Making Walls and Floors

.. a sweet little home ..

One who wants to start making a 3d model of a house using SketchUp often feels discouraged when she/he realizes that there is no special tool to make wall. Everything must be made from scratch. Knowing that there are so many walls to build make some people get the idea that SketchUp is probably not the right tool to create 3D models of a house. This following tutorial will show you how easy it is to make wall and floor.

These are the steps I normally do to make walls and floors in Google SketchUp:

  1. Draw all room boundaries based on a floor plan so that each room is represented by one (or more) rectangle(s).
  2. Transform each rectangle into a 3 dimensional block by pulling its face to a height that consists of the wall height and the floor raise.
  3. Draw outlines on top of each block separating the floor line and half of the wall thickness.
  4. Push the inner section of each floor outline according to wall height. The outer section will be the wall.
  5. Remove any excess line on top of the wall and fix some of the walls to have the same thickness.
Create a Local Component Collection

As previously discussed in Freebies: Quickies Anyone? , we are going to use a dynamic component to help us draw a floor plan. As suggested in the posting, all the Quicky components are to be saved in Quickies sub folder. Since we are going use the folder quite frequently, we need to set the folder as Favorites. Therefore, we don’t always have to find the physical folder every time we want to use one of the Quickies.

To add sub folder Quickies as Favorites, select menu Window -> Component to open the Components window. From there, click on the Details Detail button and select “Open or create local collection component” and find Quickies sub folder in your local hard disk. Favorites Once the folder is opened, click once again at the Detail and select “Add to Favorites”. From now on, Quickies folder will appear in one the favorites and can be accessed without having to open the physical folder.

Creating a new SketchUp file
Tip & Trick
SketchUp puts all the elements of a model (material, components) in one single file with SKP file extension.
SketchUp by default will also create a backup file with SKB extension. To open this backup file you need to rename its extension back to SKP.

Whenever SketchUp application is opened, it will automatically open a new empty file Untitled.skp. Environment setting of the new file will be based on the default template you previously selected. To intentionally create new file, select menu File -> New.

Creating a floor Plan

We can draw a complete floor plan using LineToolLinetool or Rectangle ToolRect tool. In fact, theoretically, you can draw anything in SketchUp using only the line tool. However, lines (or entities) stick to other lines when connected. So, moving one entity might move or alter the another line. This will mess the floor plan. Not a good way to start modeling. For that reason, in this tutorial I will use Quicky-Rectangle components to make room boundaries.

BathDetilEach room will be represented by a Quicky-Rectangle. Rooms that are not completely rectangle will be made from several rectangles. Excess lines can be removed later. We will edit the rooms to their actual shapes prior to making walls.

Notice that in the following example, the floor plan consists of five rectangles within one big rectangle that represents the boundary of the entire land. To draw the floor plan in SketchUp, we will put a Quicky-Rectangle with the size of the land lot, then add five more Quicky rectangles, each sized to the exact dimension of each room. Once the floor plan is completed, these components will exploded to convert them to lines and faces

 Creating the Floor Plan

Making Walls and Floors

Tip & Trick
Push/Pull ToolToolLine
Most 3D shapes in SketchUp are created and edited using Push/Pull tool. Any flat face can be pulled and pushed to make or to change its 3d shapes in the direction perpendicular to the face. For a 2d shape, a new face identical to the selected face will be added and its outline will make the 3d object thickness

Since floor shapes exactly like wall (minus wall thickness), we will create both wall and floor within a single procedure. In general, the easies way to tinker with SketchUp objects is in its 3-D form. Therefore, once the two dimensional floor plan is completed, we will convert each rectangle into 3 dimensional block simply by puling its face to a height.

Push/pull technique is a patented technology owned by SketchUp. With this technique (re)shaping objects is almost like dealing with real physical objects than can be pulled and pushed, but without physical barriers. Application of push/pull techniques is done using Push/PullToolPushtool included in the Edit Toolbar.

All wall have the same height, which is 285 cm above floor surface. And all floor is raised by 50 cm from road level. For this purpose we will change each room 2d shape into its 3d shape by selecting its face and pulling it by 335 cm using the Push/Pull tool.

 Making 3d shape of rooms with the right height 

Now you have your first 3-D model, as easy as "pull it here and put it there".

Preparing Outlines for Wall Thickness

Tip & Trick
Room dimensions and wall thickness
Room Dimensional is always measured from the midpoint of each wall. With 15 cm thick wall, a 3m wide room will have a net width of 285 cm.
(excluding the wall).
Room that sided with land boundary, will be measured from its outer side of the wall. Therefore, the same 3m wide room will have a 277.5cm net width if one of its is on the land boundary.

The 3-d shapes we created has formed room height and boundaries. Of course the real boundary should be walls with some thickness. The next procedure is to create inner outline that reflect thickness of the wall.

In this design, all walls are 15 cm thick. Convention used for room dimension that it is measured from the middle of each wall as shown in the Tip & Trick. Therefore we need to create floor outlines at exactly 7.5 cm away from each room boundary. Wall side that is not adjacent to another room will only have half of the required thickness, we will fix this later.

PushToolFloor outlines are drawn using the Offset ToolSelecttool in the Edit toolbar. Using this tool, we will create another polygon within on top of each room with the same contour and at a certain distance from the parent edges to represent half of the wall thickness. Some room boundaries will two set of this wall lines while other will only have one.

 Creating floor and wall outlines

Notice in the above animation that walls that are not adjacent to another room has only 7.5 cm thick. We'll fix this later.

Creating Wall and Floor

Tip & Trick
Undo the last 100 operations.
Do not worry of mishap. Because you can always undo everything as far with Undo (Ctrl-Z). The number of possible sequential Undo commands is limited to 100 steps or to the last time you saved your model (which ever is later)

If you have already guessed that the next step is pushing the inner area of each room to make floor and the wall height then you are 100% correct.

If you also have predicted that the tool to use is the Push/PullToolPushtool then it's time for you to replace me writing this tutorial. To create the floor, we'll push inner part of each room top face 285 cm deep.

 Create Rooms' Wall and Floor

Correcting Wall thickness

Tip & Trick
OrbitOrbiting your model without pressing a tool button
Orbit Tool is used to rotate the camera (your view) about the model. Using orbit tool, the object will stay at its position but you view it from different angle. This tool can be activated at any time without using the tool button by pressing middle mouse button while moving your mouse to a desired position. When the button is released, you will return to the previous command without any interception whatsoever

The above animation indicates that some walls are only half thick. Once again we will use the Push/PullToolPushtool to pull some faces by 7.5 cm and repeat the operation by double-clicking on all faces that require thickening.

For walls that are bordering with land boundary, the 7.5 cm pull will be done inward toward the room. Others will done outward. Therefore all walls will have 15 cm thickness.

View of some wall faces are blocked by other wall. You need to move your camera (your view that is} using OrbitToolSelecttool and continue double clicking until all wall have the required thickness.

 Fixing All Wall to Required Thickness

Saving Your SketchUp File to Local Disk

To ensure that your modeling work is not lost, save your work by clicking SaveToolSelect tool.

Select previously created "Sketch" sub folder and set filename into "House Project I" and press enter. By default, SketchUp automatically creates a backup file (.skb). But it's good practice if you often press the save tool for save keeping

We have Accomplished ....

No T o p i c s
1 Creating a folder that contains SketchUp components to always appear as one of Favorites / in the Components window.
Starting SketchUp from scratch by creating a new SketchUp (.skp) file.
3 Using and entering parameters of Quicky-Rectangle component to make floor plans in a quick, flexible and accurate manner.
4 Adding Guides (construction lines) using Tape Measure tool to accurate put an object at its.
Moving object to its designated position using the Move Tool
Removing redundant lines using the Erase tool
Exploding components/groups to their basic elements using Context-Menu -> Explode
8 Using Push/Pull tool to transform a 2-dimensional object into 3-dimensional.
9 Entering objects’ parameters using the keyboard to create objects with accurate dimensions (Measurement Box)
10 Redoing the same operation to another object using mouse Double Click.
11 Using Offset tool to create copies of edges with a uniform distance from all sides of the original.
12 Using Push/Pull tool to add volume to or subtract volume by moving the face an object.
13 Using Orbit tool to change the camera position/ view without pressing the designated tool.
Canceling operation by pressing Undo (menu Edit -> Undo, or [Ctrl-Z]).
15 Storing / Naming the model using the Save Tool

Teras Congratulations, now you have accurately created a 3-dimensional model of a house. I will soon post the next chapter: Adding doors.