Producing "line thickness" in a 3D line constriction

I have produced a 3D line drawing consisting of a number of intersecting semi-circles in all three planes. I have attempted to give the lines some “body” or thickness by asking the follow-me tool to use a small circular section. This starts well but fails when I have to stop the follow-me process to rotate the shape.
If I attempt to restart follow-me and continue from somewhere along a semi-circle the cylinder being produced becomes overlapped and offset from the original.
If I attempt to stop then restart where the ends of two semi-circles coincide, the section produced changes from a circle to an “eye-shaped” section.
Ideally I would like to select all the lines and instruct that they should all generate a circular sectioned thickness … but cannot find an option to effect this.
Any ideas which would save me rebuilding the structure with rods/tubes from scratch would be appreciated.

actually, the followme tool does work that way.
select the path first then use the follow-me tool to click on the profile face.

path selected in blue:

choose the follow-me tool and click on the profile shape (the little rectangle in this example)

You’re looking for the Pre-Select Method.

As to your need, or desire, to have line weights you can control, I agree and sympathize. I have long found it irksome that many customary drafting practices that really have no logically exclusive tie to 2D drawings, and that would function equally well in a 3D environment, have not been implemented in SU. I think that line weights and line patterns would add layers of information to a 3D model just as they do for a 2D drawing.

But alas, it is not to be. Short of some preposterous, unwieldy, unworkable workaround, I think you will find that SU stubbornly resists attempts to use customary drafting line conventions. Don’t ask me how I know this.

And, sorry to say it, using Follow Me to make graphic lines that are actual geometry is perhaps the most unworkable workaround of all. Aside from the technical issues you’re running into just getting the tool to produce simulated linework in the first place, assuming you overcome them, you’re going to end up with a monstrous heap of heavy, heavy extrusions that will bring your system to its knees and never look right anyway.


export one file with normal sketchup edge thickness… delete all the faces, bump up the ‘profile’ settings in styles, export a .png with transparent background… combine the two in an image editor and selectively show the fat or thin lines…

(this is sort of a joke post but at the same time, it does illustrate what you’re up against in sketchup regarding line weights.)

Thanks Jeff. I’d got that working fine for two or three curves as long as I was able to drag a continuous follow-me but when I had junctions with three or four intersecting lines so had to stop then re-start either at a junction or “mid-line” the process failed as described.

Hi Gully. Sounds like you’ve spent more time fighting Sketchup than I have. I’m fearing (from our joint experience) that I’ll have to try to rebuild with solids rather than modify the line version. At least your experience will comfort me that I’m not wasting my time missing an easier solution.

You don’t drag it, you preselect the path, then get the followme tool and click the profile.

There are also several plugins that will do what you want.
Profile builder will let you select all the lines and give them a 3d profile of your choice.
Then there is Lines2Tubes, which does what it’s name implies
and Pipe along Path I’m sure you get what that one does.

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OK Box. Sounds promising. You will already have gathered that I’m not a very sophisticated user. I had tried the preselect method without success but your illustration suggests maybe was missing something in the execution so will try again. I was trying to set the centre of the circle on the preselected line rather than offset like yours but I could probably use the offset arrangement if need be. I’ll go try again.
The plugins both sound as if they’ed do the job too and as its a process I like to use on further designs you’ve pointed me to several things to explore.

The face can be centered on the path, I simply put it to the side to make it more obvious that I wasn’t dragging it along.

OK Thanks . Have to go for a bit but will try later.

PS What/where do you sculpt ?

tbh, i don’t even know why dragging is an option with the follow-me tool. :wink:
i never ever use follow-me like that. never

when the tool was first introduced (maybe v4?) , i tried dragging and found it very clunky… maybe things have improved since then? (don’t know… maybe i should try it again)

Don’t even think about it.

ok… i’ll take your word for it :smile:

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I honestly think the ability to drag the followme tool is a coding oversight.
No plugin author would leave that as an option, most would set off fire alarms and error popups if your tried it.

Mmmm … Some progress but mixed results :
Drew square, Drew small circle ( away from square). Selected edges of square. Clicked followme tool on circle. Obtained square of cylinders (with mitred corners). Result !
Redrew circle at one corner of my square. Clicked with followme tool. Obtained square of cylinders with three mitred corners but at the last corner the section stops outside the cylinder. Not so good.
Raise a perpendicular from one corner of my square. Have circle away from drawing. Select the five straight lines and click circle with followme tool. Sketchup tells me I haven’t selected a valid path. Gloom.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll try plugins.

Click the face of the square not the edges because the edge will stop when it hits your circle. Using the face it will follow all the way.
Or don’t put your circle at the corner, move it along the edge so it has a straight run start to finish.

Follow Me can’t split to two paths, when your path comes to the corner where you placed your perpendicular it gets confused as the path theoretically branches and it doesn’t know which way to go. So don’t try to make branching paths, they can change direction, but never give it a choice of direction.

You’ll probably need to click this to get it to animate. Excuse the sloppy selecting, not easy on a laptop touchpad.

It might be helpful if you loaded the skp. file so we can see the geometry your trying to tie the follow me tool to. It sounds like it is not the best way to achieve what you want to do. We may be able to offer better ways of modeling this. ie If its a series of ring linked together maybe, try modeling one ring, group it, and then move and paste as needed. Finally, un-group and intersect faces as required.

Also, if your intent is to make printout of the model afterwards, try importing to layout. Right click - explode, and then un-group until each line is its own entity. Select the lines you want to have a different weight, and adjust in the shape style window.

Good luck!

I think it’s still not clear exactly what you’re trying to do, @kayeselle. Are you basically trying to draw a wireframe outline of an object using fat lines?


This is part of what I’m attempting: Two overlapping semicircles were drawn in a rectangle. Followme was used to produce a tube around the lines but, as stated above, it didn’t like the intersections so the tubes were pulled round each semicircle one at a time. Currently I’m stuck at the next step I want to take which is to repeat the same form at 90 degrees to produce something that looks like coffee table legs(which it’s not). I thought that would be simple but sketchup so far has insisted on twisting my second set off the horizontal.
coffee table legs.skp (167.7 KB)

Do you mean something like this?