Newbie desperately needs help with follow-me tool (lathed shape)!



I hope I am not making too much of a a fool of myself by asking this but could someboy please help me create a lathed shape using the follow-me tool? I know it should be the easiest task in the world but I tried and tried but just couldn’t get the job done! The final result is supposed to look kind of like a frisbee filled with concrete :wink:
(Please forgive me my obvious lack of professional vocabulary, and please be patient with me as I am a total beginner…)

Here’s how I proceeded:

I first drew up a circle to serve both as the bottom side of the ‘frisbee’ and as the path for the follow-me tool. Then, I drew a line from the center of the circle upwards and from there, two parallelled lines towards the outer edge of the circle. Finally, I connected the endings of both parallels with an arc. (see pic 1)

(I noticed that the face I created could not be moved away from its predetreminded position using the ‘move’ command. If I try to move it away after selecting it, the outward end point of the lower parallel line remains attached to the edge of the circle, thereby distorting the shape of the face as I move it away from the circle. Is this normal? How can I reposition the face without distorting it?)

Finally, when using the follow-me tool as described in the helpline article ‘Follow Me Tool: Creating a lathed shape’ (, the face disappears and a strange cut-out appears in the circle.

(See pic2)

Any idea what went wrong there?

On a similar project (see pic3), I also failed to create a lathed shape using this command, as shown in the picture below. In this case, I wanted SketchUp to ‘wrap’ the long triangle-shaped face around the top two thirds of the ‘pole’, following the path represented by the circle on top of the pole. This also failed.




First of all, you need to learn about SketchUp’s handling of ungrouped geometry that touches other ungrouped geometry. The objects “stick” to each other, which is why you can’t drag your profile and circle apart.

Second, for follow me it is not necessary that the profile actually touch the path it will follow. It can parallel a path that is some distance away. So, you can draw your circle below and not touching the profile if for some reason you want to move the profile or circle separately.

I don’t know what went wrong with your attempt to use follow me. In the gif below, I first selected the circle (follow-me understands pre-selection of the path) and then invoked follow-me on the profile.

To avoid rotating all the way around, as in your pic3, you need to explode the circle before you can select individual edge segments as the path (or draw a separate arc above the circle).


You can create the entire object in one pass. Do the following, as illustrated below:

  1. Orient your point of view (orbit) until you are looking out towards the horizon (drawn objects are oriented according to your viewing angle)
  2. Draw a rectangle up from the origin about the size of half your object. Use this rectangle as a drawing surface to draw the entire profile (half of a cross-section) of the object. Then erase the extra part of the rectangle.
  3. Orient your point of view so you’re mainly looking down on the object. Grab the Circle tool and hover momentarily over the bottom center corner point, then straight down.
  4. Using From Point inferencing click the mouse once to mark a center, then out along an axis. Click again to create a horizontal circle of any size, directly on-axis with the profile. Click the circle to select it.
  5. Select the Follow Me tool and immediate click the face of the profile.
  6. Presto, there’s your object. Don’t worry if it’s blue. Just triple-click > right-click > Reverse Faces.


Oh. sorry, that was supposed to be a curved base:


Dear slbaumgartner, Dear Gully_Foyle,

Thank you so much for replying to my posting and for doing so in such detail! I am so grateful for this! Sorry I didn’t comment on your replies earlier but due to a bereavement in the family I was away for some time…

Both replies were great (and are greatly appreciated!!!) and Gully_Foyle’s approach suits my needs perfectly, which is why I tried it out immediately. But the shape I created simply fails to follow the circular path drawn below it. I tried and tried but couldn’t get it to work! I followed the steps outlined in Gully’s posting exactly as described, but to no avail.

Each time I click on the shape (after preselecting the circle path below and then clicking on the ‘follow me’ button), the shape suddenly and completely disappears. I wonder if there’s perhaps something wrong with my settings, as I have re-drawn the shape several times from scratch using different methods, each time taking great care in chosing the right points of view and carefully selecting the correct axis but again, the shape disappears every time after clicking on it!

I am so annoyed and frustrated I am actually considering giving the whole thing up, although I would hate to because I am sure there’s a solution to this problem, and probably a rather simple one too.

Please guys, can you help me???

Anxiously awaiting your reply, I send you my kindest regards



this will happen if your shape or circle is to small for SU…
try a much bigger size for both outline and circle…
i.e.100 times bigger…


John is likely right. For your future info, when SketchUp completes a follow-me operation, it deletes the profile. If the geometry was too small, follow-me could fail to generate anything during the follow-me and then when it deletes, there is nothing left!

In general, the way to create small parts is to draw them way bigger and then scale down when they are completed. SketchUp’s issue is because it uses a fixed, absolute tolerance to define “too small” regardless of what size your part is.


Thanks John and slbaumgartner,

This sounds promising. I’ll try this and hopefully it will produce a ‘Eureka’ moment for me! :wink:

I’ll let you know…



:smiley: ! ! ! E U R E K A ! ! ! ! :smiley::+1:

Yes you were right indeed John and slbaumgartner, this was exacly the problem!

Guys, I owe you a great big THANK YOU!!!
I probably couldn’t have solved this mistery on my own. This is a great forum and you guys are awesome!!




I am a newbie at best and the worst feeling is applying demonstrated techniques or following step by step from a video tutorial. Only to have something WEIRD happen and being clue-less and not having any insight to try and explain it. You have nothing to draw from and most often it is something I did without realizing it. I hated asking for help but had to learn that it is also part of learning. And as you figure it out over the next months there are a whole bunch of new things this thing can do, to play with your mind!!! Hang with it and research the self-help forums
Reading through these will help build insight and perception of all the tools and more so how to manipulate them. Their can’s and can not’s…Peace…