Placing different size boxes inside a larger box

I’m fairly new to using sketchup. I started several years ago and designed a large shop using it. But I haven’t figure out how to do below.

I’m trying to place multiple different sized boxes inside of a larger box. I would like have the walls solid so a box can’t pass thru. Like real life. I’m trying to figure out the optimum placement to know if there is room or not for more boxes. Also, I keep having to put the view in all 3 planes to see if each box is up against its neighbor or wall and sitting on the one below. I know all the boxes will fit volume wise, but until I can actually get them stacked I won’t know for sure.

I have created them as components and tried one just as a group. The big box, I have only 3 sides, bottom, back, and left side.

You can’t do that in SU. Objects pass through each other. You affirmatively position objects using inferencing; you don’t just move one object until it runs into another.

Exactly why do you need the outer container? You’re looking for the most efficient stacking arrangement: that will be the same whether the outer container is present or not, and it’ll be easier to manipulate the boxes without it in the way. Once you have arrived at the optimum arrangement using Move + object snapping (and I don’t think there will be that many contenders), finding whether and with how much room left over it fits in the container can then be ascertained pretty quickly. It either fits or it doesn’t.

If you insist on collision detection, you might want to look into SketchyPhysics.


The outer box is effectively the shipping container. So I’m looking for most efficient that will fit in the larger box.
Thanks for your help.


Yes, that was clear enough, but you said you wanted to see if there was room for more boxes. So you want the most efficient arrangement possible (and obviously one that doesn’t exceed a maximum dimension each way). Still not clear why you need either the container or collision detection. Using inferencing, you can stack or line up boxes line-on-line–you wouldn’t get them to fit closer if you smashed them into place. If one more puts you over the limit, then don’t add one more. I think finesse will get you further than collision detection.


Edit the components and set their “Glue to” property to “Any”, “Horizontal” or “Vertical” (your choice.)

Now they’ll seem to snap to the face of the container and each other.

(But yes, they’ll still be able to move through other objects with effort. There’s no way to set faces to rigid.)

Thanks Dan and Gully,
I didn’t understand Inferences or at least how to use them in this context. So did the un-man thing and read the instructions.

Took a little practice but it worked like you said Gully.

It is hard going from 2D CAD to 3D and then visualize on a 2D surface. Thanks to all that have input to the forum, the instructional videos, and the general purpose of helping people get over the hurdles.



Sir, you are truly a mensch. I salute you and your obviously excellent mind.