The EAATC Fire Station 3D Modeling Process Illustrated

Part I



St. Paul Former Station 14 (b) Modeling Illustrated

In late January, 2013 we began development of our 35th Fire Station model, that of the StPFD Former Station 14 (b). That stations location is at #91 N. Snelling Ave, in St. Paul, Minnesota. The building (although altered) is exists.

That station was this authors 'home' station when I was a much younger man. After 34 other fire station models I thought it might be interesting to some to explain our process used to produce these models.

You can model this very same station, and follow along with the examples, or, model your own house, or other building of your choice. If you follow along and build this station with me, I'd be very interested to view your results.

We are going to model ONLY the outside of the building. Doing a full inside/out structure requires a much more significant level of complexity when dealing with 3D drawing.

If you have questions or comments about this explanation go to our USER FORUMS and leave your questions.



This section takes our model from...

A totally blank page...   A dimensioned model building with two 8-sided roofed hose towers, with 8 louvered 'windows' and a chimney

Model along with me, and then model your own home station and submit it to the Trimble 3D Warehouse

1. Determine location and dimensions of your model

2. Drawing the 'basic' model shape

3. Lets make our flat rectangle into our 3D building

4. Determine the apparatus doors and hose tower locations

5. Modify the Hose Tower Roof

6. Tower Roof via Extrusion (Follow Me) example - short

7. Create and add the north side chimney

8. Create a Louvered 'window' component for the Hose Tower

9. Place the Louvered Windows on the Hose Tower

10. Create and place the second shorter Hose Tower

1. Determine location and dimensions of your model for Google Earth

3D models produced with the Trimble SketchUp program are intended to shown on the Goggle Earth program through the use of the .kmz produced at the conclusion of the modeling process.

So this assumes that you have installed copies of the Goggle Earth and the Trimble SketchUp programs. If not you need to do so.

TASK: Locate 'your' building (your house, or business, or other favorite) building in Google Earth. We are searching for a former fire station. The address of the station (which still exists) is #91 N. Snelling Ave, St. Paul, MN.

CLICK any image to obtain a full sized copy...

TH-not-found Entering our address and searching results in locating our desired fire station and GE puts an indicating placemark at the location as shown.
Move the fire station in the GE window so we can use GE's RULER tool (the small vertical ruler) so can measure and record the building dimensions.

TH-not-found Measuring the buildings length yields approx. 105 feet.

TH-not-found Measuring the buildings width yields approx. 40 feet.

TH-not-found I used Notepad to record the dims for later use.

You might want to mark your location with a Placemark in GE because you may be often returning to obtain more details.

We can now switch to SketchUp (SU) to begin the modeling process.

TH-not-found We receive a blank page in SU. But notice and pay attention to the RED (the 'X'), the GREEN (the 'Y'), and the BLUE (the 'Z') axis indicators. They will help you in the drawing and placing of many things in SU.
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2. Drawing the 'basic' model shape

TASK: Draw the basic building per the dimensions discovered from using the measurements ruler in GE.

We are viewing an 'empty' SU drawing screen. Lets start by drawing a basic RECTANGLE, sized to the dimensions we have.

TH-not-found In SU you can draw on any of the 3 planes possible. Lets make sure in this case we are on the 'flat' horizontal (ground) plane. Begin by choosing the Rectangle Tool (the square shaped icon) on the toolbar. Start by clicking on the ORIGIN, the place where the red, green, and blue axis meet. Then DRAG out a rectangle similar the photo. Don't worry about the size or dimensions yet, we will deal with the exact size next.

TH-not-found As you drag out the rectangle observe the DIMENSIONS box in the lower right-hand corner as it shows the dimensions of the object your drawing. The dimensions change as you draw. At the end of your rectangle drawing WITHOUT clicking anywhere else you can TYPE IN you desired dimensions in the 'dims' box.
TH-not-found We want a 40 foot by 105 foot building. So, enter 40', 105' into the dims box. You don't need to move your mouse into the dims box... it is always alive... just type. Hit ENTER (or RETURN) and you will get a perfect 40' X 105' rectangle

As you perform ANY task in SU, if you make any mistakes you can select EDIT/UNDO (or hit ctrl-z) and 'back-up' step-by-step to undo your mistakes. REMEMBER THIS!

WATCH this short (very good) video on YouTube about using the rectangle. Remember you can CLICK the 'square' icon in lower-right-hand corner get FULL SCREEN. Hit ESC to return back to normal size.

But what do I do if I have no dimensions for my building?

Well we here are fortunate in that we have copies of all the old Sanborn Fire Insurance maps that include our old stations even back to the late 1800's

TH-not-found Here the 1927 map shows our Station 14 drawn to scale. If you were to view the entire map you would find the scale legend and then you could determine the dimensions.

If you are modeling a residential building, such as my former house in St. Paul like this...
TH-not-found Remember the 'top-down' view in GE shows the roof. Notice the EAVES (about 24" in my case) must be subtracted from the dims you might get from GE to get actual building dims. Here's a link to this model on the Tribmle 3D Warehouse

If the building you wish to model does not appear in the satellite images on GE, you may try to find the buildings former location and then estimate the buildings size.

The dimensions of the building you wish to model are BASIC to the beginning of the process. In th worst case...GUESS... but try to be intelligent about it.
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3. Lets make our flat rectangle into our 3D building

TASK: Lets learn to use the PUSH-PULL Tool to turn our flat rectangle into something resembling a building.

TH-not-found I used the push-pull tool (the box with an up-arrow icon) to 'grab' the surface of our rectangle an 'pull' it up to a dimension of 30 feet. Why 30? Because the Sanborn Map for the station tells us the building height was 30 feet. Is that correct? Maybe... but it's pretty close.

Push-Pull tool usage is basic to the operations of SU. You SHOULD watch this video explaining it's usage.

And learning hoe move around by panning, orbiting, and zooming is also basic to the operations of SU. You SHOULD watch this video explaining pan-zoom-orbit.

TH-not-found It is now time to SAVE our file! Here's how I saved mine. The important part of saving the file is to provide for versions of the same file. I used a filename of  "St_Paul_Former_Stn_14b_v01.skp" with the 'v01' part being the version indicator. You should save your file OFTEN.
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4. Determine the apparatus doors and hose tower locations

Task: Determine the size and locations of the apparatus doors and the hose tower

You will soon discover that your accuracy and believability of your model depends largely on your power of observation. There is no substitute for good photographs of the original building.

TH-not-found Observe this photo of the Eng. 20's 1916 Seagrave in front of our Station 14. Eng. 20? Yes, this station was built as Station 20 in 1910, and was not RENUMBERED until 1922 as Station 14.

And observe there only 2 apparatus doors in this photo! The current Station 14 did not receive 3 apparatus doors until the mid-1950's when Squad 2 relocated here from it's former location at Station 18.

Anything else? Yes. Notice the Ladder Truck numbering. Ladder 10... not 14, as it was whrn trucks were renumbered in 1982.

So, your decision is to either model as the station appeared when it ended service as an active station, or, model it as it appeared when it was BUILT.

My choice has been for all our models to model as the station was built.

So, it will have two doors, and the engraved labels will read Eng 20, and Ladder 10.

TH-not-found First for some clarity I added the overall building dimensions (they will be removed later).

In attempt to locate the app doors a good look at the app photo (above) shows the outside building edge to the app door outside to be about 5 feet. And the center window section to be about twice that.

This results in two 10 foot wide app doors, which is reasonable. I added dims for these also. Will these be final? Possibly. I also added a line across the building at 15 feet in a attempt to determine the 'second' floor height.

TH-not-found Observing (again) a close-up of a 'Street View' image of the SE corner of the building shows some steps, three of them. At a step riser of 8 inches each yields a height difference of 24 inches.

TH-not-found That indicates the app door bottoms are two feet ABOVE the overall building height. So I changed their positions. I also estimated a app door height of 12 feet. The also moved the estimated position of the second floor to 17 feet, resulting in a second floor height of 13 feet.

I re-dimed the model to these dims.

TH-not-found Looking at a satellite image of the north side of the station clearly indicate that the hose tower and the chimney placements 'divide' the building into thirds. Or 105/3 = 35 feet. That's easy. But you will often finding yourself wishing to easily divide some edge or another into different equal segments.

Rather than drawing three 35 foot lines along the bottom edge, and then extending these positions up the building, I simply DIVIDED the edge into 3 equal segments. How? Read the next.

View this short video about the DIVIDE tool. You will use this tool often during modeling, it is well worth your time to learn its use.

TH-not-found I've now gone back into Google Earth in order to determine a width dim of the hose tower. I got about 8 feet.

Also a careful viewing of the 'StreetView' images of the building clearly show the everthing on the north side of the station are also at the same 2 foot elevation as the bottom of the apparatus doors. See the north side view above.

So I have drawn a horizontal plane at the two foot level extending the length of the building. This plane represents the parking lot on the north side. It may or may not remain in the final version of the model.

TH-not-found So that means that one way to create the hose tower is to draw an eight sided polygon 35' from the building front, and then 'pull' it up to the desired height. Like this.

But lets sat I need a 10 sided, or 12, or 16 sided polygon. How? Read next.

View this short video about the CIRCLE tool. You will use this tool often during modeling, it is well worth your time to learn its use.

TH-not-found Now I've grabbed my 8 sided polygon and with the push-pull tool I've pulled it up to become the hose tower. But, hmmmm, this not what I want. The reason I got only HALF the polygon is because it's split into two halves by the north wall of the station.

There are several ways I could 'fix' this. But first remember the EDIT/UNDO. I hit this as many times as I needed until it returned me to where I was back to where I was.

Notice again the north side satellite image. Look carefully and you'll see ANOTHER (but shorter) similar hose tower next to the east side of the chimney.

This is perfect opportunity to take advantage of SU's COMPONENTS. What's a Component? See the next video.

View this short video about the COMPONENTS. They are used often during modeling, it is well worth your time to learn its use.

TH-not-found Components are instances of 'objects' (things) we will build and use in our model. Building components WITHIN you main model is a DANGEROUS thing to do for the more novice modelers. I have built a temporary building (colored yellow) a distance away from my model that I will use as my construction place for components. This temp building will be deleted in the final model.

Why is building components IN your main model dangerous? If you are new to 3D modeling you will often FORGET that your selection (the 'picking') of things in your model well SELECT thing not only on the surface you working on, but ALSO on surfaces BEHIND the current one because your working in an X-Y-Z world not just an X-Y.

It's the Z that will 'get you' very often.

It still happens to me, and I'd consider myself as experienced. So why the temporary building? Because it doesn't have anything drawn on any surface other than the one your working with. Nothing to disturb accidentally.

It you don't pay attention to this, you will find sides of your model 'disturbed' when you never 'touched' them, or at least you THOUGHT you didn't, but the 3D effect will get you EVERY TIME!

This can cost HOURS of uneeded reworking of your model. Your warned! Another very valid reason to SAVE OFTEN and created a versioned set of model files as you build.

TH-not-found On the top of our temp building I first draw a 4 foot radius (8' overall) circle then enter 8s for eight sides.

Then I 'pulled' it up to several feet high.

TH-not-found Then I selected all parts of my component by dragging over it with my mouse. Then I switched to X-ray view (View/Face Style/X-ray) and look carefully to ensure I did not select anything I did not intend to.

Then Right-click (or Edit/Make Component). Then in the Make Component dialog box enter a name that makes sense. I used "Hose Tower StPFD Stn 14b" for mine. I picked Glue To: Horizontal, because I'm going to 'stick-it' on a horizontal surface.

TH-not-found Now clicking the Window/Components menu you get the Components Selector window. Finding the hose tower I just created, I click it and DRAG a copy out onto the horizontal surface that represents the north side parking lot.

TH-not-found Now with the component still selected, I use the MOVE tool (4-sided arrow) and place it on the mid-point edge of the component

TH-not-found Then DRAGGING it along the line extending from my desired 'end-point' I move it into the correct position.

TH-not-found We'd like to now drag our component up to the roof level. in order to that we must EDIT the component by either RIGHT clicking and then choose Edit Component, or, by DOUBLE CLICKING the object. You'll know your in component edit when the rest of the model turns greenish and you get semi-transparent box around the the component.

Remember when you edit a component this way you alter ALL instances of the component in your model... 1 or a 1000 of them!

TH-not-found Push-pull the top surface up to the roof level by hovering your mouse at the roof level, as shown.

TH-not-found Momentarily click away, and pull the top surface up to level estimated to look like station photos. I chose 8 feet. We can change it later if needed.

TH-not-found Again observation of the model photos shows the hose tower roof has EAVES. We are going to use the OFFSET TOOL to offset the top surface by 8 inches to create the bottom of the eave.

View this short video about the OFFSET TOOL. They are used often during modeling, it is well worth your time to learn its use.

TH-not-found Now I extruded 8 inch eave surface up by 8 inches.

TH-not-found And there is a small surface to which the 'roof tiles' attatch. So I extrude another 8 inch surface, and pulled that surface up 2 tnches.

TH-not-found First I clicked on the depressed surface of the 8 foot tower, and it will show a dotted blue 'selection' indicating surface. Then I hit my delete key to remove it. We will not need it, and it just increases the eventual file size.

Then I drew a line across new top surface. The whole surface then fills in. Then another at 90 degrees to make an 'X', which will give us a CENTER POINT.

Then from the center point draw a line in the 'up' or BLUE axis direction 8 feet, for the height of the roof. The line you'll draw turns blue making sure your VERTICAL.

TH-not-found Then draw lines from the TOP of the roof height line we just drew, to each of the 8 corners, and we will begin to create roof sections...

TH-not-found Until we have a full 8-sided roof.

TH-not-found Click AWAY from the object to stop editing it. The bounding edit box will disappear.

Then SINGLE click on the hose tower again and the object will be re-selected and show a blue bounding box around it.

Notice that where the sides of the hose tower 'touch' the main station bulding there are NO CONNECTING lines. This will eventually severly affect the final 'painting' of your model.

TH-not-found Right click the hose tower object (while its selected) and choose INTERSECT FACES/WITH MODEL.

TH-not-found Now look how the faces 'intersect' with each other

View this short video about the INTERSECTING WITH MODEL. It is used during modeling, it is well worth your time to learn its use.

TH-not-found Remember that editing one component affects all others of the same component. Zooming out our view of the entire model shows this clearly. Everything we did to our hose tower affected another instance we happened to leave on our 'construction' building.

Are our Hose TOWERS finished? Not quite.

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5. Modify the Hose Tower Roof

Task: Modify the roof of the hose tower to be more accurate.

This section takes many small steps to accomplish an accurate looking roof. Eight sides, and eighth 'steps' up require steps, accurate STEPS. It takes MUCH longer to explain the process, than it actually takes to perform them once you understand the process.


TH-not-found A good look at the hose tower roof indicates it has eight stepped sets of tiles, and a PARTIAL ball at the top.

TH-not-found And this top-down view from GE shows that the roof tiles are SET BACK from the eave edge a distance.

TH-not-found Lets begin by dragging another copy of the hose tower onto the 'temp' building roof.

TH-not-found Edit the hose tower component.

TH-not-found Select the upper portion pf the roof by dragging over it.

TH-not-found Delete what ever is left over the get back the hose tower itself only.

TH-not-found I had to select the one edge of the former eave.

TH-not-found Draw a line across the now open top of the tower to 'close' it.

TH-not-found Again editing one component instance edits them all.

Lets start a new roof. Click away from the tower component to finish editing it.

TH-not-found On the top of 'temp' bldg draw an 8 foot diam eight sided circle. Then OFFSET that circle by 8 inches OUTSIDE. Pull the offset 8 inch area UP 8 inches. Now you have the eave again. OFFSET the eave edge by 8 inches outside, the pull that up by 8 inches.

Draw a line across the eave assmbly to close its top. DELETE that line. A full top should remain.

Draw a line in the BLUE direction 6 feet from the center of the circle. This is the NEW roof height (it used to be 8' which was too high).

Next draw a small 4 inch 8-sided circle from the center point. This where we are going to place the 'ball' on top. Pay attention to the pic.

Finally OFFSET the top of this eave assembly IN by 2 inches hich will be our tile offset from the roof edge.

TH-not-found Now create 4 inch high by unknown dimension rectange fron the outer edge of the small circle in the center to the corner of the 2 inch offset, as shown.

Then DIVIDE the top line into eight equal segemnts.

TH-not-found Divide the small created rectangle in HALF horizontally.

Then carefully delete ALL the bottom half segments as shown. Resulting in a 'fence' with 8 legs.

TH-not-found Now using each leg as firm location point OFFSET the inner circle into equal segments, as illustrated.

TH-not-found DIVIDE the center roof height line into 8 equal parts.

TH-not-found Draw a small 4 inch diameter 8-sided circle at the TOP of the roof height line. Pull it up an inch.

TH-not-found Using the endpoints of the center divided line as reference points. pull each divided segment into a 'wedding cake' looking structure.

TH-not-found Like this...

This could also be done by careful double clicking of the 'wedding cake' layers. Do what ever works best for you.

TH-not-found Now create a 1 inch offset from the inside edge of each 'wedding cake' layer. You'll need to enter numbers into the MEASUREMENTS box to accomplish this.

TH-not-found Now DELETE the outside CORNER of a wedding cake layer.

Then CAREFULLLY draw a line FROM each inside corner the layer above, down to the former corner of the deleted cake layer, AS SHOWN. This creates new angled roof layers.

TH-not-found Until the first layer on the bottom looks like this.

TH-not-found Continue the process layer-by-layer, remembering to delete each layer corner, then connect the inside corner of each 1 inch extension we created to the corresponding layer below's corresponding outside corner of each extension. As shown.

TH-not-found Until the whole 'cake' looks like this.

You MAY get some of the faces you create to look blue'ish. That means they are 'reversed' front-for-back. You can 'fix' this by 'selecting' the blue'ish face, and RIGHT clicking, and then selecting 'Reverse Faces'.

Now we need to create the 'partial' ball for the top of the roof. We are going to use a new tool, the FOLLOW ME tool. Watch the following video, it will make the step to make the ball mych easier to undersdtand.

View this short video about the FOLLOW ME tool. It is used during modeling, it is well worth your time to learn its use.

TH-not-found Remember we drew a small 4 inch 8-sided circle on top of the roof. This is where the ball goes.

Pick a 'clean' surface to create a new component on the top of the temp building. First draw a 4 inch (2" radius) 8-sided circle. Then 'pull' that circle up by 1/8" (.125). The draw another circle using an outside corner of the 1/8" circle as a 'stop' point. Change the number of 'circle' sides to 36 by entering 36s into the measurements box to ensure you get a smooth circle.

Like THIS...

TH-not-found Now begin deleting each of 8 sides of the top of our 8-sided circle so we are ldt with only our smooth 36-sided circle.

TH-not-found Next create a vertical surface we can use to create a 'profile' shape for our ball.

TH-not-found Using your ARC tool followed by the eraser create a shape similar to this. This the shape we will now extrude.

TH-not-found Once you've got your shape profile created SINGLE click the circle face on the bottom. It will change to a dotted blue patten.

Then choose the FOLLOW ME tool from the Tools menu and place the cursor over your profile shape. Your profile will show as selected and the bottom circle will become un-selected.

TH-not-found Click once. And your profile shape will extrude into a shape similar to this. A ball with a flat bottom sitting on a short 8-sided polygon. Neat.

TH-not-found Select all of the new 'ball' and its base, right click, and Make Component. Name it, a choose Glue To: Horizontal, and Replace Selection with Component. Your 'Ball' component gets created.

TH-not-found Pan over above your roof component and drag a copy of the Ball component off the Components Window and place it on top of the roof. You may need to zoom-in to place it accurately.

TH-not-found Now select all of the Roof component and the Ball component and RIGHT click and Make Component. Your now creating an ASSEMBLY of both parts into a single components. They will act as one, but will still contain both parts. Make sure to choose Glue To: Horizontal.

TH-not-found Now PAN over to the now empty Hose Tower and 'drag' copy of your new 'Roof & Ball' assembly off of the Components Window onto the top of the Hose Tower. Be careful to place it accurately. It is quite possible that we have 'lost' the bottom of our eave. Look at the photo.

No problem, we'll fix it next.

TH-not-found We need to edit the rooftop component of our roof & ball assembly. Remember you double-clicked a component to edit it. You still need to double-click, but TWICE... once to open the ASSEMBLY, and again to open the rooftop component.

Then just draw a line across the base to create a new face.

TH-not-found And then your Hose Tower should look like this.

It's ok, but the tower is two feet too tall. So, move the roof & ball assembly away for a moment, and the push the top of the DOWN by 2 feet. Then move the rooftop back into position.

TH-not-found And it should look like this... That's BETTER.

TH-not-found Now on the 'temp' building top drag a component of the Hose Tower onto the top surface. Then drag a component of the Rooftop onto it. Now you've got a two-piece Hose Tower. Select them both! Then Make Component and make as ASSEMBLY the two parts.

TH-not-found Now DELETE the Hose Tower and the Roof Assy from the Main Station building. Then REPLACE them with the Newly created Hose Tower ASSEMBLY.

View this short video about moving components.

Whewwww... That seemed like a lot of work. True, but the making of things into components is well worth our while, and in the long run is a great timesaver. Stay with this entire process and you'll see for yourself.

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6. Tower Roof via Extrusion (Follow Me) example - short

Task: Demonstrate how the tower roof component COULD have been created via the extrusion method

TH-not-found Before we do ANYTHING further SAVE the model file version your working on. And then SAVE AS... a new version of the model file.

You might ask yourself if we could create a partial ball for the roof, couldn't we create the WHOLE roof that way?

The answer is YES.

TH-not-found After recreating another eave section, I created a profile of the whole roof and ball top, to demonstrate there are always OTHER ways to acomplish the same objective.

TH-not-found Select the whole surface of the inner 8-sided polygon on the bottom. Then choose the Follow Me tool and hold over the profile. And click...

TH-not-found And there is the WHOLE roof and ball!

However the process of creating the roof was a very worthwhile learning process.

I'll stay with our first version of the roof. This was just for an example.

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7. Create and add the north side chimney

Task: Determine size of, create, and add the stations North side chimney.

Using GE I detetmined the size of the chimney to be approximately 8 feet wide by 3 feet deep. The 3 foot depth is divided by the stations north side.

TH-not-found I then drew an 8 foot by 1.5 foot rectangle on the base of what will be the chimney. I added some dims for you reference.

TH-not-found Pull the 1.5 foot deep rectangle up to the roof level.

TH-not-found Add lines to make the 1.5 foot rectangle into a 3 foot one. Delete any lines you need to get a clean rectangle.

TH-not-found Now pull the 3 foot rectangle up to the level of the eaves of the tower. Pay attention to SU's built in 'inferencing' to use other building parts as distance reference points.

TH-not-found Divide the chimney top in half, and then pull the half closest to the hose tower up to 14 feet, as shown.

TH-not-found OFFSET the top of the chimney 4 inches.

TH-not-found PULL the new offset UP by 8 inches.

TH-not-found OFFSET the interior of the chimney 4 inches.

TH-not-found Erase the now unneeded extra lines that will result from push-pulling and offsetting.

TH-not-found Draw these sets of lines ALL around the chimney. Are 4 inches apart, and the two sections are 12 inches apart.

ATTENTION: Pay heed to the automatic red and green color the lines will take on as they MATCH the main SU axes. In 3D just because something looks parallel to each other it may not be MATHEMATICALLY true. Use the red/green/blue indicators!

TH-not-found Now PULL each of the newly created areas by 4 inches... Like this.

TH-not-found Observe the EXTRA lines created at most new corners wghen you push-pull things.

If you don't remove them, near the end of a buildings construction when you 'paint' (color) everything, these lines will cause you many many MANY extra mouse clicks the fill in each unneeded surface area.

TH-not-found Pan and tilt and ERASE the unneeded lines. You'll need to do it NOW or LATER. Its easier NOW.

TH-not-found And now it looks like this.

TH-not-found Go to the top of the tower and draw two crossing lines to determine the center point.

BE CAREFUL and pan or tilt to ensure you PICK each inside corner to draw from accurately.

TH-not-found Draw one 12 inch circle. Then another 11 inches. ERASE any lines left over from the crossing lines that determined the center point.

TH-not-found PULL the circle up to the level of the chimney top.

TH-not-found Now pull the tube up another 12 inches. And now you've created the inner flue liner of the chimney. Do you like rectangular flue liners better? Make whatever you desire.

TH-not-found And now we have our chimney. How does it look?

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8. Repeat of question X text goes here

Task: Create a louvered window component for the Hose Tower

TH-not-found Let's look at the Hose Tower again. Two things...

1. There is a extension in the bricks (similar to what we just drew around the chimney) about 1 foot below the eaves.

2. There are louvered windows (with round tops) all around the tower.

For the brick extensions we could edit the hose tower and draw lines all around, and then 'pull' them out, BUT...

TH-not-found We would get THIS as a result...

Thats normal because push-pull only works in straight lines. We could fix each corner which would a lot of additional work.

Lets do it a different (and easier) way.

TH-not-found First for this part I selected View/Component Edit/Hide Rest of Model.

There are some cases where getting everything else out of the way makes it easier to work.

TH-not-found This gives just the tower portion of the Hose Tower alone when we edit it.

TH-not-found The brick extension on the hose tower is 1 foot below the eave level and is 4 inches thick. Thats a total of 16 inches.

Push the tower top DOWN by those 16 inches.

TH-not-found OFFSET the top by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Then PULL the offset UP by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Then PULL the tower back up by 16 inches. Back to where we started.

TH-not-found But now look at our nice corners.

Sometimes you can use this technique. When you can't you'll need to fix the corners yourself.

TH-not-found Click away from the Hose Tower to stop editing it.

And remember the extension we added affects ALL instances of our Tower.

Next we'll create the louvered window components. I determined through some experimentation that an overall size for the window should be about 2'4" high and 1'6" , excluding the rounded top and the extension at the base. We will create our component as usual on our 'temp' building.

TH-not-found I have drawn a 2'4" X 1'6" rectangle on the SIDE of our 'temp' building, because on vertical surfaces is where our 'window' will be placed.

TH-not-found I've erased the dimensions, and have created a half-circle with the ARC tool (it will indicate an exact half-circle) for the windows rounded top.

TH-not-found Next I pushed IN the bottom section 6 inches.

TH-not-found Next I pushed IN the bottom section 6 inches.

TH-not-found Then I ERASED the inner bottom surface.

TH-not-found Then I DIVIDED the inner edge into six equal segments.

TH-not-found Drawing a line horizontal from the bottom of the first divided segment to the outer edge.

Then two diagonal lines representing a 3/4" louver peice.

TH-not-found I PULLED the louver segment OUT by 3/4".

Then wanting to make that louver segment into a component I tried to select it, but I got additional parts selected too, that I didn't desire.

TH-not-found Then VIEW/FACE STYLE/X-RAY look what is BEHIND my selection!!

Remember our discussion about affecting things BEHIND what your doing and not realizing it. It is quite possible that I ALSO selected something in the model behind without knowing it.

If I ERASED anything I could find parts of the main model erased when I finally got around to investigating.

You'll have the same issue. BE WARNED!

TH-not-found So staying in X-ray view I panned a bit so NOTHING is behind what I'm working on.

I tried re-selecting JUST what I wanted, but still got some additional selections. Sometimes it's unavoidable.

TH-not-found Carefully using the POINTING ARROW and hitting the SHIFT key (notice the +/- next to th arrow) I clicked each part I did NOT want selected to TOGGLE the selection. You need to hit the SHIFT KEY each time you wish to TOGGLE a selection, or you will unselect the WHOLE thing.

TH-not-found Now having ONLY the parts I want selected I created a LOUVER COMPONENT.

TH-not-found I dragged a copy of my louver component onto my window in progress. But look at it's positioning. It's rotated by 90 degrees. Now what?

TH-not-found First I ROTATED it in the GREEN axis by 90 degrees.

TH-not-found Then in the BLUE axis by 270 degrees.

TH-not-found There, it's now in the correct orientation!

Get used to ROTATING, you will do it OFTEN.

But it's not in the right place.

TH-not-found Now using the MOVE tool, move the louver segment into it's correct position. The top of one even with the bottom of the previous.

TH-not-found Now click EDIT/COPY.

Then EDIT/PASTE, and fill in the side with louver components,

TH-not-found Remembering to turn OFF VIEW/COMPONENT EDIT/HIDE REST OF MODEL double click any louver component to edit it. Then begin dragging it over to the other side of the window.

You will see them ALL get pulled. Why? Right, edit one member of a component set and they ALL change.

TH-not-found Drag until you're aligned with the right side of the window.

TH-not-found Now select and make our louvered window into a component.

TH-not-found Next at the bottom of our louvered window draw a 'window width' by 10 inches rectangle.

TH-not-found Now move the main louvered window out of the way. PULL the rectangle we just created OUT by 4 inches.

Then make the extended rectangle into a component.

TH-not-found Move the louvered window back together with the new bottom extension.

Then select the whole thing and create a new Louvered Window with Bottom Extension ASSEMBLY.

WATCH this video on YouTube about about MOVING and ROTATING

WATCH this video on YouTube about about SELECTING things.

WATCH this video on YouTube about about making MULTIPLE COPIES.

So, could I have used the MOVE/COPY to place my individual louver segments? Sure you can.

The only reason I didn't demonstrate that method is the CTRL key on my laptop is screwed up and I couldn't do it. It's a pain!

TH-not-found And finally lets just test our Louver Window object by dragging a new copy onto the 'wall' of our temp bldg to ensure it 'works' correctly.

Yup, seems to be fine and working.

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9. Place the Louvered Windows on the Hose Tower

Task: Place 8 copies of the Louvered Window ASSY component onto the proper positions on the Hose Tower

TH-not-found So we are starting here, Hose Tower(s) with NO windows.

The first task is to determine where they should be placed. Sure you could just drag them off the Components Window and put them anyplace, but we need to be more accurate than that!

TH-not-found First open the Hose Tower ASSY for EDIT. Then open the Hose Tower object for EDIT.

TH-not-found Turn on VIEW/HIDDEN GEOMETRY so you get an indication of the edges.

Next draw a line from the inside corner of the brick extension above the station north wall, DOWN to the intersection shown.

That new line will give a MIDPOINT we can use to navigate position.

TH-not-found Then draw a horizontal line perpendicular (90 degrees) on the surface we're working on. BE CAREFUL you need to see SU's PINK inferencing line (not the RED axis line) indicting your on the surface you intend.

TH-not-found Now drag off a copy of our Louvered Window ASSY and drop it ABOUT in the middle of our surface.

We'll precisely position it next.

TH-not-found Pan and orbit until you can clearly see the left side of our window. Now using the MOVE tool (4-pointed arrow) carefully find the MIDPOINT IN COMPONENT on the left edge. You'll get a tooltip indication when you've found it.

TH-not-found Now drag the window components edge until you're exactly over the MIDPOINT of the line we drew. The tooltip will change when you're over it.

Now we have the components left-center over the center point of the line. We're halfway there.

TH-not-found This is tricky pay attention.

Find the midpoint of the horizontal line we drew. From that midpoint draw a line UP until your EVEN with bottom-right-hand corner of the window. You can hover over the corner then slowly move you line to the right until your line is perfectly VERTICAL, which means the line turns BLUE.

Study the photo!

TH-not-found Now grab MIDPOINT IN COMPONENT along the bottom edge of our window, and then DRAG it over to the ENDPOINT of the line we just drew.

Now we're centered in both directions.

TH-not-found Draw lines all around the tower indicating this bottom center position. Pay attention to the pink line color, and the lines ability to SNAP to the correct location.

TH-not-found Until you have what looks like this.

TH-not-found Now on each and every side drag another copy of our window component and carefully place it and it should snap to the center position. If it doesn't snap to center, MOVE the 'midpoint in component' on the windows bottom edge over the midpoint of each line.

TH-not-found Ah, but look carefully some of the windows appear to be not properly 'inset'. No problem. We need to erase all of the horizontal alignment lines we drew anyway. When we do that all the windows should show correctly.

TH-not-found Now as expected we have 8 windows all around each and EVERY Hose Tower we might have.

If we had 10 towers and we didn't edit correctly we would have to place 80 (yes 80) windows instead of just the 8 we just did.

We will discover even more important work savers related to components later.

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10. Create and place the second shorter Hose Tower

TASK: Create, locate and place the second shorter Hose Tower.

TH-not-found Let's SAVE out model project to another version. Safety is to create BACKUPS!

TH-not-found Looking again at the North side satellite view of the fire station. Notice just next to the base of the chimney there is another shorter Hose Tower. The exact placement of this hose tower is not totally clear.

TH-not-found I've used some estimation here. Judging from the photo the shorter portion of the second tower is about 12 feet high. I've decided to START by placing it 10 feet from the chimney, and 5 feet out from the building side.

I've added dims to show this for clarity.

TH-not-found The shorter tower has all the 'windows' that the tall tower does. I when I added them to the model I added them to the hose tower component itself because I realized I would need them again.

From the Components Window drag another copy of the Hose Tower component (NOT the ASSY!) off onto the temp building top. Place it down partially off the top (so we can easily push-pull) surface.

TH-not-found With our new copy of the tower still selected, open the WINDOW/ENTITY INFO menu. The window shows us the 'Definition Name' of "Hose Tower StPFD Stn 14b".

And it tells us there are two of these components in the model. Remember, if I edit THIS tower to make it shorter, it will ALSO change the OTHER tower. That's NOT what we want!

TH-not-found Any time you have more than one copy of a component on a model if you RIGHT CLICK it you will find a MAKE UNIQUE option.

Click it to make this copy of the component UNIQUE. Meaning it will from then on act ALONE.

TH-not-found Open the WINDOW/ENTITY INFO window again. Look at the 'Definition Name' and observe it's now CHANGED. The name now has a '#1' added to it. The system did that.

It could be any change as long as the name is now different. You can also rename it here if you desire.

TH-not-found EDIT the new tower component.

We desire this tower to become 12 feet (from the eave level) high. Draw a line from the top of the tower down 12 feet.

TH-not-found Pan, tilt and zoom until you can view the bottom of the tower. It should be open. We can't push an open surface. Draw a line across the open bottom from ANY point on any side to any other point on any side. The bottom will now close, by creating a surface.

Now erase the line you just drew. Your new surface should remain.

TH-not-found Now PUSH up the bottom until it's at the ENDPOINT of the 12 foot line we drew previously.

TH-not-found Single click away to close the component editing.

Reselect the tower component. MOVE it too the top surface of the temp building. You can't? Me neither!

While trying to MOVE this component it's STUCK to the horizontal layer of the new bottom of the tower we just created. RIGHT click the tower, and choose UNGLUE.

TH-not-found Ah, that's better. Now I can move it where I want.

Remember UNGLUE, it will come in handy often when you have difficulty moving things were you want.

TH-not-found Drop a copy of the hose tower ROOF onto our new tower.

TH-not-found MOVE it to position it properly.

TH-not-found Using the select arrow, select both new parts. Right click and Make Component.

Give your ASSY a unique name. I added SHORT to it.

TH-not-found Panning back to the main building. drop a copy of the new short tower into a position indicated in the photo.

It's not the final position, but it's close.

TH-not-found First, it needs to be rotated a bit in the BLUE axis. Choose the ROTATE tool, and then carefully move your mouse until you have the blue protractor showing at the 'rotation point'. Then select click on edge you wish to rotate. The rotate until your over the dim line I drew, or enter 22.5, you don't need any degree indication because your using the rotate tool and SU's smart enough to know.

TH-not-found I'd like the tower corner indicted in the drawing to be against the building. So, I drew a line the the RED axis from that point to the building.

Why? Because it's a lot easier to move along a line because the component will snap to it as you move. And, accuracy is important.

TH-not-found Now MOVE it so that edge is against the building.

TH-not-found Panning over to the 'chimney side' of the new tower, I'd like to move that rear corner of the tower over NEAR the chimney edge.

So I drew a line in the GREEN axis bringing those two points 'together' with this 'desired travel path' line.

TH-not-found Now MOVE it over.

TH-not-found Clicking away to 'close' the component, and zooming out, then comparing our version to the satellite photo, I'd say that positioning is not bad.

Yes, some of the new towers roof is now 'inside' the building. We may have to deal with that later. Much later!

TH-not-found And we are done with our second Tower.

And we are done with THIS SECTION of our explanation.

Proceed to PART II.

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This example of the use of Trimble SketchUp were created by:
D. B. Freedman, EAATC Webmaster
Copyright © 1996-2017 The Extra Alarm Association
of The Twin Cities, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Last Modified 2017-Dec-18 09:41:23
Edited and maintained by D.B. Freedman

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