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Creating Arrays in SketchUp

Ryan Gorman

As a CAD user for over a decade before I began using SketchUP one thing I noticed right away was that SketchUp was “missing” many commands and tools that I rely on heavily when using AutoCAD. For a while I assumed this was a limitation of the software and that I would need to look for a plugin to accomplish those tasks. As my knowledge and understanding of SketchUp grew I realized that SketchUp ‘Thinks’ differently than most CAD programs and many of the tools I thought were missing were actually there all along.

One of those “missing” commands is Array. For longer than I’d like to admit I just assumed SketchUp did not have an array command, and I was happy to just copy (another command that can appear to be missing when you first open SketchUp) over and over and over.

One day I watched a colleague create 25 trees in just a few clicks. I of course asked him how he was able to do that. His reply, “I just arrayed it.” I told him that I’ve never found an array command in SketchUp. So he showed me how he was able to create an array, and explained that while I was correct that there is no Array toolbar or button within SketchUp it is possible to create an array using the method outlined below.

1. Let’s start by drawing a simple 2d rectangle:

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

2. Next lets switch to a top view

3. Double click on the rectangle (this selects the surface and all bounding edges/lines. A single click will select the surface only)

4. Now we will select the Move tool:

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

5. Move the rectangle slightly to the right (press Ctrl to toggle copy on and off while in the move command)

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

6. After placing the second copy type: ‘ x5 ‘ (notice you now have 6 copies, typing x5 added 5 more copies after placing the original. They will all be placed the same distance apart that was specified/chosen for the first copy)

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

7. Let’s follow the same procedure for all 6 rectangles

  • Select all six rectangles
  • Select the Move tool
  • Move and place (left-click) the rectangles up slightly
  • Now Type: x5

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

8. Your screen should look something like this:

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

9. Now let’s try a Polar Array. Start by drawing a 3’ diameter circle:

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

10. Pick an endpoint on the circle you just created and draw an 8” diameter circle. It should look something like this:

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

11. Double-click on the half circle outside the larger circle, then choose the rotate tool:

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

12. Choose the center of the larger circle, press Ctrl to copy

13. Place new half circle 30 degrees

14. Type: X12

Creating Arrays in SketchUp

ryangorman.carbonmade.com

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