Using line tool or rectangle tool to create surfaces to push/pull

Hi Sketchuppers,

I’m pretty new to the software and trying to figure out when or if it’s better to get in the habit of using rectangle or line tools to create rectangular surfaces to push/pull.

I’m specifically thinking of creating dados inside a bookcase to receive shelves.

I did it recently by drawing three enclosed lines on the long face of the side panel component and pushing the resulting surface to the back rear edge and it worked fine. Is it “better” and quicker to just draw a rectangle on side face and push this through?

I guess the same question could apply to creating a doorway opening in walls with thickness. Doesn’t drawing a square create an extra “overlapping” line so to speak on the larger outer rectangle? I learned through tutorials early on that drawing lines on top on lines a no-no and create extraneous geometry?

It’s a newbie question, but I’d like to get it straight, as I’d like to try some more 3D printing in future and want to avoid creating non-solid entities.

I can probably post an example file if my explanation is not clear enough.


The answer goes “it depends…”. I think best for you would be to go through some of the free courses on using SketchUp available at and also videos at the SketchUp YouTube channel.


As @Anssi said, it depends. Sometimes the Line tool is a good choice, sometimes the rectangle tool. Sometimes I find it easiest to copy existing edges or use Offset, especially if I want to do something like put rabbets on all four edges of a panel.And sometimes the easiest thing to do is model the object that will fit into the dado or rabbet and use it to cut said dado or rabbet. Actually that’s most often my go to method because I don’t have to layout the joint at all that way. Also tenons cut mortises, tails cut pins, biscuits cut biscuit slots, etc.

Thanks Anssi, I have been through the fundamentals course there and the practice module, but may return to them.

Thanks, Dave. I have also begun experimenting with this method of joining the two solids together with the trim tool, though I often seem to get confused with what object to select first, when to engage the command, etc. the same thing happens with follow me. Also when I need to be in “edit component” mode for using these tools. I think just need more repetition with it and to watch some more videos.

Do you tend to use extensions instead of the native solid tools? I think I saw a video saying it’s good practice to make extra unique copies of components you intend to manipulate with the solid tools. I experienced some freezing last night in the web version trying to use an ogee “cookie-cutter” solid trying to cut out some cabinet legs using the trim tool.

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For the native Trim tool recite the mantra, “Use this to Trim that.” My preference is to use either Eneroth Solid Tools or BoolTools 2 to do this trimming instead of the native tools because the extensions respect components. The native Solid Tools don’t.

Select the path, get Follow Me, click on the profile.

For the Solid Tools the components must not be in edit model. If your path and profile for Follow Me are inside a component then you need to have the component open for editing.

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Wow, that was fast! You read my mind. I’m sure I’m not the first to ask these questions. Starting to feel like I’m going to need to open up my wallet soon for Pro and some extensions!:wink: I’m glad that SU has at least maintained a software ecosystem that allows for 3rd-party extensions.

Editing this later, but when you say the native solid tools don’t “respect” components what does that mean exactly?

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To me it means that when you use native solid tools, the component being cut turns from a component to a group (difference). Then, you have to make it into a component again and tag it again. So there’s some extra steps.

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Royce got here first with the answer to that. The native Solid Tools convert the modified object to a group called ‘Difference’. In the process of doing that they leave all other instances of the component untouched. The extensions I referred to do not convert components to groups and when modifying one instance, it modifies all other instances of the component in the model in the same way as opening an instace of the component to make an edit would…


Demo using BoolTools 2.

The mantra is reversed with this one. “Trim this with that.”



Oh wow, those BoolTools looks very powerful and potentially and big time saver. That may be one of the first extensions I buy in the future as it is a one-time purchase.

I think I will believe it when I see it if it really does reduce the need for scaling work arounds for 3D printing. Will definitely start with a free trial.

It seems like if you used everything Mindsight is offering, it would level up SU into a completely different program.

What do you mean about reducing “the need for scaling work arounds”? The BoolTools 2 extension won’t have any impact on the need for scaling if you are modeling for 3D printing.

If you do as I described in another thread and just set the model units to meters and model as millimeters, there’s no need to do any scaling at all.

Oh, I’m just speaking to mindsight’s claims on their website I thought you might be aware of, where they say: “Designed with 3D Printing in mind to work with small complex objects (no more scaling workarounds!)”
I think they also give you (?) what I’d call a flattering shoutout here:

I hope I’m not starting a beef :joy:! I don’t plan on deviating from your suggestions anytime soon…I don’t even have pro yet. I just like reading up on this stuff and it’s how I learn.

Ah, I see. Yes. BoolTools 2 can temporarily scale objects to avoid creating the tiny face issue but there are plenty of other operations you might need to do that will not miss the tiny face thing. I just find it more sensible to model large.

Nah. You’re not.

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What they have said there is actually wrong, The Dave Method avoids the use of scaling up and back down.

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Thank you for the link to that, I’d never read that post and it was useful. I’m primarily referring to how Dave has explained to me to work scaled up if you’re planning on exporting to .stl for 3D printing (for example in meters as supposed to millimeters) then scaling down in the slicer before sending gcode to printer.

You shouldn’t have to scale down in the slicer. It should just be the right size in the slicer. Just made this a few minutes ago.

I didn’t do any scaling anywhere. I just opened the .stl file in the slicer and it was the right size.

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FWIW, I use the so called “Dave Method” if I need to model something that is fairly detailed and have to show it in real world dimensions. These were done that way. They aren’t for 3D printing but instead were shown in shop drawings. No need for modeling for 3D printing, though.


I think of The Dave Method as something to use when you are modelling something smallish within the context of a larger model. Some fine details on a door knob within a house model.

And The Dave Method² as something specific for .stl files and 3d printing. Where you are generally working on single objects (or just a few) and the size is consistent within the model space.


Wow, what gorgeous work, Dave. You’re an artist with the software…I like how you got the subtle droop of the chain in that vise rendering, and detail of floating ones in color are superb.

Regarding the slicer, I may be doing something wrong, and I’ve only done one 3D print from SU so far. This was using the stock slicer that came with my FlashForge Adventurer 3M (Flashprint) but I know it’s not great. I need to start using and learning the ins and outs of Orcaslicer as it is known as the best one for the printer.