Solid Inspector for SketchUp for Schools

Hi,
I’ve been using SketchUp for Schools with my high school classes and we’d like to create some 3d models. Are there any tutorial videos for the Schools version of Solid Inspector? YouTube only has a few tutorials for past versions that don’t seem to relate to the Schools version.
Thank you very much.

I haven’t seen a tutorial specifically on Solid Inspector for the web versions of SketchUp but it’s really pretty simple. In a nutshell, a solid component or group is one which contains nothing but raw geometry (edges and faces) and in which every edge is shared by exactly 2 faces. So no stray edges, no holes, and no internal faces. Compare the messages at the right in the screen shots.

Solid. Every edge is shared by exactly two faces.

Not solid due to a stray edge. Notice Solid Inspector highlights the offending geometry. It also offers to try and fix it.

Not solid due to a missing face–a hole in the volume.

Not solid due to an internal face.

Here I’ve created a couple of problems in the second component.

If the problems aren’t readily visible from the current point of view, turning on X-ray can help. Also, pressing Tab will zoom the camera to the first problem. Pressing it again will zoom to the next. This can make it easier to find tiny problems that might occur.

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Hi Dave,
Thank you very much for that! Very helpful. I’ve tried the tab key but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I thought the tab key would put a circle around the offending part, but not in the School version.
So, if there is a line that is red, should I delete it and redraw it?
Your example that had the circle in red…I’ve see the same thing on my file. Should I delete this circle and redraw it?
Thanks again!

No. The camera should just zoom into the offending part. It should be shown in red, though, so pretty obvious. It might be that there’s other geometry in the way so using X-ray might help.

If the Fix Errors button is available I would try that first. Then, depending on the problem, maybe deleting the geometry is the right thing. In the case of a hole, it might be that simply tracing an edge of the hole with the Line tool will close it up.

the circle was red because the face inside was missing. Deleting the circle could be an option but again, just tracing one edge segment with the Line tool would probably fill in or “heal” the missing face.

Thank you again Dave! I’ll try all of what you said. Cheers!

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Good luck. You should be able to make some simple examples like I did and see for yourself how Solid Inspector handles them.

Hey Dave,
One more question if you are still able to answer…I found that if I remake the piece I’m working on much larger, I don’t get the ‘not solid’ error messages. If I build a piece much larger and get no errors in the Solid Inspector, can I save it as an STL doc and print at a smaller size?

Due to built in tolerances very small geometry can be problematic. If edges are too short you can end up with holes in surfaces. Working at a larger scale can avoid that. When I am modeling for 3D printing I set the units to meters. Then I model as if inches or millimeters are meters. If your slicer software allows you to specify the import units for the .stl file, you can leave the model at the larger scale with no problem.

As an example, here’s a model I made last night for the fun of it.

And after uploading the .stl using millimeters for the import units.

That is very good news. I wouldn’t have thought of doing it that way.
Thank you very much!

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I hope it works well for you, too.

I thought of a couple of things that you might want to pass on to your students. Edges (lines) have no thickness in SketchUp so a shape drawn on a surface won’t be printed. I’ve seen models from students in which they tried to add details as just 2D drawing on faces. It’s the surfaces that get printed.

The other thing has to do with face orientation. There should be no exposed blue back faces in 3D model volumes. It’s not uncommon for new users to wind up with back faces on the outside. The printer wants to put the print media on the back face side of the faces while there would be air on the front side. Keeping face orientation corrected as they go will make it easier to get good prints.

You’re the best Dave!

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Aw, shucks. :blush: