Simple, Select a plane when drawing

My students are reverse engineering a switch plate that will be 3d printed.

When using the rectangle tool, starting at the origin, some of the rectangle are being initiated on the vertical plane. They will drag it around and eventually it might end up on the horizontal plane. I have experienced this when they use other tools, also.

My question is: Is there a way to “select” the plane to draw on? or Is there a way to initiate the use of a tool that will determine the plane?

We have tried changing the “view” of the object but that does not have consistent results.

The angle the rectangle goes to naturally is determined by the angle of view. The more downward they are looking, the more likely the rectangle will be on the red/green plane. They can lock the direction, though, by hitting a cursor key. Up for blue, left for green, and right for red.

The indication that the orientation is locked is the colored edges of the rectangle displayed as thick lines.

The cursor keys work for things like the Line and Circle tools as well as for locking move directions and rotation axis orientation, too.

By the way, I think that’s a good project to get the students working in SketchUp. It’s been a long time since I’ve drawn a switch plate and I’d never modeled one in SU for Web so I gave it a try. This was the only plate I had on hand in the shop and I didn’t want to take one off the wall. :wink:

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Perfect. I’ll be coming at you guys with some other bumps in the road.

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I’ve been having a lot of problems with this same issue, trying to get a circle or arc to draw on the plane that I want it on. I haven’t been able to get the cursor keys to work for this purpose, I usually get the message “Constraint not Appropriate at this time” and I can’t get the object to switch from whatever plane it wants to be on.

I also have a lot of trouble with curves wanting to infer to points in the drawing that I don’t want them to infer to. Is there any way to toggle inferencing on and off? For example, I may want the starting point of an arc to infer to an endpoint but then the chord tries to infer to other objects and places itself at all odd angles.

It would be interesting to see your model file and see what it is you’re trying to do.

I can come up with an example of the inferencing question, but to address the difficulty with changing orientation here’s a very simple example: start with just a blank template ( I usually use the Woodworking inches). Start to draw just a circle with the center on the origin. It wants to draw in the red/green plane and I cannot get it to switch to either the blue/green or blue/red planes. If I hit the up arrow it gives the “Constraint not Appropriate at this time” message.

You have to set the orientation before you click to set the center point. Once you click to start drawing the circle you’ve locked the orientation of it.

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Really, it’s as simple as that? Now I see it, yes the little circle changes colors. So this is different than with a line where you can change the axis on the fly, that was the procedure that I assumed would be the same for other shapes.

Thanks once again Dave.

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Yeah. It’s really as simple as that.

With a line you can’t give it a direction until you establish and endpoint to work from. With circles and polygons their plane needs to be established before you click to identify their center.

Is there a way to do this with Bezier curves? I can’t seem to lock those to an axis either before or after starting to draw the curve.

Which Bezier tool are you using?

In general Bezier curves can be 3D. Easiest way to keep the control points on plane is to draw the curve on a large rectangle.

With FredoSpline you can specify the plane in the UI.

I’ve been playing around with a couple different bezier tools and I’ve just discovered Bezier Spline from SketchUcation, and in this one you can lock the axis with the cursor arrow keys.

I’ll check out FredoSpline as well, and try the rectangle trick. I see they do that in a lot of the tutorial videos.

I forgot about BezierSpline. FredoSpline is his newer tool and has a lot more options for drawing curves.

Okay, great, good to know. Thanks.

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