Spheres - can't make 'em

(See below in this thread for a summary of “findings” from this post)

I’ve read all kinds of things on making spheres and watched about 6 videos. There are a few different approaches, but basically the same. I cannot get a sphere consistently. I’ve detailed my frustrations in the attached pdf and really hope someone can help me out.

I’m new to Sketchup and using PRO … still in my 30 days

Thanks in advance …
Thom aka duck9000 (distant relative of HAL9000)

HelpMeMakeAsphere.pdf (206.1 KB)
sphere.skp (294.2 KB)
sphere2.skp (291.8 KB)
free. I’d just use Place Shapes Tool bar, but the sides are too few for my needs (spheres are too angular).

Well, you are running into the tiny faces thing. SketchUp won’t create very tiny faces. Either reduce the number of sides on your circles or work at a much larger size. 180 is kind of ridiculous for no larger than your circles are. The Dave Method can be useful for this, too.

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Dave, thanks for the quick response. I really appreciate the explanation. (Give a person a fish, the eat for a day … teach them to fish …)

One file I’m using 180 (sphere.skp), the other 75 (sphere2.skp).

I reduced sides to 50 and got the wholes at top and bottom small enough they will not show in the object I’m building. Still, it’s kinda rough.

I’m not really following the component process in your gif, but I’ll take a look and see if I can figure it out.

Thanks again.


I would suggest some multiple of 12. It’s divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6.

whatever you do when you edit a component gets done to any other instances of the component in the model. I’m just leveraging that with the “Dave Method”.

How are you planning to use this tiny sphere once you’ve modeled it?

They’re heads on a 1" scale model.

Would it work better if I built these in full size and then scaled them down in my scene?

(Had posted an image, but decided I needed to delete it due to client confidentiality.)

If you use the Dave Method you don’t have to scale down. How are you actually going to use the model?

Probably at 1 in. diameter there’s no need for a max of 48 sides.

Have a look at this from Aaron - I did and can make a sphere in about 9 seconds!

OK … now I understand the relationship of the components. I got a couple of ok spheres. Now I’m getting these donuts, and I don’t know what I’ve done differently.

Thanks. I did watch this … it’s one of the several I watched before I posted.

Wrong order? Select path, then shape to follow path perhaps.

The biggest problem I’m having is taking steps that seem to be right, but not getting the right results.

For the donut, for instance:

  1. Created a circle
  2. Copied it using copy from the center point on the red axis
  3. Used 24 sides, just to keep risk of DaveR’s “faces thing”
  4. I used DaveR’s component process, and enlarged a copy
  5. Selected the path
  6. Selected the follow me tool and taped the other circle
  7. And boom! Donut.

What diameter are you trying to create?

13/32" … odd size because it needs to be a 10" diameter in a 1" scale model

OK … I just got a good sphere.

  1. Created a circle 5’ radius with 60 sides
  2. Copied it on center with the rotate tool
  3. Selected the path
  4. Tapped the sphere with the follow me tool
  5. Voila! … had to do some cleanup with softening, but it’s good.

But if I created the second circle with the copy tool, rotate it, select the path and then the sphere, I get the donut. So I can use DaveR’s method. But this doesn’t seem to be a problem for others.

I’m no expert and having followed Aaron’s method I get reasonable results.
There is an issue with using very small dimensions in SU as apparently it’s designed for architectural stuff

. When you try to make a sphere that small it doesn’t complete. However if you make it 10 or 100 times the size and scale down by the appropriate factor it works.

The proof it works.

Thanks, Guido. I’ve come to the conclusion I’ll need to do it in large scale and then size it down. Getting the size on sphere is challenging. For now, I’ll be content with close and plan some refinements on a future iteration.

If you use the method I showed, you don’t have to “size it down”.

He said he couldn’t get your way to work - that’s why I offered the alternative. Yours works fine for me too!

I tried your approach. In fact it worked for me once, but now I get donuts when I don’t have the two circles intersecting. I’ve got a couple posts above with more detail.

That has nothing to do with the method I show. It has to do with what you are selecting as the path and what you are selecting for the profile.