Putting together solid parts so that they DON'T overlap

I am curious if there is a way to make two solid objects – let’s say a peg and a hole – that fit together but do not overlap – so they behave as they do in the “real world”. Autodesk has something like this, where you can have parts “touch” each other (like if you’re making a cam-follower) and I was curious if Sketchup has anything similar.

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You do work with groups and components don’t you?
One group can be used to create the perfectly fitting other group to make things easy for you.
Enter group > select necessary geometry > copy to clipboard > exit group > past in place to start the new group, starting with the basic entities, the previously selected geometry.

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Um, I am not sure I understand what you are saying to do.

I copy a component of my group, and then paste it, as though I am starting a new group. But… this doesn’t really answer my question. I want the pieces to behave as solids, so that when I move them around they don’t overlap with each other, just as would be the case in reality. If I rotate a cam, I want the shaft to move with it. I know how to merge two solid objects, and I know how to make two solids that might fit together. I am trying to design something that is easy for a 9th grader to put together, and not allowing parts to overlap might be key to this.

SketchUp does not have collision detection or overlap prevention. However, if you activate the move tool and click a point on one object that you want to abut another, you can move it until you see an appropriate inference on the second one and click to position there.

Thanks, that was the question I was trying to asnwer

(not pasted in place but to the side to show the concept of creating the second group which you apparently know!)
Next step to learn the 9th graders is to group groups together. The bundle would then rotate and/or move as one. Say cam plus arm.

You can create animations of what you are talking about, but it requires some work or extensions.
This is done manually with scenes just as a quick demo.


As @slbaumgartner wrote, there’s no collision detection in SketchUp but this sort of exercise would give the students so good practice in using Rotate and Move. The cam and rod is pretty straightforward as box shows but it can get much more complex. Using the same technique he used, I animated a model steam engine. If you’re bored and want to see it, it’s here.

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this is the kind of thing I was talking about, yes. How did you set it up, or was it just as an animation of some sort?

See this post: