Move Tool - Snap to Inference Point?

I’ve been struggling a lot with moving components around in my models. The move tool is intuitive when selecting the inference point you want to use on the component you’re moving, but not so much when it comes to the location you want to move the component to. I’m finding the component always moves into the foreground, obscuring the inference point I’m trying to get it to snap to.

My current approach is to select the component I want to move, then select the move tool. From here I click on the point in the component I want to snap to, then spend 5-10 minutes hovering over the inference point I want to snap the component to. I do a lot of zooming in and out, and changing the camera angle, but I’m finding it to be a very tedious process of actually getting the component to move to my inference point.

Is there an easier way of doing this? The component always obscures my inference point, and seems to want to snap into the foreground. Sometimes I’ll get it to snap to the inference point, and it will appear in the correct location, until I left click at which point it shows up in a different random location. It would be much easier if the component didn’t move until I click on the inference point. The component following the cursor around is what complicates things. All the tutorials I’ve found just say to hover over the inference point, but this is very hard to accomplish as the component always seems to want to move in between the camera and the inference point, obscuring it.

I often click xRay mode in these situations…

After grabbing the component, is it easier if you go to XRay mode?
The component should no longer obscure your point of placement.


X-Ray mode is definitely the way to go here, as shown above. This will be more efficient if you set X-Ray mode to a keyboard shortcut (‘x’ for example). A simple tap of the x key (or whatever key you choose) during the move operation will toggle on/off X-Ray mode.

Snapping an object from point-to-point is not always feasible. Often it’s easier and more straightforward to move an object along one axis at a time, stopping the move with a face or edge, rather than the ultimate destination point. For example, the following picture shows a sphere being aligned with a point on top of a block:


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@Gully_Foyle … Nice graphic!

Thanks all! I wasn’t aware of Xray mode, and it certainly does make things much easier. I was already trying to move components in one direction at a time, so it’s good to know I was on the right track there.

Another option is to draw a line from the interface point up (or any other direction) so that it stretches beyond the geometry - the other end of this line can now be used as a “snap to” reference. If this line as a specific length, then it’s easy to move the object from one end to the other by inference and typing in that number.

Another option is to use a different reference point that you know is a specific distance away, then move the object a second time by typing in that distance.

Another option is to draw a line from the interface point to a specific point on the geometry, then move that line so that it is within the geometry to be moved, then include that line in the moving selection and put it back where it came from. (then delete the line again)

Another option is to use the measure tool to place guidelines and make the inference point “permanent”, then hide the actual geometry used to place the guidelines and snap to them.

… Each option has its uses in different cases, depending on what you are moving and where you are moving it to; don’t get stuck thinking that there is only one way to do something or that the way you are used to working is the best/most efficient way to do it.

I have found another way to do this while trying to solve the same problem. There is a function that will give you the coordinates of a point, called the “Query Tool.” I have assigned a shortcut of upper case Q (since Q is already taken).

Activate the Query Tool, place the end of the cursor on the destination point and write down the coordinates. Click on the object to be moved, press m (Move) and align the cursor to the part of the object you want to place at the destination point. Move the object in any direction and any amount, then press the left square bracket and you will see a pair of square brackets in the measurements box in the lower right corner of SU. Type in the destination coordinates being very careful to put spaces in the appropriate places and commas between the coordinates. Then press Enter and the object will move to the desired coordinates.

I have not found a way to copy the destination coordinates to save the writing and typing.

Also, since the coordinates are [Red Axis, Green Axis, Blue Axis], you don’t always have to find the destination point if you know the offset from a different point or if you can’t get to the destination point. You can always do some arithmetic using a known point, which is helpful for moving several objects to related destinations.