Universal tools & antimagnetic spiral stair case

So I never used groups, but today I thought I’d try. I was making a deck, and I realized I needed to raise the whole deck. “Ah! Groups!” I thought. “I’ll make it into a group” But that was not easy as it kept sticking to things. I dove into it - I erased some of it and made 3 groups, and redrew what I had to erase to make the groups. I made the back of the building one group, the deck and it’s support posts another and the staircase another. My idea was that I could slide the deck or the stair case up and down etc. to visualize different options. It worked, BUT>>>

I like to draw some stuff and use the dimension tool to keep track of the sizes of things. Surprise, surprise. The dimension tool won’t span across groups. Really? I would think there would be an option for that.

Next dilemma. I drew a spiral staircase, made it a group. I thought - I’ll slide the stair case out, and slide the spiral in it’s place. No such luck. After 15 minutes of trying to grab a corner and drag it in place on the deck group, first from one view then another, and it successively ending up further away, I deleted it. I really don’t understand why the stair case easily slid in place but the spiral was impossible to place.


Here’s two groups with dimension that dynamically update as you move them.

It would help if you added your model so that we might be able to show you how to use groups.

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You have not filled in your profile so we don’t know which version of Sketchup you are using nor on what platform. Both are important if you want effective help.

If you have been using SU for a while and have only just got around to using Groups, then (with respect) you have not really learned to use SU effectively. Together with other basic advice (like having all raw geometry on Layer 0), using grouping regularly is super important. So much so that there is a strong argument that no drawing should have any “loose” geometry and that everything should be in one Group/Component or another.

The problem you describe is hard to fathom without either seeing the file or some kind of screen capture. We would just be guessing. However, what can be said for sure is that what you are trying to do is pretty standard.

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By design, edges and faces in SketchUp stick to and intersect each other unless they are in different “contexts”, i.e. groups or components. As you found, once they have become entangled it can be tedious to untangle them. That’s why the best workflow is as soon as you draw geometry that represents a distinct object (even just the first edges), immediately make it into a component or group. Open that group or component for edit to add the rest of the object’s details. Never leave edges and faces “loose” in the model as they will eventually interact with something new you are drawing and will cause issues.

If a group or component-instance is created so that part of it is touching another face [outside of the group etc] it will ‘glue’ to it.
So if that face is flat [like a floor] then the group can only be moved in the plane of the face/floor, if that face is vertical [like a wall] then the movement is constrained on the face/wall.
This can be useful for some kinds of elements, like doors and windows, since it simplifies their placement…
However, it’s easy to change this behavior.
Select the glued group/compo and right-click > context-menu > Unglue
You can now Move the group/compo freely in 3d-space…

Pro 18 on win 10 on a dell xps I tried to fill out the profile once and had problems logging on and gave up.

I can say this about groups - having to turn the group on to work on it, then off, and turn on another group, back and forth seems slower, though the advantage of the group not sticking is a plus.

I see the example, but my dimensions just wouldn’t stick. Who know what I did wrong.

I never knew there was an unglue thingie. G

Well you see you still haven’t said which variety of Sketchup and that can be crucial. Advice which would be appropriate for Pro won’t necessarily be for entry level versions.

Opening a group/component is a question of double clicking. In my case, I have mapped a mouse button for that so it’s actually a single click for me. Coming back out, you just have to click outside the group/component “enclosure”. You get used to it pretty quickly if you’re doing it all the time as experienced Sketchuppers are.

I fail to understand your statement: " Well you see you still haven’t said which variety of Sketchup and that can be crucial"

I said I have pro 2018 on a dell XPS. Is there another pro version of sketchup that was released in 2018? I thought there was only 2 - one for mac, and one for pc’s, and obviously I have the pc version, unless Dell makes a mac computer.

I do hope I get used to the switching back and forth.


Pro 18 is very clear isn’t it?

It is. My bad. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

No worries, i make mistakes too! :smile:

OK, so to make amends for my egregious error and for @gerretw’s benefit, here’s how to fill in a profile properly:

Ok - I did my profile. Hope it helps G