When you need to create complex geometry in SketchUp, it is often better to break an item into positive (solid) parts and negative (void) parts that you can then subtract from each other with SketchUp’s Pro’s Solid Tools. In this example, I am showing this process for a cast steel structural connector, but the principle applies to many other shapes as well.

Because this process uses solid geometry from beginning to end, the result is also a solid and therefore easily 3D printable.

Tutorial Video


Some of the tools I used here are:

  • SketchUp’s built-in tools:
    • Solid Tools (specifically the Subtract tool)
    • Parallel-projection camera view
    • Hide / show
  • FredoCorner Extension – One of Fredo6’s excellent extensions that allows you to round corners

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