There are many components that you want to have flipped instances of, like one half of a symmetrical objects like a car, apartments at opposite ends of a building and much more.
There are also components that should never be flipped, like a stove or washing machine with controls on the front, texts, computer keyboards, logos and the like.
Sadly these can’t be easily combined in a SketchUp model. If I make a building where half of the apartments are perfect mirrors of the other half, I naturally want to use components so I can edit one instance and have all changed, but I don’t want to mirror certain items within the apartment, like drawing symbols or the logo on the fridge or a poster on the wall.
To have the best of both worlds, I propose a new component behavior - “Prevent flipping”.
This would make sure a component instance is always drawn as not being flipped, regardless of whether its parent is. This would be controlled from the Edit tab of the Component inspector, next to Face Me, Cut Opening etc. This behavior would be turned on by default for texts created through the 3D Text command.
In practice this would be achieved by having the component graphically flipped (preferably along its red axis, side to side) when the determinant of its “accumulated” transformation is negative.
I’m not 100% sure if the flip should be carried out around the center of the component’s bounds or its axes. Flipping along the bounds would automatically give the correct result in the vast amount of cases,
while flipping around the origin opens up for errors if the origin isn’t wisely placed. On the other hand flipping around the origin opens up for more user control. Using the origin/axes is also more consistent to how Fame Me component works, which I think is quite crucial. However, In contrast to Face Me components there isn’t as direct feedback if you have the axes unwisely placed, and you may not figure out as easily why an instance in a flipped component appears shifted to the side, as you would understand why a Face Me component doesn’t rotate along its center axis.
I’m guessing this would be a medium-easy to medium difficult feature to implement, as it is somewhat closely related to the existing Face Me behavior. The same instance needs to be drawn differently at different instance paths (different instances of a parent), which is already supported for Face Me components.
This could also be one of those neat features that sets SketchUp apart from other programs, and makes it more enjoyable to use. To me this could easily be one of the main selling points for a new version.