Orienting components for cut sheet




I have never used cadd software before. I downloaded a drawing for a tripod made of 1/2 thick material, drawn in Sketchup. I downloaded Sketchup make to view and print the cut sheet. The drawing was of the completed tripod. At first I drew the 1/2 inch plywood sheet and tried to copy and move the individual components to the sheet for placement and material calculation. This did not work as the parts were not oriented correctly. Some stuck through the plywood others were on their edge. I tried to rotate the components in line with my 1/2 inch sheet of material with little success. Next I went to the component list figuring that is where I can get them to apply over, position, and duplicate for the material calculation. The components in the list are oriented as they are on the completed tripod giving me the same result. I have watched several videos on you tube which did not address this. So, I figure that there is some basic function that people who use this software that performs this task. How do i orient these parts to a put them on my 4X8 sheet of 1/2 inch plywood? For that matter, I need to be able to print some of these parts to use as templates.

Dave Roderick


The exact steps will depend on how the tripod model was made. Perhaps you could share it?

I would most likely use the cut List extension available through the Extension Warehouse and let it give me a cut list and the layout. To get accurate numbers, the components need to be drawn correctly and if you’re going to make them out of plywood, add a “sheet word” to the component’s definition name and they’ll show up laid out on a plywood sheet.


Here is the link to the page where I downloaded the drawing. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, the download link is there. http://jerswoodshop.com/wooden-tripod/

Dave Roderick


The model needs a bunch of work before it’ll make a useful cut list and layout. I could work on it later for you.


You´re lacking some basic knowledge which is fine. We all faced these problems beginning with SketchUp. You´ll overcome this soon.
Where can we find-download that same model to easily explain how to go about orienting the groups and components on a single sheet=

In general you can rotate groups and components in two ways: with the ‘Move’ tool and obviously with the ‘Rotate’ tool.
Hover with the ‘Move’ tool over a group/component and you’ll see red marks, giving you a protractor at some point. Then click on such a red mark to be able to rotate the group/component about its center in protractor’s plane. Each group/component has 6x4 marks, 4 per plane.
When doing so, notice the ‘Measurements’ field down left on screen. The shown angle can be overruled by just typing a value (desired angle) and hitting [Enter]

The ‘Rotate’ tool can be dragged after the first click (and holding down) the left mouse button. Then release the button. The axis of rotation is now set. Proceed with clickin start of rotation (second click) and finish of rotation (third click).

But please upload the model or give a link to it.


Here is the link http://jerswoodshop.com/wooden-tripod/


I’ll work on it when I get time.


See if attached model helps you get started: tripod-A.skp (1.3 MB)

Many groups/components still need to be split up into individual parts.

See how far you get.


I have been working with this paying close attention to the rotation points and I have got some of them oriented correctly. I did notice that when I copied them onto my 1/2 sheet material that they were “embedded” for lack of a better word. I could no longer see the edge highlight and the part could bee seen from the underside of the sheet material. It looks more like the cut sheets worked with in Corel Draw 8, like forever ago.

Thanks for the help, It looks like with a little time I will be able to get the parts in the right location. It would have been nice if there was a more “automatic” way to do this function. The whole 3D thing adds a level of complexity that I did not expect.

I do want to ask… Would this be common on a drawing or could the components have been saved differently so when they were brought in from the component list they were all oriented the same? Which would cause me to ask… Can I design something of this nature that can be directly translated to a drawn cut sheet by someone else in Make, without having to rotate parts?


Dave Roderick


Although the offer is appreciated, please don’t spend your valuable time on this. The only way I am going to learn this stuff is by dragging my sorry butt through the process.

Dave Roderick


It is normal in a 3D model to draw parts in the positions and orientations where they belong to make up the 3D structure. When a component is saved to a collection, one of the things saved in it is the location and orientation of its axes. When you pull a component from the collection, it is initially oriented with its axes parallel to the model global axes, so you can affect this process by choosing how you place the axes before you save the component. This can be especially helpful if there is a location in the component that you would normally “grab” to place it in the model, e.g. the center of the bottom of a knob.

Changing objects from the model positions to flat for cutout planning requires moving and rotating them, which isn’t hard but it may take you some practice to get fluent with it. However, as Dave already pointed out, the CutList extension can generate cutting layouts for you automatically (provided your model is well-structured - CutList requires “parts” to be components, not just edges and faces that happen to form a shape).


If you want to do the layout manually, it is possible to orient the component axes so that they would easily lay flat on a “sheet” If you want to do that. Most likely, you would orient the component’s red axis so it is parallel to the long dimension of the part. then you can drag copies of the components out from the In Model components library and lay them flat on the ground plane. Put them inside a 96x48 rectangle to see how they’ll fit.

There would be an advantage to this over letting CutList do it automatically. That is you could lay parts out so they’ll nest and make more efficient use of the plywood. cutList only places components based on the dimensions of their bounding boxes.


Components (and groups) each have their own local axes and origin.
It’s up to you how you set them up for the component. They can always be changed to be convenient for you for say a different purpose like getting a cutsheet.

For instance copy an awkard oriented component to the side. Then right click on it and select ‘Make Unique’. Now you can play with it without messing up the original. Right click on the copy and select ‘Change Axes’ to get them oriented conveniently.
With groups you’ll have to enter their context to change axes! Double click on the group to enter its contect. Then right clcik on the content and select ‘Change Axes’ in the context menu.

You can create “flat” objects as components in which you set up a glueing plane (the local red/green plane). Then when you pick such a component in the component browser it will automatically orient itself flat on a face it is put on.

If some group or component is (partly) submerged you can work in X-Ray face style to grab it at a submerged vertex to lift it again.

Do not work (for now) with plywood but with a single face to position the parts on. A face has no thickness and makes life easier.


You could throw it on the floor and draw round the bits.


Thanks for the replies… So, If I wanted for someone to be able to easily move a component to a cut list, I could orient a copy of the component correctly for cut sheet transfer. Then, save it as a component with a different name, like component 1 pattern or something?

Dave Roderick


You can have as many instances (copies) of a Component in a model as you need. Each one can have its own location, orientation, and even scale. So, there is no need to save separately based on where you place them in the model. You can also use scenes and layers to have selected instances visible in a scene so that the copies don’t clutter up your main view of the model.