those conditions are met, Entity Info indicates the model is a Solid Group or Solid Component.
Also notice Entity Info indicates the Volume of a selected Solid.

• The geometry must form a single* airtight vessel.
Like a perfect soap bubble … •No gaps •No holes •No leaks

• No extraneous Faces** inside or outside the vessel.
All Faces must serve to enclose the singular volume of the vessel.

• No stray Edges.
All Edges must serve to support a Face that in turn serves to enclose the airtight vessel.
Thus, each Edge supports two Faces … no more, no less.

• No nested Groups or Components.

*A Solid Group or Solid Component may contain one or more separate airtight vessels.
**Best that all Faces are oriented Front Side (white) facing out.

Understanding Solid Objects in SketchUp — Aidan Chopra


Out of curiosity, what will you do with the model after it is complete and “solid”?

Original intention was to get a 3D print of this. It’s a replacement for a kayak hatch cover. The kayak is 35 years old, no replacement is available, and it’s an odd shape.

My goal was to spend “a couple hours” designing this so I could get a quote & see what it’d cost.

That turned into a rat-hole of endless problems. The one in this thread is just the latest.

Separately, I had a chat with someone about what this would actually cost, and their estimate was “in the hundreds”… which is quite a lot more than I expected, and may make this impractical. So, not sure if I really want to spend any more time on this.

I wondered if you were thinking of going down the 3D Printing path. Might be better or at least less expensive to make one out of wood and fiberglass.

As far as modeling it goes, I would only model a quarter of it without the star on top and then copy the quarter to make the rest of it. Get that one quarter solid first so you have less to work on. then use that solid to make the other three quarters. Make the star on top as a solid, too, and you should be able to use Outer Shell to combine them.

Also, since you have some areas where very short edges are created, work on this thing at a larger scale. I would set units to meters and model it as if meters were inches. As far as 3D printing is concerned, you would just export the STL and it would be imported into the slicer using inches. If you were going to use it some other way–maybe to create full size patterns to work from–you can scale down after you’ve finished the model.

Thanks for the advice. It’s just a completely deflating and depressing situation. I understand everything of what you said, but it seems impossible to accomplish. While I could be ‘more careful’ and check things as I went, I really don’t know what I’d fundamentally do differently. Doing all these interim checks would add up to a huge amount of time. The amount of time I’d need to devote to this is more than I have available.

I realize you’re an experienced Sketchup user. I’ve only used sketchup previously for some landscaping sketches. To get the amount of experience/skill required to do this seemingly simple project… well, it seems I’d need to devote many more hours of learning, practice, tutorial, etc… but I’m not sure that’s a good use of my time, as it may be years until I need to use those skills again, and by that time I’ll have to re-learn everything.

The whole thing just seems like peeling an onion. Every time I think I understand something, there are more and more and more layers to it, and no way to know what the next layer will be.

I’ve already restarted this project a few times… just getting the unique curve of the lid took many hours - I tried and failed to use the built-in tools, found a plug-in tool that did bezier curves, had to do that a few times because I drifted from coplanarity or had other issues. Then, trying to do a simple “followme” around the edge of that was a nightmare - many more hours of time before I discovered you had to scale up to 1000x to get that to work… and even then, I wound up with all kinds of wonky gaps, etc… it’s just one thing after another. This whole thing has been an experience in endless frustration.

Maybe Sketchup just isn’t the right tool for this. Is there some other accessible tool that assumes the item you’re drawing is always a solid? it would seem a very useful “mode” to have. I don’t want or need any “inner geometry” for this item. If I have a gap under a minimum geometry, I just want that smoothed over.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do that and record/post it as well. Though, not sure if there’s any way to pause/rewind/step-through this .gif, as there are a number of things you do here, which I’m not familiar with, etc - I’d have to step through it to see exactly what you’re doing, or where some of these tools come from, etc

In addition, I’ve tried to do some of the things you do here, but it just doesn’t work for me… For example, I tried so many ways to fix where the angled leg supports attach to the curved side-wall, but it was just a mess - everything I tried, wouldn’t make a surface, or caused the shape to change completely. In your example, you just drew a few lines, and presto - a surface… as I would expect. But, when I do it, I draw the same lines… and… nothing - just a bunch of lines. With no way to debug what went wrong.

You’re welcome!

There is, you just have to open it with Windows Media Player

As for the 3D model, it would be much easier to redesign it from the beginning correctly.

This topic was automatically closed after 186 days. New replies are no longer allowed.