i’m struggling with ‘assembling’ drawings- since every drawing element is automatically connected to everything it touches, it can no longer be manipulated after wards.

for instance, i want to create a rectangular bump out in the middle of a larger rectangle, so i make the large rectangle and then in order to position a smaller rectangle, i make the small rectangle separately, because it can’t touch the larger rectangle otherwise the large rectangle gets screwed up when i move the small rectangle.

but the kicker is that i have to make a group out of the small rectangle so that i can position it in the large rectangle. THEN i have to explode the group so i can make the bump out with the push tool.

this can’t be the easiest way to accomplish this task.

thanks in advance for any help


When creating the additional parts of an object, try to place them in their final location or at least close. This can be on an existing face of the semi-completed object. For example, you can hover the cursor over an existing face to see the tool-tip “On face” (or similar), then create a circle of rectangle on that face. If you double-click within the interior of the new sub-face, the Move tool will let you slide the sub-face around on the main face. You can use the Shift modifier or the arrow keys to constrain the movement. When the sub-face is where you want, then use Push-Pull to extrude it. (You can move the extruded portion after doing the Push-Pull, in case you need to modify it further; just be sure to select all of the bumped-out geometry prior to executing the Move tool.)


You don’t have to explode groups to change the geometry within. You can go into edit mode of a group by double clicking it. You are now working on the geometry contained within that group (if that is the current context.) To close the edit mode just left click into empty model space.

The reason you would sometimes explode a group is to release its geometry to merge with other geometry, more advanced stuff really.

By the sounds of this topic and the others you have created it might help to take a little step back and take a look at some basic tutorials to help you grasp a few concepts.

Here are the 4 basic getting started videos


Thanks IanT.

I guess I’d like to take a boot camp, but it’s not very realistic at this time.

I’ve operated 2D autocad quite a bit, so I find slogging through the intro tutorials a bit difficult- I’m struggling with some of the idiosyncrasies.

To your answer, though- it seems that grouping, positioning, and then exploding is an effective way to do this- I explode, because I do want to merge the rectangles so that I can push the small one and create an extrusion of the larger rectangle.

Pictures would be better than words here, but does it sound like a reasonable way to do it?


Here is a screen grab.

To get this, i made a group out of the rectangle which allowed me to escape stickiness so i could drop it onto the larger object and then position it, although there might be a way to do this with fewer steps.

Once positioned, I exploded it so I could push it.

Thanks you VERY much for your time- I really appreciate the attention.



Sorry, I think I’m forcing this into a beginners tutorial- I don’t know how to position the cursor relative to a point.

In autocad I can right click and select ‘from’…


Do you know about “Paste in Place”? It would allow you to do your push without exploding:

  1. Keep the first rectangle in a group as you are doing - and position the 2nd rectangle.
  2. Once you are satisfied with the position of the 2nd rectangle, select it and copy it.
  3. Now, instead of exploding the first rectangle, double click it to open the group for editing.
  4. Now’s the time for “Paste in Place”! Use that and a copy of your rectangle will appear - positioned correctly - within the unexploded group.
  5. Now do your push.

Paste in Place can be found in the “Edit” menu for SketchUp Make and Pro. I’ve also assigned it a shortcut: <ctrl><shift>-V (or this might just be a default shortcut - I forget!)


great instruction- thanks very much sjdorst!


More often than not you want geometry in groups to prevent merging. Double clicking into a group allows editing.

In the second example you can see the issues that can happen if parts are not grouped (contained)


Build the first logical part of your model and make it a Component.
Build the next logical part of your model and make it a Component.
And so on until the model is complete.

A properly built model is an assembly of Components, with no raw geometry left in the model space.