How Do You Make a Beam in Sketchup?

Creating a beam in Sketchup is a straightforward process that can add depth and realism to your 3D models. In this tutorial, we will take you through the steps of making a beam in Sketchup using several useful tools and techniques.

Step 1: Creating a Rectangle

To start, select the Rectangle tool from the toolbar or use the shortcut ‘R’ on your keyboard. Click once to set the starting point and then click again to set the endpoint of your rectangle. You can also enter specific dimensions for your rectangle by typing them into the Measurements box that appears at the bottom-right corner of the Sketchup window.

Step 2: Extruding the Rectangle

With your rectangle selected, navigate to the Tools menu and choose ‘Push/Pull’ or simply press ‘P’ on your keyboard. Click on one face of your rectangle and move your mouse to extrude it vertically. You can either enter a specific height in the Measurements box or click on another surface to create an extrusion with that depth.

Step 3: Adding Depth with Follow Me

If you want to create a beam with more complex cross-sections, you can use the Follow Me tool in Sketchup. Start by drawing a profile of your desired cross-section using lines or arcs.

Pro Tip: You can use guidelines (shortcut: ‘G’) to help you draw accurate profiles.

Select all the edges that make up your profile by triple-clicking or using the Select tool (‘Spacebar’). Then, select the Follow Me tool from either the toolbar or by pressing ‘F’. Click on one edge of your rectangle (or any face) and watch as Sketchup magically extrudes your profile along a path defined by that edge.

Step 4: Applying Materials

To add realism to your beam, you can apply materials to its faces. Select the Paint Bucket tool (‘B’) from the toolbar and choose a material from either Sketchup’s default library or import your own custom textures.

Pro Tip: You can apply different materials to different faces by selecting them individually with the Select tool (‘Spacebar’) before using the Paint Bucket tool.

Click on a face of your beam to apply the selected material. Repeat this process for each face of your beam that you want to texture.

Step 5: Grouping and Organization

Once you are satisfied with your beam, it is a good practice to group it. This helps keep your model organized and prevents accidental modifications.

To create a group, select all the geometry that makes up your beam using the Select tool (‘Spacebar’). Right-click on the selection and choose ‘Make Group’ from the context menu.

In Conclusion

Creating a beam in Sketchup is as simple as drawing and extruding a rectangle or using more advanced tools like Follow Me for complex cross-sections. Applying materials and grouping your geometry adds realism and organization to your models. With these techniques in hand, you can bring life to architectural designs, furniture models, or any other project that requires beams in Sketchup.

  • Step 1: Create a rectangle using the Rectangle tool (‘R’).
  • Step 2: Extrude the rectangle vertically using Push/Pull (‘P’).
  • Step 3: Use Follow Me to create more complex cross-sections.
  • Step 4: Apply materials to the beam using the Paint Bucket tool (‘B’).
  • Step 5: Group the geometry to keep your model organized.