Techniques for Modeling a Winding Staircase

In the attached file you can see that I’m trying to model a winding staircase. In the left hand model you can see that I’ve been able to create it, but I want the steps to be open beneath; so the technique doesn’t really work. I haven’t been able to find a way to create a cut line that allows me to remove the lower portions that I don’t want.

My second idea was to create individual steps, copy them, then past them individually each to the next; but this doesn’t create the winding correctly. In experimenting, I drew vertical lines at each of the arc divisions created for each step. I don’t know if it’s possible (or if I just don’t know how) to replicate along an arc path; so I had to draw each vertical place holder line. Is there a way to do this?

In the same vein I thought that it must be possible to somehow replicate the steps with each rising by the amount of rise of the previous step; however, I don’t know how to do this. I watched YouTube video demonstrating this (Not Justin’s!) but the content creator went so fast I couldn’t figure out what he was doing.

If anyone can point me to tutorials or videos that answer the questions above, I shall be very grateful.
Winding Staircase 13 4.skp (334.9 KB)

Winding Staircase 13 5.skp (1.1 MB)
found a few examples in the 3d warehouse that might help you.

Basics of SketchUp at

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In it’s most basic form a staricase like this is just a stack of wedges that have been rotated around a circle by one wedge each.
So Start with a circle that has a suitable number of segments for the number of stairs you want. For example a 180 deg sweep of 20 stairs would need a circle of 40 segments.

Make a tread from one wedge.
Stack it up by using move copy.
Rotate them into place using the rotate tool.
Since they are components anything you do to one will be done to the rest.

In this vid I have just done 6 of a 24 segment circle, you could now select all six and rotate copy and lift etc to very quickly make as many as you want.
The main trick it to utilize the segmented nature of sketchup geometry and start with a circle of the right number of segments.

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I’ll throw this in to explain what I mean by anything you do to one step will be repeated.


I like to create a dynamic component to do this kind of stairs, it’s a bit more advanced technique but only by scaling the entire stairs will be done.