Quantifying components / groups within a model

We utilize sketchup to model construction projects prior to building them. We are a custom home building company. We get pretty detailed with our models and I’ve been self teaching myself the software for about 10 years now. We’ve always used these models as a conflict analysis and to help preplan for construction. I am now wanting to use sketchup to quantify and potentially price materials and want to understand the best way to draw / organize my model for this.

Example: I typically will draw one 2x4 stud and make it a component. I realize I can make it a group as well but like the ability to manipulate multiple components for adjustments if needed. This means that if I need to make one unique, I have to use the make unique option. If I draw in this method and want to generate a report, I end up with multiple entities and quantities. Is there a better way I should be doing this? I know the scale tool eliminates this issue, however it distorts the textures on the individual items. Maybe i just need to get over that issue?

Secondly, I may use this stud and rotate it to create a top plate. When I go to generate a report, it doesn’t really help as the axis has changed and the report get’s very sloppy. Do I need to go in and change the axis every time or is there an easier way to do this?

Any input is appreciated.

I model timber buildings and develop shop and engineering drawings… I use components, and I always model any lumber or timber with the long axis being the blue or Z direction.

I then rotate as needed.

You can solve most of your issue by making unique and then in Entity Info changing the name. I will often make a generic ‘post’ and then rotate it to a top plate, valley rafter, etc. I try to keep my models clean and re-name as I go, so output is logical when providing materials lists. And I try to make sure that blue or Z axis is always the length.

You could also spend an hour or two and build a ‘lumber pile’ drawing. Make a bunch of 8’ long studs, plates, posts, headers, etc. - save this drawing somewhere useful, or actually have it as part of your startup template. Then you can copy paste or import this as a component into your working drawing and grab what you need from this file.

I try not to use the scale tool for lengthening timber or studs, I always use move or push pull.

You might find one tool in the timber framing plug-in useful (I don’t use it) - there is a ‘stretch’ function.


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Material stretches with the size, in order to set it back to normal, the component should first be made unique, otherwise the others will be affected by the new scale, then scaled definition via the right click context menu. This can be automated by placing a DC inside the component.

Masonry Wall | 3D Warehouse (sketchup.com)

If you change the internal geometry, then you must do a redraw for the formulas to update after the close. This can be done via a shortcut key or a DC option. However a full redraw via script before final takeoff should be done as a safety measure.
Alterations should be done within the overall size to match the size attributes, that is for a raked frame, scale to the apex, then reduce the lower side to suit the pitch.

The component swatch holds scaled / colored versions of a std material, hence low file size. The sizes are part of the material name and read to determine the thickness and area calculations, This method is ideal for bricks, blocks, tiles, sheet iron, roof covering, cladding…

Naming conventions,
using the definition name has some confusion with uniqueness, so consider this name as generic like RHS, UB, Pine, …
then use the instance name specific, wallplate 2x4, strutting beam 6x2x0.25,…

use custom attributes to tailor the report, like t for timber, then the size, tSize, or tType for a type of timber… so can pick all the timber in a tag like Wall frame.
note when using DCs, the new DC has to be saved then brought back into a clean file for the instance to override the component name

in a DC the instance name can be created with dropdown attributes, then applied to name and copied to the instance. Again a script can check this done

I would agree on this, I have opted for other axis, but this is the most useful. Being consistent means easier reports, easier swaps and predicable section extrusion. A modified version of the line tool script can be employed so selected extrusion components can be placed, rotated and stretched as one would draw a line

Thank you all. I appreciate your feedback. It sounds like I need to be confirming the axis I draw each component.

Suppose instead of using Report Generator you use an extension like CutList 4? It automatically makes the smallest dimension the thickness and the longest dimension the length without regard for the axis orientation. As long as the bounding box fits the timber you’ll get accurate numbers.

Dave, Thank you!. This looks like it may be what I am looking for. I have installed the plugin, but it looks as thought I am going to need to dig into the functionality to figure out how to use it. I have tried to run a report for it quickly, but Im going to need some training on it.

I tried to attach my model for reference but it exceeds 16Mb.

It shouldn’t take too much training.

Upload it to DropBox and share the link.

So probably the thing to do is turn off the tags for stuff that you don’t need and select the objects you want to include in your report. Here I’ve reduced the selection to the studs you see here.

Then I ran the Cutlist on it. This is only part of it.

I didn’t have time to go over your model with a fine-toothed comb but I did notice that the trusses aren’t built in a way that would allow you to get dimensions for the sticks. Maybe the trusses are just ordered in and you don’t need more that the overall dimensions.

A couple of things to note: The extension only looks at bottom level components/groups. You can export the cutlist as a CSV file which could be brought into a spreadsheet app for massaging and rearranging. And of course the output is only going to be as good as your input. Make sure the component names are useful. If you use groups at the bottom level, you’ll want to name them. Otherwise you just get a bunch of things with the same name, “Group”, which is basically usless.

Dave, I appreciate your help sir. You see how I have all of those unique wall studs in there? Is there abetter way to do that or just live with it?

As far as the trusses go, we import those directly from our truss manufacturer. We do not need to quantify lumber for that as they sell them assembled. We just use their model for conflict analysis and planning.

I tried turning off all of the tags like you mentioned and running the cut list, It’s cut list 5 that is available. But it looks like i need to set up some parameters to get the proper output. This is what I got when I ran is… (see attached) It is an exported .csv file. I do not get the sreen that shows up in your screen shot.
Screenshot 2023-02-09 at 11.59.35 AM

For timber sized objects (framing, furniture, timber frame, etc.) I used the TFList function of the Timber Framing plugin from Clark Bremer I mentioned above.

You won’t need the joinery or other features, but it kicks out a nice and tidy list. Here is a sample:

I then use excel to round up and consolidate the order lists depending on who I’m generating the list for.

The plugin also will give you a tally at the end, where it tries to combine like sizes:

I break apart my models using tags, so I can turn everything off and then export the exterior components, interior components, framing, brackets, etc.

This plugin is only really good for rectilinear stuff, but if I have a lot of hardware or other components I can just let it export those as well, to get an accurate count from the model and disregard the size.

Don’t worry about unique components - if you are stretching / push pulling and you get studs of different lengths because you can round up to proper lumber lengths later.

I have used generate report and I will have a look (again) at CutList, but for now, this setup works well for me.

In order to quantify I developed an extension called Add Ifc Quantities to Selection which adds Quantities to Ifc dictionaries.
That information can be read in Trimble Connect, grouped or exported to csv in order to quantify.
I read the Ifc file from Sketchup with Bim5D software and helps me to make a profesional estimate.