Where should I be building my components?

I’ve been using Sketchup for long enough to build things fairly efficiently, but I’m wondering if there’s a feature for component building that I’m missing. Specifically:

I’m restoring an old Victorian (our house) and am building components to match existing features on the house. I’m building doors, windows, etc. from scratch. I’m even modeling old lumber that doesn’t meet today’s nominal dimensions, so I can’t use Warehouse for this stuff.
To build a component, I typically scroll away from the house, build stuff in an empty part of the drawing space, and then move them onto the house. It works fine, but after a while, the drawing space gets cluttered with components (that I’ll need somewhere else eventually). It gets harder to build components with the clutter as time goes by. Is there some kind of separate workspace I can set up apart from where the house is? I guess it would be like a “workshop” area for building components (just like I do when I actually build stuff). I’m imagining a separate workspace “underneath” the primary one, that I can toggle back and forth to/from. Is there such a feature in Sketchup?

You can have a second instance of sketchup running and build them there and copy across.

But, once you have created a component it is stored in the model and is accessible via the component browser, so you can delete the origin and still drag a new one in to use. These can also be stored in a local collection for use later in other models.

Seems like running a second copy of Sketchup would be pretty resource intensive … I’ve created numerous components, and I found “Components” in the Default Tray on RHS of screen, but none of the ones I’ve created are visible; I guess I’ll fiddle around with it for a while until I see them, I’m sure they’re somewhere. Thanks!

Click the little house icon to show ‘In Model’ components.

One of the beauties of sketchup not being multi-threaded is that a second instance runs on a separate thread which doesn’t steal resources from the first one. I often have multiple instances running, this allows me to let one crunch numbers doing some intensive extension work while continuing to work on others. Also if one crashes the others are generally undisturbed.

You may find it worth creating the component ‘in place’, with the rest of the model faded but not hidden. That way, you can reference off things like walls, door and window openings that you’ve already drawn. And be sure that it will fit the drawn opening!

Or do that just to get the overall dimensions registered, then make a copy and work on it in a separate model, use Save As… a component, then bring it in to the main model when you are ready for the full detail.

Depending on how powerful your computer is, you may find as the model grows, that it slows down if you do it this way. Use tags/layers to make invisible all but the essential parts you are working on, draw in a Scene with Monochrome style, profile edges off, no endpoints or jitter, simple line styles and other processor hogging styles off too.

And (you probably do this already) remember to purge from time to time to stop file bloat.

You could also use simple proxies for elements like detailed models of panel doors, structural details of window frames, and so on, using simple boxes as proxies, and only replace them by fully detailed versions later, drawn from either saved components in file system folders, or a local Component Collection (DaveR has lots of good advice elsewhere on the forum for creating and managing those).

This may be preaching to the already converted - if so, my apologies.

Technically, every group/component you ever create in SketchUp behaves like a discrete file, i.e. a “separate workspace,” in every respect save for how they are drawn onto your display within an open model.

To control the latter facet, simply create as many tags/layers as you require for “source” materials. If your source instances are all on tag “a”, hide a when things are getting cluttered / your GPU is getting taxed and start putting new source instances on tag “b”. Repeat ad infinitum. Different instances of a component -your original source and your in-place instances - can be on different tags, so it’s easy to hide and unhide just the source instance(s).

Two things occur.

Firstly, how you go about making and, especially, storing components may depend on whether they are just for the current drawing or if you want to use them in other drawings. If you know you will use them again, you may find it easiest to start a new drawing for a component, making sure it is fully purged and “efficient” before filing in an appropriate folder. Then drag it into your working file. No point in doing all that if you are unlikely to need the file in a general library.

I used to do exactly as you do, except that I didn’t leave the original component floating around. I dragged it to where I wanted it and knew that I could always get copies from my In Model Component Browser. However, we now have an even better way because you can start a Group or Component by invoking the command before you draw anything. That means you can draw it in situ without worrying that it will stick to unwanted geometry. No need any longer to do it off to one side.