How Do You Make Moving Parts in SketchUp?

Are you looking to add some dynamic elements to your SketchUp models? Moving parts can bring your designs to life and make them more interactive. In this tutorial, we will explore how you can create moving parts in SketchUp using various techniques and tools.

Creating Components

In SketchUp, components are reusable objects that can be manipulated independently from one another. To create a moving part, you first need to create components for the different parts of your design.

To create a component, follow these steps:

  1. Select the geometry: Use the selection tool to select the geometry that you want to turn into a component.
  2. Right-click: Right-click on the selected geometry to open the context menu.
  3. Create Component: From the context menu, select “Make Component”.
  4. Name your component: Enter a name for your component in the dialog box that appears. You can also choose options like cutting opening or replacing selected geometry with the component.
  5. Create: Click on “Create” to create the component.

You can repeat these steps for each part of your design that you want to turn into a moving part. Once you have created all the necessary components, you can proceed with adding movement to them.

Making Components Move

Sometimes, simple transformations like scaling or rotating may be enough to create movement in your components. However, if you want more control over how your components move, you can use SketchUp’s Dynamic Components feature.

To make a component dynamic, follow these steps:

  1. Edit Component Attributes: Right-click on the component and select “Dynamic Components” > “Component Attributes” to open the Component Attributes dialog box.
  2. Add Parameters: In the Component Attributes dialog box, click on the “+” button to add parameters. Parameters define the properties that can be changed to control the movement of your component.
  3. Set Values: For each parameter, set a minimum value, maximum value, and default value.

    These values represent the range of motion for your component.

  4. Add Formulas: To create complex movements, you can add formulas that link different parameters together. For example, you can create a formula that makes one parameter depend on another parameter’s value.
  5. Create Options: If you want to provide different movement options for your component, you can create options that change multiple parameters at once. This allows users to switch between different movement modes.

Animating Components

If you want to animate your components and create more dynamic movements, SketchUp provides plugins like SketchyPhysics and FredoAnimator that allow you to add physics-based animations or keyframe animations respectively.

To animate your components using plugins:

  1. Install Plugin: Download and install the desired animation plugin from SketchUp’s Extension Warehouse or from other trusted sources.
  2. Create Animation: Once installed, follow the instructions provided by the plugin’s documentation to create animations for your components. Each plugin may have its own set of tools and workflows for creating animations.
  3. Preview and Adjust: After creating an animation, preview it in SketchUp’s animation timeline or using any other controls provided by the plugin. Make adjustments as needed to achieve the desired movement.
  4. Export and Share: Once you are satisfied with your animated components, you can export your model as a video file or use SketchUp’s presentation mode to showcase your design with the moving parts.


Adding moving parts to your SketchUp models can greatly enhance their visual appeal and interactivity. By creating components, making them dynamic, and animating them using plugins, you can bring your designs to life.

Experiment with different techniques and tools to create unique movements that suit your design concepts. Happy modeling!