Should I Change To Working With Groups?

I’m just learning the very basics.

Have made a precise component which I intended to use just like you’d use a piece of steel on the job.

Pick it up, cut it to size. Fasten it in.

But I read that components when you change them that changes the ‘master’ Every time you pick another one it’ll be changed like the one you just changed.

Is that right?

But there’s ‘groups’ which seem to be very similar.

Should I be working with groups rather than components?

You could just make those that are getting modified unique. There are many benefits to using components over groups.

Groups and components are key to modeling efficiently and effectively in Sketchup. Normally, I use components, but I do find thre are times in my workflow that groups are more efficient.

As an example, when I design a wood deck that includes several angles as part of the perimeter, I will create a 1x6 plank and make a component for repetitive straight end runs (using the scale tool to change lengths if necessary), but when I need to “cut” the planks at angles and have different lengths I create an extra long plank (to copy and trim) and make a group of this plank. I therefore find both “geometry containers” useful.

I hope this example is of some help to you.

Ah… use the scale tool…


To clarify, there is no such thing as a master component. All component instances using the same definition are equal.

Regarding groups vs components I usually use components for everything that has an item name/number, e.g. a car, a door or a window. Things that are built on site or purpose built and only exists in one context, e.g. a floor slab or a house as a whole, are groups.

It all boils down to the question: if I edit this in the future, am I most likely to want to add all copies or just this instance? If I edit a copy of a door it’s typically that I want to make all instances more detailed. If I edit a copy of a slab it’s typically because all slabs are unique.

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I think I get the idea. I got it (if I’ve got it) right there in that first sentence. Then you confused me in the end with your examples intended to clarify :slight_smile:

This is it: Any copy of a component IS that component. IS the ‘master copy’ if you like.

So change any copy of a component and you change the component in every instance - all the ones you made/used in the past now currently in the drawing and all the ones that you’ll use in the future…

Is that it?

I shouldn’t be talking I should be trying and then I’ll know. Ah well… it’s written now.

So if I want a ‘master drawing’ of a piece of steel, say, that I intend to change numerous times in this and future drawings just the way I change things in reality, using the steel stock, then I should use a group for the ‘master’.

Then I can copy that ‘master’ group and change as I wish without effecting that master group.

Next time I make a copy of the master I’ve got what I want: a copy of the original.

In my workshop I’ve got ‘stock’ pieces of material that I create things from.

Lengths of steel and timber in various thicknesses and configurations all generally 2m long.

I am trying to duplicate that ‘stock’ in my Sketchup drawings. Work the same way in my drawings as do in the flesh. Take from stock and work on it.

For this I should use Groups, not Components.

After I’ve done the work on it and made it into something then it can be a component.

That’s it, right?

And thanks for your help. :slight_smile:

Yes , you are basically on the right track in you understanding of components, every instance is equal, change one out change them all. Unless…

You right click on a component and chose “make unique”. You have just divorced that instance from the others and made it unconnected, call it component B, editing it will not effect the others, but if you make copies of that new unique component B they will be linked as a new component B.

Sure, you could make your workshop stock all in groups, then turn each piece into a component after you have copied it into your new file, or you could make them all components and chose make unique when you drop them in before you start editing.

Over Simplified Answer. If there is going to be one of them in the model, Group is OK. If more than one, go Component.

Making the entire workshop stock might be overkill, you are presumably going to cut each piece before you start building right? It might be enough to just build a library of the cross section dimensions of each piece, then you can copy a rectangle, push pull to the desired cut length and move on. Just a thought.

It is a good thought, too, thanks for that.

Thanks for the whole post. I’ll revert to Components again, now that I have knowledge of this unique thing.

I have a component - a ‘star picket’ - that can have things along its length, holes and press formed hooks - that will obviate against the cross section method for them but yep, I can see it’d be the way to go for much other stuff.

Coincidentally I just tried to put my first ever component in a library yesterday and was unable to do it… Couldn’t find the right keystrokes for that…

Search the forum on managing component libraries, there is lots of info.

Down and dirty way…

Populate a drawing with every component you might need. Select all and delete, components are still listed in component window. File>Save As Template, leave default checked. Now every “new” file comes in as a blank sheet with those components loaded into the component window, ready for drag and drop.

EDIT: Oh Van Damme! You are on browser based Sketchup Free. So do the same just safe it as a file then open that file to begin with each time (not sure if Free supports custom templates).

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