Sketchup doesn't like small things, it needs a "small things" mode


Lots of my objects are small (to fit on my 3D printer bed), and often come from bigger things. Either way, they often end up with tiny detail, particularly if I’m chopping something into bits and stuff. Sketchup doesn’t like the tiny sizes and seems to have rounding errors or something. Lines won’t connect, faces won’t appear, stuff gets broken, etc.

The follow me tool in particular is egregious, it can’t even make little spheres.

Workaround seems to be to make it 10x or 100x bigger. Then do whatever I want, then shrink it. It seems like Sketchup was designed for building floorplans, not desktop trinkets.

Sketchup should figure out how to rescale itself internally so that it measures in um but still outputs in mm or something. Eg: hide my 100x (or 1000x) hack under the covers so I don’t have to deal with that manually to get the resolution I need.


Moving this to feature requests category because that is what it really is. Particularly since the advent of popular 3D printing, many people are running into problems with SketchUp’s nearby-vertices tolerance. Some means to handle it nicer than the scaleup/scaledown process has been requested a lot of times, but one more doesn’t hurt!

From my own perspective, I’d prefer some way to tell SketchUp what I anticipate my model’s size to be (2km, 100m, 5mm, etc - and also foot/inches versions) and have it choose a tolerance suitable to that size. I think that would be more reliable than expecting it to clairvoyantly sense what you are doing, since you might have a tiny part in a large machine! Something like this is especially important for people who work in Imperial units, as it is quite tedious to keep converting things like 2 5/16 inches into their scaled-by-100 equivalents!


I actually thought that was what they had done by introducing the 3d Printing Template, shame it’s just bloatware that adds lots of un-needed geometry…

Tolerance should be attached to templates…



Agree! Once there is a way to specify it!


The Standard Templates names already ‘imply’ the model’s size/end use…

so the selection of ‘base’ Template could also trigger behind the scene ‘scaling’…


You can add more precision yourself by creating at 100x scale, and dropping it down the desired size. Redefine the documents scale with the tape measure…


If you are using metric simply set the Model Info > Unit to meters, without units displayed.
Then work as if you are in mm for x1000, or as if you are in cm for x100.
Obviously ft/in are less willing to ‘cooperate’ !

When you are done scale everything down to suit the ‘real’ size.


The catch with that is that if I imported a mm model I’d have to scale it, which could be confusing (besides, importing is one of the things sketchup likes to screw up at that scale). I’ve taken to making stl’s bigger in MakerWare or 3D Builder then importing them to sketchup.


This really needs to be a feature. It is a serious pain to work with small models. Things like “follow me” die because of it’s precision/rounding error/whatever.

When I’m working with things at smaller than 10cm, I’m not going to need to be able to make a 100m model. So Sketchup should “just” transparently scale stuff internally.

I can scale up/down myself, but that’s pretty annoying.


The DaveR component scaling tip is not that annoying and very helpful. If the piece you need is a component just make a copy and place it anywhere away from the original. Scale as big as you want 10,000 times if need be. Do your follow-me procedure on the scaled version in edit mode. Then close it and simple delete it, when the tool is done with the run. As the built in feature of edited like components is shared to all copies, all the complete faces / without error or missing edges in the large copy will be transferred. This tricks S-Up and the errors that would have been produced at the smaller size are avoided. Just a helpful teed-bit of info to apply and very handy!! …Peace…


Cool, thanks, I misunderstood having a copy of the component. I didn’t think about having one scaled and one 1:1 version…

Sketchup still needs a “small things” mode where we don’t have to trick it. Clearly the 3D profiles are going to be working at different scales than Landscaping profiles.


Many people (including me) agree. So far, perhaps because the scaling technique provides a workaround, Trimble has not seen this as an urgent change.


Yea, there are workarounds, but it seems (to a naïve developer of other stuff) that it shouldn’t be “too hard” to fix. I guess they may have other priorities, but this is a pretty big impact for me.

Heck, I’d probably even spring $ for pro if it was there. (maybe I shouldn’t have said that).


It sounds like it should be easy, but it depends very strongly on whether the original designers and programmers anticipated that the small-size tolerance would ever need to be changed. If they did so (or just coded cleanly based on basic principles) then it ought to be easy. But if the tolerance testing is scattered all over the code and varies what it does based on situation, it could take quite a bit of effort to track it all down and fix it. And, of course, since it would affect essentially every facet of SketchUp, there would need to be a massive testing effort to make sure something broken wasn’t stuffed into some rarely-traversed corner of the code!


How do you know that? The small/large limitations come from SketchUp’s implementation of OpenGL, and other OpenGL-using software that I know of also have same kinds of limitations, as do some 3D applications that use DirectX instead.



They don’t have to do all that. We “fix” the problem by pretending everything is 100x or whatever bigger than it is. So could they. Pretend that mm were m instead. Save the scale factor with the file. Then use that scale when exporting to STL or whatever. They don’t have to rewrite opengl for that.

Ok, so maybe not “easy” to add a scaling to everywhere that it exists, but it seems like it should be do-able.