The EAATC Fire Station 3D Modeling Process Illustrated

Part II



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 dimensioned model building with two 8-sided roofed hose towers, with 8 louvered 'windows' and a chimney   A model with a complete fire escape, and a sloped, peaked parapeted roof. A Watch Office having a profiled roof soffit. And a set of entrance steps.




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

11.Construct the South side Watch Office

12. Create the south side utility chimney using GUIDES

13. Create south side entrance staircase and handrail

14. Construct roof parapets and sloped roof

15. On the FLAT sections create roof parapet extension covers

16. Create the two peaks on the roof parapets

17. Construct remaining roof paparpet extension covers

18. Create soffit border around Watch Office using component

19. Layout and create a pseudo fire escape

20. Construct and place the Fire Escape (in six parts)

      20a. Create the two fire escape landings

      20b. Create upper/lower stringers and steps

      20c. Assemble stringers and steps into staircases.

      20e. Create the Fire Escape hand rails.

      20d. 'Mesh' the landings and insert vertical handrail posts

      20e. Create the Fire Escape hand rails.

      20f. 'Mesh' landings, assemble sections, place completed Fire Escape in model.

11.Construct the South side Watch Office

TASK: Construct the Watch Office on the stations South side

TH-not-found Observing a satelitte image of the stations South side we can see the 'Watch Office' there

TH-not-found I had previously retained in my dimensions file the dimensions of the 'WO'.

TH-not-found The north edge is 10 feer from the front of the station.

I've drawn a line 10 feet long and added dims for reference.

TH-not-found The first floor level of the 'WO' is 21' by 8'. I've drawn a rectangle and dim'd it for reference.

TH-not-found PULL the whole rectangle up to the level of the top of the apparatus doors on the front of the station.

TH-not-found The two story level of the office is 13'. So I drew two lines each one 6.5' (13/2) from the center. And dim's for ref.

TH-not-found Now PULL tjis center section up to the roof level.

TH-not-found We need a small roof at each corner of the office.

I drew a line 3' up from the inner corner, and then another to the outside corner to form what will be the roof's ridge.

TH-not-found I then selected the flat surface below. We won't need it. So I deleted it.

TH-not-found A couple of lines and this closes in the new roof.

TH-not-found Repeat those steps and construct a roof over the offices other corner.

TH-not-found Now clean up. Remove the dim's, AND the line on top that separates the roof of the office from the main roof.

And we are done with the watch office... well kinda.

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12. Create the south side utility chimney using GUIDES

TASK: Construct the south side utility chimney by using another layout method... GUIDES

WATCH this video on YouTube about using Guides, another layout method we have not used yet.

Remember you can CLICK the 'square' icon in lower-right-hand corner get FULL SCREEN. Hit ESC to return back to normal size.

Referring again to the satellite image of the station we see also on the south station side a 'chimney' looking object. It appears to be a utility 'chimney' used for enclosing drain pipes or electrical works.

So far I have been drawing physical lines to make measurements. There is another way, called GUIDES you can use. I'll use them to layout this utility chimney.

TH-not-found The edge of this utility chimney appears to line up with the rear edge of the north side chimney. So, lets start by drawing a guideline from it across the rooftop to mark a location as a start point.

Start by choosing the TAPE MEASURE tool and begin drawing the line.

TH-not-found After completing the drawing of this guide on the red axis you will produce a dashed guideline. Pan and orbit around a bit so you get used to them.

TH-not-found Continue drawing a guide DOWN from the intersection of the previous guide and the roof edge (shown by the small 'x' intersection mark) on the BLUE axis to the lower edge of the station side.

TH-not-found And now you've got a guideline that indicates where the west edge of what will be the chimney is located.

TH-not-found The chimney will be 3 feet 'deep'. So lets draw a guide that is parallel to the building side 3 feet away from it.

Click anywhere on the station bottom edge NOT on a corner or midpoint. Begin pulling it away from the building. ENTER 3' in the measurements box.

The guide SNAPS to the 3 foot point.

TH-not-found The chimney will be 4 feet 'wide'. So lets draw a guide that is parallel to the vertical guide feet away from it.

Click anywhere on the previous vertical guide and begin pulling away. Enter 4' in the measurements box.

The new guide will snap to 4' away from the previous guide.

TH-not-found We now need rectangle indicating the chimney base.

We'll use these guides to locate it. I started by grabbing the intersection of the west chimney side and the station lower edge and started drawing in the RED axis.

TH-not-found Continue drawing lines (yes, you could have chosen the RECTANGLE tool to accomplish it) until you have defined the 'base' rectangle.

TH-not-found Now PULL the rectangle up to the roof level.

TH-not-found Now PULL the rectangle up one FOOT more above the roof level.

TH-not-found You can now erase the guides you drew.

TH-not-found Or you could have chosen EDIT/DELETE GUIDES from the menus to accomplish the guide removal.

TH-not-found OFFSET the chimney top 3 inches.

TH-not-found PULL the offset up 4 inches.

TH-not-found PULL the inside chimney top up 4 inches.

TH-not-found ERASE the now unneeded lines to clean-up.

TH-not-found And our new chimney is now created.

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13. Create south side entrance staircase and handrail

TASK: Create the staircase that enters the southeast corner, and the associated handrail.

TH-not-found Our stairs go in this corner of the building.

TH-not-found We are going to fabricate three 11" high steps. From the inside bottom corner of the Watch Office draw a line up 21".

TH-not-found Then draw a line in the RED axis out 4 feet along the face of the Watch Office at the same 21" elevation.

Notice, our Watch Office is 8 feet deep so I hovered over the midpoint mark on the bottom edge and cursored up, and SU drew an inferencing reference for me. Get used to letting SU help you draw ftom already defined locations.

TH-not-found Now draw a line DOWN (BLUE) to the bottom edge.

Then DIVIDE it (remember select the line, then right click and choose Divide) into three equal pieces, each 7 inches, the height (the RISE) of a standard step.

TH-not-found Then draw more lines to create three 7 inch steps, each with a TREAD (the flat part of a step) width of 11 inches each.

I did it, temporarily colored the result, and then drew dims for you to reference.

TH-not-found I then erased the dims and the coloring I added just for clarity.

Next I drew a line out from the midpoint of the station wall on the 'ground' level 7' long. This gives us easy reference point for the next step.

An area NOT selecting as you desire it to, (like these stairs profile) or a face (surface) not creating as you desire it to, is one of the most frustrating that happens to you in SketchUp. And it WILL happen!

View the following video. The RE-view it, until you understand. What LOOKS correct may NOT be mathematically correct.

WATCH this video on YouTube about creating faces that WON'T

Remember you can CLICK the 'square' icon in lower-right-hand corner get FULL SCREEN. Hit ESC to return back to normal size.

TH-not-found PULL the steps out until they are at the width of the midpoint line drawn on the 'ground' in a previous step.

Now we are going to add a 2 inch round handrail to the staircase.

TH-not-found Start by marking a position 4 inches in from the outside egde of the stairs landing.

TH-not-found From the 4 inch position draw a line UP 41 inches.

A standard handrail height is 42". We used 41" because the 2" diameter round moulding we are going to create will add the extra inch giving us the proper size.

TH-not-found First I added two guidelines each 4 inches in from the side and the outside edge of the landing. Their intersection marks the lower end of an eventual handrail post.

Clicking on the intersection, and then hovering for a few seconds over the END of the previous line, I then pulled away and let SU inference the (wishful) 41 inch end of my next line.

TH-not-found Then draw a line to complete the top of the handrail location.

Notice you DID NOT get a surface completed because the guideline along the bottom is a 'fake' line only.

TH-not-found On the botton step draw a guideline 4 inches in from the side edge. And another 4 inches in from the front edge of the tread. Then referencing the intersection of the guides (notice the small 'x' given) of the tread draw a line up 41 inches, as illustrated.

TH-not-found Connect the ends of the two lines to finish the down sloping top of the handrail.

TH-not-found Erase the line on the wall, and erase the mid-handrail post.

Then observing the photo, draw a 1 inch RADIUS circle on the wall, using the line endpoint as the center of the circle. I temporarily colored the circle yellow for your reference.

TH-not-found Now select the THREE lines that make up the hand rail location.

Remember, click, THEN shift, and click again, and repeate until the 3 lines are all BLUE.

Now, the magic...

TH-not-found Zoom in on the circle we drew. Then chossing the FOLLOW ME tool from the TOOLS menu, and you'll get an 'half-circle-ish' icon with a arrow in it icon. Hold that icon over the circle, it will become 'selected', (the lines will appear to become de-selected... thats normal), and then CLICK on the circle...

TH-not-found NEAT!

Our handrail is formed with the circle shape as a 'template', and our selected lines form the path to 'extrude' along.

TH-not-found Now re-draw a vertical (Blue) line from the base position of our former hand rail post. Draw it only 30-ish inches high (not 41).

Then draw another 1 inch radius circle at the base as shown. Now select the line, and then FOLLOW ME the circle to get...

TH-not-found A hand rail post.

TH-not-found Now PUSH-PULL the hand rail post up until you are satisfied with the 'look'. I'll bet welders wish it was this easy.

TH-not-found And our model now looks like this.

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14. Construct roof parapets and sloped roof

TASK: Construct the roof papapets, and the sloped roof deck.

TH-not-found Observing satellite images we see the roof is DEPRESSED creating parapets (wall-like barrier at the edge of a roof).

TH-not-found And the roof deck is not level, it is formed by a shallow 'V' shape for water drainage.

TH-not-found And a rear view of the station shows that the roof does not have a parapet in the rear.

Well, that's a bunch of details that require a great number of small steps to accomplish as SU does not have an easy way to construct a sloped surface. So we'll become 'carpenters' and build it ourselves.

TH-not-found Lets begin by OFFSETing the roof interior by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Which looks like this.

But observe the parts of the offset around the Hose Tower and the Chimney. That's not what we desire, so we need to 'fix' it.

TH-not-found We don't want the offset to go AROUND the chimney, but rather just follow the outside wall outline. So draw to CONTINUE the offset straight into the chimney.

TH-not-found And do the same on the other side of the chimney. Then ERASE the unneeded lines left by the offset.

TH-not-found Repeat the process at the Hose Tower.

TH-not-found At the rear we don't want any offset at all. In one corner draw a line to continue the offset straight to the back wall.

TH-not-found Then draw a similar line on the opposite corner. Next ERASE the line left by the offset.

TH-not-found For your reference I selected the rooftop. Yours should look similar.

TH-not-found Now PUSH the roof DOWN with the push-pull tool by 12 inches.

TH-not-found Take the time to clean up any unneeded lines exposed by pushing down the roof.

Well that was the easy part. Read carefully and study the photos from here on in this section. And get your 'hammer and saw' ready.

TH-not-found Select and ERASE the roof.

YES, erase it.

TH-not-found Zoom in on the rear exposed corner of the chimney and the parapet we created.

From that corner draw a line down in the BLUE axis 6 inches. Be sure your line is BLUE while drawing it to ensure your drawing STRAIGHT DOWN.

TH-not-found Now orbit around to the Utility Chimney side and find the point on the parapet we created that is perpendicular to the chimney.

Now again draw a line STRAIGHT DOWN (BLUE) 6 inches, just as we did across on the other side.

TH-not-found Then draw a line from the Utility Chimney end of the 6 inch line we just drew, to the end of the 6 inch line we drew on the Chimney side of the roof.

This gives you ONE edge of rear sloping roof panel.

But we're not done yet.

TH-not-found Now draw a line from the 6 inch down location below the Chimney to the rear (northwest) corner of the roof.

This gives you a second side of the sloping roof section.

TH-not-found Now draw a line from the 6 inch down location below the Utility Chimney to the rear (southwest) corner of the roof.

This gives you a third side of the sloping roof section.

TH-not-found When you click to finish the last line, should SHOULD get the sloping roof surface to COMPLETE.

If you don't get the surface UNDO until you can start the sloping roof over.

If that didn't fix it go back and review the Video about " Surfaces that won't create"..

Now we'll create the other half of the sloping roof. This half is harder. You must have successfully created the first half of the sloping roof, or this will be even MORE difficult. Pay attention.

TH-not-found Zoom in on the northeast corner of the building. Click and start a line from the lower inside edge of the parapet (see photo)...

TH-not-found And connect the other end to the corner of the newly created sloping roof section just below the Chimney.

TH-not-found And now a NEW line from the southeast corner below the parapet corner, drawn towards the opposite newly created corner of the sloping roof.

TH-not-found And IF you did well when you click to finish the line you should get ANOTHER section of the sloping roof created.

TH-not-found With the new roof section SELECTED pan over to the Hose Tower area. Notice that the new roof we just created crosses over, but does NOT intersect with the Tower. Notice the absence of lines where they cross.

With the roof section selected (blue dotted pattern) RIGHT click and choose Intersect Faces/With Model.

TH-not-found Now intersection lines appear where the roof and the tower meet.

Now ERASE any unneeded lines in this area.

TH-not-found Draw in a missing line to enclose the Hose Tower end of the open part of the wall just below the parapet. See photo.

TH-not-found Carefully zoom, pan, and orbit until you can just observe the now OPEN bottom of the Chimney.

Carefully picking the inner point of the open chimney base as shown, draw in the GREEN axis accross the base of the chimney to close it.

TH-not-found Now from the rear corner of the chimney draw a line DOWN in the BLUE axis until you are touching the roof surface. Your tool tip will indicate "on surface".

You get a surface the back wall of the chimney.

TH-not-found Now we need to create the lower inside new wall of the chimney. Drawing a line from the rear inside corner towards the opposite inside corner, hover over the upper corner above it and then SU inference the lines for you.

Observe carefully the photo.

TH-not-found Complete the new chimney walls by drawing another new line from the bottom of the parapet to the roof surface at the forward inside corner.

ERASE any unneeded lines in the area.

Are we done yet? Well almost. We just have to complete the part of the sloping roof over the Watch Office.

TH-not-found At one corner (either) of the open roof area above the Watch Office we need to draw two lines to close the open side wall below the parapet.

CAREFULLY draw down in the BLUE axis from the corner to the roof surface. When you complete each line the open wall surface SHOULD create a closed surface.

There is no need to remember the lengths of these two lines. Let SU do the work FOR you.

TH-not-found Draw the following line CAREFULLY! LOOK at the photo!

Starting from the joint position of the roof surface below the parapet corner (as illustrated) we need to place a line parallel to the bottom edge of the parapet.

Then HOVER OVER the upper opposite inside corner moment, then draw down until the line SNAPS into RED, and you see TWO black dots indicating the points at the new end of the line. CLICK to to end.

You've just created one edge of the new roof section.

Now REPEAT that same process again with the opposite corner, starting from where you created the line that that closed the parapet wall. That will create another new edge of the roof.

TH-not-found We now have two lines drawn that both have 'open' ends. This gives us 3 of the 4 edges we need for the roof.

Draw a line to CONNECT the two open line ends together.

When you draw this line you SHOULD get the new additional sloping roof surface...

TH-not-found Like THIS!

You can now also ERASE any unneeded lines.

BUT what if you've followed along, but you're unable to create this sloped roof. Well, first review your steps and see of you can determine where you went wrong.

In the worst case just STOP with the roof surface at the point where we depressed the roof to create the parapets, and LIVE with a FLAT roof.

If you did well, CONGRATULATIONS! You're well on your way to becoming a SketchUp modeler.

TH-not-found Our model now looks like this.

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15. On the FLAT sections create roof parapet extension covers

TASK: The roof parapets have both flat and peaked sections. On the flat sections we will construct extension covers via three different methods. We will deal with the peaked sections later.

TH-not-found Observe via a StreetView photo that there are non-brick extension covers on top of all the roof parapets on this building. Other photos we've seen already show that some of the parapet sections have peaks. We'll deal with the peaks later.

We will construct these extensions via three different methods. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

TH-not-found Before we begin lets save to a new VERSION of this model. For me it's version 4.

This creates 'hard core' places to back-up to should you ever need too.

Method 1:

TH-not-found Lets begin in the southwest corner.

TH-not-found Using the RECTANGLE tool, begin by clicking on the upper outside corner.

TH-not-found Then click again on the INSIDE corner of the Parapet/Utility Chimney intersection, and then drag out some distance on the RED axis.

Notice the Measurements box says "31',(some distance)".

Enter a new measurement of "31', 4" (without "'s)

TH-not-found You should now have a 31 foot long by 4 inches wide rectangle.

TH-not-found Pan down to the rear end of the building. PULL up the rectangle just created 4 inches.

TH-not-found PULL out the end of the rectangle 4 inches.

TH-not-found Now PULL in the side of the rectangle until it aligns with the inside edge of the parapet. See photo.

TH-not-found And there, we have our completed paraet cover section.

DO NOT erase any lines here. The cover section must remain separate from the wall, because it eventually be 'painted' it's own 'color' (conctete).

Method 1 Advantages...
  • Simple use of the RECTANGLE tool
  • Useful on flat rectangular surfaces
  • Easy PUSH-PULL'ing
Method 1 Disadvantages...
  • Won't be useful on sloped inclines

Method 2:

TH-not-found Orbit and pan over to the opposite side of the building (the area to the rear of the Chimney).

TH-not-found Zoom in to the inside corner of the parapet top and the Chimney.

Draw a 4 inch line out in the RED axis 4 inches. See photo.

TH-not-found Starting at the outside edge of the line we just drew, click, and begin drawing a line on the GREEN axis until SU inferences your even with the outside rear corner.

Observe the two black dots and the dotted lavender line promoting you.

TH-not-found Click. Then close the remaining open end of the new rectangle.

TH-not-found PULL the new rectangle up 4 inches.

TH-not-found PULL the end of the new rectangle out 4 inches.

TH-not-found PULL the side of the new rectangle in 4 inches until even with in inside edge of the parapet wall.

TH-not-found And now there's another section of parapet cover completed.

Method 2 Advantages...
  • Simple use of the LINE tool
  • Useful on rectangular surfaces on inclines
Method 2 Disadvantages...
  • A few more CLICKS required
  • YOU have to draw carefully
  • Push-Pull may not function

Method 3:

TH-not-found PANning to he area between the Chimney and the Hose Tower, select the upper surface of the parapet.

OFFSET the surface by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Select the OFFSET surface area. Observe the blue-dotted selection.


TH-not-found The intersections now allow us to delete unneeded pieces of the offset area.

Start by ERASING the rear line and edge line left on the Tower.

TH-not-found Add one line to the angled corner of the rectangle to make a separate area. See photo.

TH-not-found Switching to VIEW/FACE STYLE/X-RAY we see the intersection has left some 'hidden' lines that need to be ERASED.

I've ERASED the lines shown in the photo.

TH-not-found Leaving X-RAY view, I ERASED the extra line left on the chimney.

Then I've PULLED up the rectangle by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Then PAN to the Hose Tower end of the now raised rectangle, and PULL it in until it's even with the inside surface of thr parapet wall.

TH-not-found Ah, but we've got some extra work to do here. The angled surface of the Hose Tower has left small piece of the new parapet cover UN-PULLed.

Grab it and pull it UP to match.

TH-not-found And ERASE the extra unneeded lines.

TH-not-found And repeat the same operation with the small area left on the other side also.

TH-not-found Oh, but look the bottom of the rectangle is now OPEN.

TH-not-found Begin drawing a line from the indicated corner.

TH-not-found To the opposite corner endpoint. Then click.

TH-not-found If you get a REVERSED face, select it, and RIGHT CLICK, and choose REVERSE FACES.

Method 3 Advantages...
  • Allows you to solve peculiar surface issues
  • Useful on rectangular surfaces on inclines
Method 3 Disadvantages...
  • Many more CLICKS required
  • YOU have to draw carefully
  • Push-Pull may not function
  • Requires more SU expertise

TH-not-found And now our model looks like this.

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16. Create the two peaks on the roof parapets

TASK: Build the two peaks required into the roof parapet.

TH-not-found Reviewing a satellite image of the station it shows two peaks, one on the front parapet wall, and a second on the parapet wall on the Watch Office side.

TH-not-found Before beginning I erased some of the dimensions from the front of the building to clear some of the 'clutter'.

TH-not-found Let's start by DIVIDING the front wall edge of the parapet into 4 equal sections.

TH-not-found Draw a LINE up in the BLUE axis from the midpoint of the front wall 2 feet long.

TH-not-found Then a LINE angling down to the 3-4 division endpoint.

TH-not-found And another LINE angling down to the 1-2 division endpoint.

This gives us one of our peaks.

TH-not-found Now PUSH the peak we built back until it aligns with the rear surface of the parapet wall.

TH-not-found You can now ERASE the line across the bottom of the peak.

TH-not-found Pan and Orbit over to the front of the Utility Chimney.

Draw a LINE in the RED axis from the front of the chimney to the rear of the parapet wall.

TH-not-found Now orbiting around to the inside wall of the chimney we see that the line we drew created a new section surface behind the chimney.

Let's PULL that new section up to match the level of the parapet cover we created before.

Hmmm. That's NOT really what I wanted, because it's NOT a separate wall section. Remember I will 'color' it it's own color later.

UNDO (ctrl/z) your pull.

TH-not-found Notice that SU provides some 'coaching' in the lower left bottom corner of the SU Window.

It says when we choose the PUSH-PULL tool, it says "Ctrl=Toggle new staring face"

Choose PULL TOOL. Enter a CTRL key on your keyboard. NOTICE the "+" added to your tool icon.

TH-not-found PULL up that new section with the PULL+ tool so it's even with our formerly created parapet wall.

Observe the difference. Now we get a separate new section.

That IS what I want.

TH-not-found You can now ERASE the unneeded lines and join the new small section with the already created parapet cover.

If your asking yourself if you could have used the PUSH-PULL+ tool when we were previously creating our parapet covers?

Yes! And we do just that very soon.

TH-not-found Orbit and zoom so you can see the wall on the Watch Office side of the station.

Draw a LINE up 2 feet in the BLUE axis from the indicated midpoint.

TH-not-found And now 2 angled lines out to the corners of what will become the peak.

TH-not-found ERASE the unneeded vertical center line.

TH-not-found PUSH the peak back until it lines up with the inside wall of the parapet.

TH-not-found You can ERASE the unneeded line across the base of the new peak.

TH-not-found Orbit around and you can observe that two unneeded lines can also be ERASED from the rear bottoms of the two newly created peaks.

TH-not-found And now our model looks like this.

Good job!

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17. Construct remaining roof paparpet extension covers

TASK: Several of the roof parapet covers, including those required on the peaks remain unconstructive. We'll complete those extensions now.

SELECTING an area, and having what you expect be filled in with the dotted blue pattern, is a very vital thing to do OFTEN. You will be surprised how often what gets selected and what you expected to be selected are not the same.

When this happens you need to investigate why it's not acting the way you expect NOW. If you don't the problem may very well compound if you build more parts in an area that is not properly defined.

TH-not-found I've orbitted to the Southeast corner of the building (where the steps are) and I've SELECTED the top of the parapet wall.

And I've carefully ensured that ONLY the parts I intended get selected.

TH-not-found We desire a separate top 4 inch extension. So I've chosen the P-P tool and hit the CTRL key and the "+" sign appears next to the P-P too icon.

TH-not-found I PULLED the selected area UP by 4 inches.

And look... We receive a new separate 4 inch top cover.


TH-not-found But we still need to now PULL each side OUT by 4 inches.

TH-not-found So I've started my 'around' the edges.

TH-not-found Until there all pulled out. Like this.

TH-not-found And now I've panned to the Northeast corner, and again selected the area of the parapet top I wish to extend.

TH-not-found And I pulled the selected area UP by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Then began pulling the sides OUT by 4 inches.

TH-not-found And what about the end at the Hose Tower with those goofy angled sides?

They are okay also.

TH-not-found But you never 'get something for nothing'. At most corners where we P-P'ed it leaves some unneeded lines that must be ERASED.

Go around and check each corner (top and bottom) and remove any unneeded lines. It's now or later, but it needs to be done.

TH-not-found Now I've moved to the Southwest'ish corner of the front parapet peak. I've PULLED it's top UP by 4 inches.

But we've got a PROBLEM here. Up is not up when you PUSH-PULL. Look carefully, P-P always pulls PERPENDICULAR to the surface you're pulling.

TH-not-found For more clarity on this issue I've panned over to the peak and drawn a line in the BLUE axis (where up is up!), and LOOK at the end of the pulled section, it indeed angled, and NOT vertical.

TH-not-found UNDO the previous P-P.

Draw a line in the BLUE axis from the inside corner as shown.

TH-not-found Begin drawing a line from the rear top corner of the previously built parapet cover.

Then HOLD the other end of the line on the edge as shown. It will prompt "On-edge".

TH-not-found Now slowly draw away from the edge until the line SNAPS into a LAVENDER color (not red) and you receive a "Parallel to Edge" prompt.

Try this several times to get used to getting a parallel line to draw.

TH-not-found Continue drawing this parallel line until it contacts the blue line from the peak.

TH-not-found After clicking to complete the surface, repeat the process from the other corner.

TH-not-found ERASE the line in the center at the peak.

Then PULL the surface created by 10 inches. You can use the outside face of a previously created extension as a pulling reference.

TH-not-found ERASE the remaining blue line in the center at the peak.

TH-not-found Pan and orbit to the other roof peak.

Draw a line in the BLUE axis UP 4 inches from the inside corner of the peak.

TH-not-found Then draw a LINE from the top of that 4 inch blue line, over to the inside top corner of the parapet extension behind the Utility Chimney.

TH-not-found Now another line from the peak to the opposite corner.

See photo.

TH-not-found PULL the new surface created out by 4 inches to align with the inside corner of the flat side parapet cover already created. See photo.

TH-not-found Now draw a vertical line along the edge shown all the way up to the edge of the new peak extension. SEE PHOTO.

TH-not-found Check the surface created for proper selection.

TH-not-found Now PULL out the selected surface by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Now PULL out the remaining small triangular out to match.

And then ERASE the small unneeded line left over.

TH-not-found And thus we have our new peak cover extension.

TH-not-found Now move to the rear of the model. At the inside rear corner START a new RECTANGLE.

TH-not-found Click the other end of the RECTANGLE on the opposite side corner. NOTE the measurements box dimensions.

Then enter 39', 4 to get a 39 foot by 4 inch rectangle.

TH-not-found Like this.

TH-not-found Then PULL the rectangle UP 4 inches.

TH-not-found And down by 4 inches.

TH-not-found Orbit and pan.

And PULL in by 4 inches.

TH-not-found And now our model looks like this.

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18. Create soffit border around Watch Office using component

TASK: Using a component, create and extrude the soffit around the Watch Office. This demonstrates how creating a component will save time later.

Yes it is more work to bother to create components. But this example will clearly show why components save time, file size, and possibly tens, hundreds, or more eventual mouse clicks required when your in the final stages of your model completion.

You won't realize the advantages until you perform the entire modeling process. And at the final model painting process, after several hundred (or many, many more) unneeded extra mouse clicks, you'll ask yourself frustratingly, "Why didn't I make these components, when I had the chance!".

TH-not-found This StreetView photo clearly shows that surrounding the Watch Office at the roof soffit there is an approximate 2 foot high extension.

We'll create this part now.

TH-not-found I drew a couple of guides and a dimension to indicate where this soffit extension will be placed.

TH-not-found Let's start by creating a profile we can eventually FOLLOW-ME to produce the entire soffit extension.

Start by drawing a 2 foot vertical line (BLUE axis) on the temp building.

TH-not-found Then more lines to create a 2 foot by 4 inch rectangle.

Then I drew a guidline 4 inches down from the top.

Repeate the same guideline 4 inches UP from the bottom.

Then I created from these I created 16 inch by 2 inch 'cutout' area.

TH-not-found Then I created a guidleline 1 inch in from the edge of the 'cutout'. See photo.

TH-not-found I want to create a 1 inch radius at each inside corner.

So from each corner of the 1 inch positions draw an ARC section, carefully draw it until the arc turns lavander, and the tooltip indicates "Tangent to Edge".

Repeat the process in the opposing corner.

TH-not-found ERASE any unneeded lines, and then SELECT what's left. It should look like this.

TH-not-found Now PULL it out by a half inch.

TH-not-found I'm going to make a component so I've switched into X-ray viewing to ensure there is nothing 'hiding' behind when I select.

Select our profile. Right click, and choose MAKE COMPONENT. I called mine "Watch Office Soffit Profile".

Create the component.

TH-not-found Pan and zoom back to the inside rear corner of the Watch Office.

Open the Components Window and drag off a copy of our new profile component.

TH-not-found BEFORE doing anything else, right click the component and choose "MAKE UNIQUE", so our profile created stay alone and unchanged, and the component copy we dragged off the Components Window can be changed.

Use this technique always. Keep your profiles intact and use only unique copies of them.

TH-not-found Now MOVE the component into the correct position. The upper right hand inside corner of the component 'connects' to the upper inside corner of the rear Watch Office rooftop. See photo.

TH-not-found EDIT the component. Begin drawing lines all around the three rooftop top edges.

TH-not-found After the three lines are drawn, SELECT all three of them (remember SHIFT between each selection).

This creates the 'path' our FOLLOW ME will extrude along.

TH-not-found Now choose the FOLLOW ME tool and place it over the profile. The profile should become SELECTED you move the tool over it.

Then click.

TH-not-found And our profile becomes extruded along the 'path' of our selected lines.

TH-not-found Here's a close-up view of our new soffit's inside edges.

These rounded edges and CORNERS could have been created by hand, but it would NOT be easy. The profile and FOLLOW ME method is much much eaier.

TH-not-found So why the component method? Why not just use the non-component profile shape and be done with it.

I've turned on HIDDEN GEOMETRY. If this was not a component you would have to click and 'paint' each and EVERY surface in this soffit. That's all least 42 mouse clicks. Boring!

TH-not-found But with a component A BIG FEATURE is if you 'click-paint' it ANY surface that is unpainted will get painted.


Just for quick demo I single clicked or new soffit JUST ONCE with a yellow paintbrush. And look!

What a time saver.

TH-not-found And now our model looks like this.

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19. Layout and create a pseudo fire escape

TASK: Our model requires a fire escape. As in real life, creating a staircase requires careful measurements, and detailed planning. The old carenters rule of "Measure twice, cut once" applies here also.

We are going to fully explain and TEST our staircase layout with a skeleton before committing to our final metalized version.

Laying out a staircase is a task that a new modeler might feel uncomfortable with. The steps below are intended to try to make a difficult task easier. If this seem just too much for your modeling skills at this time, just skip the inclusion of the fire escape in your model. But if your willing to give it a try lets get started.

TH-not-found A satallite view of the north side of the station shows a rire escape in the rear.

It's not a balenced staircase though as it has more stairs on the uppeer level than the lower.

TH-not-found Looking at the rear corner of the north side of out model I've drawn a guideline at the 15 foot level which is the height of the bottom of the second floor.

And I've drawn another guide 1 foot in the rear edge, and placed a measurement of 31' from the inside corner of the Chimney to the rear corner of the building.

We will do all our construction on the temp building, so these measurements will let us simulate this rear section of the model.

TH-not-found First I pulled out a small section at the corner to simulate the chimney.

Observe carefully the photo. Then I placed a horizontal line at 2 feet up from the bottom. This represents the 2 foot 'parking lot' level. Then another 15' UP from that 2' level, representing the bottom of the second floor. It's dimmed 15'.

Remember a standard step is 7" high (the RISE), and 11" deep (the TREAD). So I placed text indicating that 15' equals 180 inches. And that 7" times 25 steps (I already figured that out) is 175", the total height of the staircase. But that's 5 inches SHORT of the 180 inches, so we need 5 EXTRA inches somewhere. I'll put them on the bottom of the staircase by building a 5" high concrete pad for the escape to rest on.

Remember our escape is unbalenced, so I decided I would use 10 steps on lower level, and 15 on the upper. I've placed text indicating 10 steps would be 70" high (10*7=70) which is the same as 5' 10" high. Thats dimmed.

And 15 steps would be 105" high or 8' 9". Thats dimmed also. Checking the math 105 + 70 = 175. Yup, thats correct.

Now if your already wiping your brow, thinking that there is a good reason why your not a carpenter you may not want to continue.

But if your still with me, lets go on.

TH-not-found Now the stairway widths.

There is a landing on the staircase at the 5'10" level. I've decided that it will be 4 feet wide. I've dimmed that also.

Next the horizontal width of 10 11" step treads would be 110" (10 x 11 = 110) or 9'2". That's dimmed also.

And the width of 15 step treads would be 165" (15 x 11 = 165) or 13'9". That's dimmed also.

You don't need to enter the text entries, they are for explanation only, and will be deleted anyway.

TH-not-found I've placed the two landings. The top one is a rectangle 10' x 1', and the middle one is a rectangle 4' x 1'.

I've temporarily colored them yellow to further identify their correct position.

I've drawn two diagonal lines indicating where the stairs will be. And have deleted other lines to 'clean up' a bit.

TH-not-found Out of the way of other construction on the temp building I've created a 7" high by 11" wide rectangle. I've then PULLED it out by 1 inch.

TH-not-found Now create a component entitled Fake) Step.

TH-not-found Drop a copy of that stair component near the middle landing.

TH-not-found Now precisely MOVE it to the upper left corner of the middle landing.

TH-not-found Now we are going to MOVE COPY this fake stair component. Select the stair. Then choose the MOVE tool. Hit the CTRL key and see the + sign added to the move tool.

TH-not-found MOVE-COPY it to the position shown.

TH-not-found Then enter 9x.... and look... stairs.

WATCH this video on YouTube about Copy/Move and Arrays

Remember you can CLICK the 'square' icon in lower-right-hand corner get FULL SCREEN. Hit ESC to return back to normal size.

TH-not-found I'm going to put another copy of the fake stair component on the top edge of the lower stair top step. To make the placement easier I've draw a short vertical line where I want the new copy to be placed.

Open the Components Window and drag off another copy of the fake stair and place into position.

TH-not-found Like this.

TH-not-found Now lets PULL out the Middle Landing exactly 8 feet 8 inches.

Why 8'8"? Because eventually a stair case will be 4 feet wide with a 2 inch stringer on each side. And there are two stairs here... so 4'4" x 2 = 8'8".

TH-not-found Draw a LINE down the middle of the landing side, as shown. And a line across the top surface.

Then select ALL of the 8 steps. You'll need to click each copy of a step, the SHIFT, the click the next until they are all selected.

TH-not-found I desire to MOVE that selected group of steps to the midpoint of the now extended landing. However if I (or you) try to move them you'll find them stuck to the wall try were placed on. Normally you would Right Click and unglue them. But if you try that you won't find an unglue. Hmmmm... Now what?

With the still ALL selected, RIGHT CLICK, and the choose "Make Group".

TH-not-found A group is made. Notice the large single selection rectangle now placed around the 'group'.

Now RIGHT CLICK and you'll find an unglue option. Choose UNGLUE.

TH-not-found Now MOVE the groups inside upper right corner to the midpoint of the landing.

Be Careful! Be sure to place the INSIDE (not the outside) corner at the landings midpoint.

TH-not-found Then you can Ungroup the group you just made.

But you won't find an Ungroup option anywhere either clicking or in the menus.

With the group selected, RIGHT CLICK and then you'll find an EXPLODE option. Choose explode. The group will be pieced back to what is what it was before you moved it.

TH-not-found Next we need the 15 steps for the upper level. Perform this the same we did for the lower 8 steps.

Select the step on the wall. MOVE/COPY (ctrl key, remember) one copy of the step diagonally UP. Then you need 14, or 15, or 16 more copies. Enter 13x... was that enough? Try 14x, or 15x. Observe what happens. Pick the right number of copies.

When you do, it will look like this...

TH-not-found Now we need to PULL out the upper landing by 4 feet 4 inches. That's exactly half as much as we pulled out the middle landing (it was 8'8"). And remember how cautious I was when I moved the lower group of steps? Why?

See the next magic step.

TH-not-found EDIT any of the top steps. I chose the top one.

PULL it out until this at the same level as the outside of the Top Landing. ALL the steps extend along with us. Remember edit one component and you edit all the identical instances.

TH-not-found Wow. Steps now for humans, not ants. Neat!

Zoom, pan, and orbit and investigate. Everything fits? Yes, not just closely but perfectly.

And remember that extra five inches we were going to need. I pulled out those extra five inches from the wall to illustrate what I meant. This is not what we'll do in the final version however, we'll make a much smaller rectangle of the four inches.

So why the skeleton steps? Even I had to experiment a few times before I got everything right. Remember, "Measure twice (or three or four), and cut ONCE!"

And all the experimenting took place away from the model on the temp building. But the MATH proved correct and is now shown to work exactly.

But these 'concrete looking' stairs don't look much like a fire escape. We'll fix that next, by changing things into components.

TH-not-found And now our model looks like this.

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20a. Create the two fire escape landings (part 1)

TASK: Construct the Upper and Middle landings for the fire escape

TH-not-found First, lets save another version (rev) of our model. For me it's rev 5.

TH-not-found I first PUSHED back in the fake chimney with the P-P tool to match the wall surface of the temp building.

TH-not-found To remove our fake steps I started selecting them one-by-one and deleting them. What a pain. Isn't there another way.

Yes, here's one way. Open Window/Outliner. You will then get an expandable/collapsible list of all you components in your model. As you click on any item you will see THAT object become selected in the model.

So I clicked the first fake step, then shift, then the last fake step. They all became selected. Then right click, choose ERASE and whoooose... there instances deleted. You still have the component, you just deleted their instances.

TH-not-found Starting with our Upper Landing I orbited and zoomed until I had the bottom of it visible. EDIT IT. The I OFFSET the base two inches as shown.

TH-not-found Then divide the inside offset in half along the midlines.

TH-not-found Next draw a line 1" from the centerline.

TH-not-found Then another line 1" from the centerline on the other side. The ERASE to cleanup the extra lines until you end up with two rectangles all with 2" sides as shown.

TH-not-found With the P-P tool PUSH in each rectangle 10". This leaves us with a 2" thickness top. Remember our landing was 1 foot tall at first (12" - 10" = 2").

TH-not-found OFFSET the front side 2".

TH-not-found Another way to divide. Switch to X-ray view. Now use the edges you just created via the P-P to determine the placement of the centering lines. Let SU help you through the built in inferencing.

TH-not-found Like this...

TH-not-found Switch out of X-ray back to normal view. Then begin ERASING to clean up unneeded lines.

TH-not-found Now PUSH in each of the rectangles exactly 2" to delete them.

TH-not-found Then OFFSET each of the two sides by 2". Then PUSH in to erase the offset faces.

TH-not-found Now the center. You'll have to add a couple of lines to define the 2" areas.

ERROR the line I added at the bottom of the rectangle is WRONG. It should go ALL THE WAY to the back, not stop 2" short as shown.

TH-not-found And again you can PUSH in the face (either 2" EXACTLY) until you see the 'z-fighting', which refers to the 3 axis of your screen, not the SketchUp axis's, but the x-y-z axis's of your screen. So when you push exactly the 2" the face your moving layers exactly on the face BEHIND IT (in the z-axis), and an interaction between the two faces then occurs (and they fight).

If you release at exactly the fighting point, the two faces disappear. We happen to know the correct depth (2"), but the advantage here is the z-fighting method still works when you don't know the exact measurement.

TH-not-found So far our landing looks like this. Except the back panel should not have the two inch 8" long vertical bar.

TH-not-found Draw a few lines to define the left and right hand panels on the rear of the landing. Then PUSH one in the 2" but do not delete it.

TH-not-found Draw a few lines to define the left and right hand panels on the rear of the landing. Then PUSH one in the 2" but do not delete it.

TH-not-found And on the right also.

TH-not-found Now the top. OFFET it 2".

TH-not-found Switch to x-ray view. Again use SU's inferencing to define the 2" wide center divider.

TH-not-found Back to normal viewing. Define the center divider and ERASE any unneeded lines.

TH-not-found Until you have two separate panels like this. Then draw 'x' crosses on each.

TH-not-found We want to define the 'x's into 2" crossed dividers. Guides will help because they always draw PARALLEL lines from the line that defined them.

So from each line of an 'x' draw a GUIDE (make sure you have VIEW/GUIDES enabled) 1" from it. Which results in THIS...

TH-not-found Now using the guides draw from intersection to intersection to define the edges of the 'x' dividers.

TH-not-found Then ERASE unneeded lines until you get this.

And click in each triangle to ensure they all select properly!

TH-not-found Then PUSH away each triangle. Like this.

TH-not-found Repeat the process for the other side.

The final result will be this.

If you seceded in getting this same result, be PROUD of yourself. If you can do this your well on your way to becoming a SketchUp 3D modeler.

Could this landing be produced another way? Sure. You could have started with 10' x 4'4" rectangle and by drawing individual lines and push-pulling things have created your 'own' from scratch. You could have even just created a simple rectangular box without the 2" rectangular stock.

But I like the 2" stock version. But suit yourself.

TH-not-found I drew two lines at the upper left hand corner of the landing to mark a location position of it. I'm NOT editing the landing, I'm just drawing on the temp building.

I then selected the two lines. And then chose MAKE GROUP from the Edit menu.

TH-not-found Then with the Group created and still selected I chose LOCK again from the edit menu.

TH-not-found And then got the selected Group changed into red color, indicating it's locked and cannot be altered.

TH-not-found Now I've panned and zoomed so I'm underneath the Middle Landing. And I've double clicked it so I'm EDITING it.

TH-not-found OFFSET both 'halves' 2". Then PUSH them both up 10".

TH-not-found Now repeat the whole 'x' divider process on both 'halves' just like we did on the Upper Landing.

TH-not-found And PUSH away the triangles.

TH-not-found And now the sides

TH-not-found OFFSET each half 2".

And PUSH away the rectangles.

Repeat on the other side.

TH-not-found Draw a few lines to define a 2" rectangle in the center.

TH-not-found And on the other side too.

TH-not-found Then delete the surface rectangles you created.

But you'll be left with some 'open' spaces.

TH-not-found Redraw a few lines to close up the open surfaces.

TH-not-found And on the back define the 2" bounded rectangle.

TH-not-found PUSH it in 2".

TH-not-found And this should be the result.

TH-not-found And here's our two landings with locked markers for position.

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20b. Create upper/lower step stringers and the steps (part 2)

TASK: Create the stairs side stringers and the steps.

TH-not-found Using our Fake steps I placed one in position at the Upper Landing and another in position at the Middle Landing.

I colored them temporarily yellow for your clarity.

TH-not-found Then I began a line from the upper landing's step upper inside right hand corner...

TH-not-found To the Middle landing's step upper inside right hand corner. Like this...

TH-not-found And another line from the steps lower inside left hand corner...

TH-not-found Now ERASE the two steps. You'll see your missing a few lines to complete the corners.

Then add four lines to complete the missing corners. Then click the result to determine it selects properly. Like this...

TH-not-found MOVE the Upper and Middle landings out of the way so we can make the stringer outline into a component with nothing interferring.

See why we created those landing placement markers!

TH-not-found Switching to X-RAY view, I then selected all of the stringer outline, and selected Make Component.

I named mine "Fire Escape Upper Stringer", and chose Glue To: Vertical.

TH-not-found Returning to normal viewing, I then EDITED the new Upper Stringer component, and PULLED it out 2".

TH-not-found Then OFFSET the surface 2"

TH-not-found Now PUSH in the offset face to erase it.

TH-not-found Exit edit component.

And there is our Upper Stringer.

TH-not-found Drag a copy of one of our fake steps onto a clear area of the temp building.

Important: Right click it and choose Make Unique!

TH-not-found Then select Window/Entity Info, and then change the Definition Name: to "Fire Escape Step".

TH-not-found Recall that our former fake step (now renamed) is 4'4" long. I dimmed it for reference.

TH-not-found EDIT it.

Now PUSH it in by 4". Ensure that you have a 4' step.

TH-not-found Yup... 4'.

TH-not-found Re-EDIT the step. OFFSET the step end by 2".

TH-not-found Add and ERASE a few lines until you have an "L" shaped step. See photo. Select the new area.

TH-not-found Now PUSH in the new selected area all the way.

TH-not-found It should look like this.

TH-not-found Back into EDIT mode.

Now OFFSET the top surface 2".

TH-not-found Back into EDIT mode.

Pull a Guideline in 1'11". Thats halfway minus 1".

TH-not-found And another Guide by the same amount from the other side. If you did that right you have a 2" center divider defined.

Add and erase a few lines until you have this...

TH-not-found PUSH the two faces IN to ERASE the sections.

TH-not-found Now OFFSET the side 2". Then using the Guides DRAW two lines down. ERASE and add to create the two sections.

TH-not-found PUSH in the surfaces to clear them.

TH-not-found Now re-draw edge lines on each open section to recreate a surface. We just deleted them, and now your redrawing them... Why?

Very good question. See next step.

TH-not-found Something new. PAINTING... well in a manner of speaking.

Choose either the paint bucket icon on the top toolbar, or choose Window/Materials from the menus. You'll get the Materials selector window. Choose FENCING from the drop-down chooser.

Pick the one named "Fencing_Diamond_Mesh".

TH-not-found Now using the little paint bucket icon you'll receive, click in each one of the areas we re-created on surface on.

This 'paints' a semi-transparent mesh onto these surfaces.


TH-not-found Next I drew a few lines to re-create a small portion of the back corners of the steps to provide some 'bracing'. See photo.

And our steps are complete.

TH-not-found If you haven't already done it, exit component edit mode.

First, MOVE the Middle Landing back inro it's proper position using the marker we drew before.

Drag a Fake step into into position next to the Middle Landing.

TH-not-found COPY/MOVE the Fake Step to create 9 more steps. You should now have re-created our 10 step lower fake staircase.

TH-not-found DRAW a line as shown.

TH-not-found And another along the bottom.

TH-not-found Now ERASE the Fake steps, either one-by-one, or choose the Outliner and all at once.

TH-not-found Add the lines required to complete the lower stringer outline.

Then select it to ensure it's correct.

TH-not-found MOVE the Lower Landing away. Then switch to X-ray view. Then select all of the lower profile outline.

Right click, choose Make Component, and I named mine "Fire Escape Lower Stringer".

Then EDIT the created component. PULL it out the 2". Then OFFSET it 2". The PUSH away the offset surface.

TH-not-found And if all went well you should get this...

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20c. Assemble stringers and steps into staircases (part 3).

TASK: Assemble our landings, stringers, and steps into escape staircases.

TH-not-found Move the Upper and Middle landings into thier proper positions using the previously created place markers.

TH-not-found Now MOVE the Upper Stringer upper corner into position against the corner of the Upper Landing. As shown.

TH-not-found Checking, if you've positioned all correctly, the lower corner of the stringer will align perfectly with the Middle Landing.

Yours is not correct. Start investigating until you determine why.

TH-not-found Now begin MOVING the Lower Stringer into position.

But you'll find the stringer is stuck to the wall until you UNGLUE it.

Our desired position is the midpoint of the landing.

TH-not-found Ensure you have placed it in the correct position.

TH-not-found Your assembly so far should look like this.

TH-not-found Start MOVING our step. Don't forget to UNGLUE it.

TH-not-found MOVE the step into position at the bottom of the Upper Stringer.

TH-not-found COPY/MOVE the step UP one 'step position'.

Then enter 14x.

TH-not-found And your upper staircase should look like this.

TH-not-found Drag another copy of the Upper Stringer component onto the temp building. Our desire is to put into proper position on the outside of the upper staircase.

However, the new copy of the stringer is stuck to the wall.


TH-not-found Now you can move it ti where it needs to be placed.

TH-not-found Checking (again) the Upper Stringer should be positioned in relationship to the Lower Stringer we placed before.

Not correct? You've got something misplaced, and you'll have to figure out what needs to be moved to fix it.

TH-not-found Drag another copy of the Step off the Components Window. And start placing in position near the top of the Lower Stringer, UNGLUE if needed.

But we have another issue. The Step is 180 degrees out of position in rotation.

TH-not-found Grab the ROTATE tool (the 'going around' arrows) icon, or the Tools/Rotate, or just type 'Q'.

Observing the photo, move it near the rear corner until you see a 'blue' protractor (because we want to rotate around the vertical axis. One you get the blue, click the corner.

Next move the cursor over the rear edge of the step. This is where we desire to 'grab it', and click.

Again, observe the photo closely.

TH-not-found The start rotating it. Attempt for 180 degrees. You can also just type 180 to rotate by that amount.

You must achieve 180.

TH-not-found Now position the rotated step into proper position at the top of the Lower Stringer.

TH-not-found COPY/MOVE (remember the CTRL key) the top step one 'step position' down.

Then enter 9x.

TH-not-found And now we should have our lower staircase.

TH-not-found But zooming in we see after the rotation of the step we now have all open sides on the step.

TH-not-found EDIT any one of the lower steps. Just re-trace edge lines until the faces close.


TH-not-found Drag another copy of the Lower Stringer off the Components Window. Place it on the temp building. You will only be able to place it on the wall.


TH-not-found Now MOVE it into it's proper position at the outside top of the Lower Stringer.

TH-not-found Make it UNIQUE. We need to change it and not affect the other stringer.

TH-not-found EDIT the stringer component. Select the inside surface as shown.

TH-not-found ERASE that selected surface.

TH-not-found Re-trace any of the surface lines to create a surface now on the outside, as shown.

TH-not-found Choose the PAINT tool. Paint the new surface with our grid.

TH-not-found Exit editing the outside lower stringer.

Orbit around to the other Lower Stringer. EDIT it. You may see it's inside surface as 'blue-ish'.

If so, select it, and then right click and REVERSE FACES it. If it's NOT reversed, just proceed on.

TH-not-found PAINT the surface with our grid.

Exit editing the component.

TH-not-found Select the outside Upper Stringer.

Make it UNIQUE.

TH-not-found EDIT the component. PAINT its surface with out grid.

TH-not-found And now here's our staircases.

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20d. 'Mesh' the landings and insert vertical handrail posts

TASK: Create the 'mesh' sections on both landings, and create and insert vertical handrail posts.

TH-not-found Starting with the Middle Landing, EDIT it.

Then beginning re-tracing the open sections until you have created a surface on all.

TH-not-found Don't forget about the sides also.

TH-not-found Then PAINT the sides with the 'mesh'.

TH-not-found And 'mesh' the top also.

Then exit editing the component.

TH-not-found Then go to the Upper Landing, EDIT it, and repeat the whole 'meshing' process there.

Like this.

TH-not-found Your staircases and landings should now look like this.

We are now going to begin placing the posts that will eventually hold up the handrails. The handrails will be created with the 'Follow Me' process. This means the handrail posts must be presicely located.

The 'standard' height of a handrail is 42". Our posts will be 41" high, leaving room for the eventual 1" top rail.

TH-not-found In an out of the spot on the temp building draw a 1" x 41" RECTANGLE.

I've dimmed it just for reference.

TH-not-found Then PULL it out by 1", creating a 1" x 1" x 41" square 'rod'.

TH-not-found Then select it, and MAKE COMPONENT.

I named mine Fire Escape Handrail Post Straight 41"

TH-not-found At the Middle Landing EDIT it.

Now draw 4 GUIDE lines, each 1/2" in from the outer edges. See the photo.

TH-not-found Drag a copy of the new hand rail post onto the landing. It may want to only be placed 'laying down'.

TH-not-found ROTATE the post up into the vertical position.

Then MOVE it so that the rear corner of the post aligns with the GUIDES.

So now it's positioned perfectly 'centered' on the corner of our 2" edges of the landing.

TH-not-found Do a COPY/MOVE of the post. Notice I have 'grabbed' the inner corner. Make sure you do also.

Now without clicking anywhere inside the SU window, go up and click the HAND icon. Notice that your MOVE tool icon changes to 'grayed' or inactive. This is so you can precisely move/pan/zoom to where you need to before completing the move.

TH-not-found Pan/Orbit/Zoom until your over the opposite corner of the landing.

Drag the corner of the post to the intersection of the to guides. Your post corner will snap to the corner of the guides. That's exactly why I drew them at a 1/2" dimension!

Then enter 4/, and you'll 4 copies divided evenly.

TH-not-found Like this...

TH-not-found Back to the corner where we started. Select the post.

Doing a COPY/MOVE click the corner of the post shown.

TH-not-found Start the MOVE, click away to get the HAND icon. Reposition carefully at the inside corner near the upper stairs.

Continue the MOVE and observe closely the dotted red line indicating you dragging exactly parallel to where you started.

Then drag until you are over the guide. Congrats... you exactly in the corner.

TH-not-found Enter 2/, and you'll get this.

TH-not-found We can copy/move multiple items at once. Lets do it.

Select the two posts near the corner. Click-shift-click and you'll get both.

Then COPY/MOVE clicking on the corner of the post shown.

TH-not-found Again, click away to get the HAND, and reposition at the outside corner.

Continue the MOVE, and carefully observe the dotted BLUE line, meaning you dragging straight. Drag until your prompted your 'On Line' over the Guide.

TH-not-found And you have moved two posts at once. Great.

Remember this. We will use it again.

We have been observing many ways that SketchUp assists you in discovering points, lines, surfaces, parallel lines, right angle lines, center points, midpoints and even more. Use these inferences to assist you.

If you try to visually place points or lines in 3D space you'll most often be wrong. Visual determination is vastly different from being mathematically correct! And that's what the inferencing provides... CORRECTNESS.

Here's another video on YouTube about Inferencing. Become familiar with these methods. They will ease your efforts, and assist in your accuracy.

Remember you can CLICK the 'square' icon in lower-right-hand corner get FULL SCREEN. Hit ESC to return back to normal size.

And this one too!

Remember you can CLICK the 'square' icon in lower-right-hand corner get FULL SCREEN. Hit ESC to return back to normal size.

TH-not-found So far our hand rail posts look like this.

TH-not-found Pan/Orbit to the Upper Landing.

TH-not-found Draw 4 GUIDES each 1/2" in from the edges of the landing.

TH-not-found And a GUIDE 5" from the edge of the Upper Stringer along the top step tread.

TH-not-found Drag another copy of the Straight Post component onto the top step tread. You may need to rotate it up into the vertical poition.

Then MOVE it so the corner of the post intersects with corner of the guides. As shown.

TH-not-found Then COPY/MOVE the post just placed so it aligns with the intersection of the two guides nearby, as shown.

TH-not-found Next COPY/MOVE the post just placed so it is positioned on the opposite corner.

Then enter 4/ so your landing looks like this.

TH-not-found Next COPY/MOVE the post just placed in the outside corner to the remaining inside corner, and enter 2/.

You now have 2 more posts.

TH-not-found Here is an overall view of our landings so far.

TH-not-found Moving the Middle Landing where the corner of the stairs are we must draw 3 GUIDES. I've dimmed them for reference.

First one 1/2" from the bottom edge of the outside of the Upper Stringer. Then another guide 1" parallel to the previous. And finally one 5" from the edge of the top tread of the lower staircase.

TH-not-found Then place another post at the intersection of the two inside guides.

TH-not-found COPY/MOVE the post just placed to the intersection 1" away, as shown. And then another to the spot 5" away from the edge of the top Lower Staircase.

TH-not-found And then another to the spot 5" away from the edge of the top Lower Staircase.

TH-not-found Then COPY/MOVE a post across the width of the step. MOVE it until you align with guide 1/2" inch in. Watch for the dotted blue line!

TH-not-found Then COPY/MOVE a post a foot away (or so).

And then make it UNIQUE.

TH-not-found With that post still selected, open the WINDOW/ENTITY INFO window and observe Definition Name.

It says Fire Escape Handrail Post Straight#1

It's the #1 at the end THAT'S IMPORTANT. That makes it different (unique) from all the rest. If we made another copy and made that unique it would be name#2.

TH-not-found We going to make this unique copy into a new component by changing it's name.

Alter in into Fire Escape Handrail Post Angled 41"

TH-not-found Now MOVE it so one corner is right on the angled edge as shown.

TH-not-found EDIT the post.

Trace a LINE over the angled line.

Then PUSH away the now unneeded bottom angle.

TH-not-found Then select the outside bottom angled edge. It should turn BLUE.

Then EDIT/COPY it.

TH-not-found Pan to the top of the post.

Then EDIT/PASTE it, and position it right at the upper right hand corner.

TH-not-found Then PUSH away the unneeded angle.

Then exit editing the component.

TH-not-found Draw a GUIDE along the top of the angled slope of the Lower Stringer IN 1/2" from the edge, as shown.

Then on the tread of the second step down draw a GUIDE 5" in from the front edge. See the photo.

TH-not-found Then using the 5" guide as a reference draw a vertical LINE on the edge of the stringer. And then another LINE across the top of the stringer to mark the placement position of the next hand rail post to be placed.

TH-not-found Next MOVE the angled post we just created across...

TH-not-found Into the position on the stringer we just marked. See photo.

TH-not-found Now COPY/MOVE the angled post just placed into the spot you just marked.

TH-not-found And enter 9x.

You should now have all 10 of the angled posts in place.

TH-not-found Create a GUIDE 1/2" in from the outside angled side of the outer Lower Stringer. As shown.

And re-create a similar post marking base position on the stringer also.

TH-not-found Select all 10 of the angled posts.

TH-not-found COPY/MOVE all 10 at once across to the other side position previously marked.

TH-not-found I've now panned and orbited so I'm looking at the top steps of the upper staircase from the 'inside' looking out. I've drawn some guides and lines there.

First a guide 1/2" in from the edge on the sloping surface. And two guides each 5" in from the front of the top two treads. See photo.

I want to mark the locations where the angled posts will be placed. Using the 5" guides for reference I've drawn vertical LINES on the side of the stringer, and then carried a LINE into the flat surface, marking the posts location.

TH-not-found Drag another copy of our angled post onto the steps.

TH-not-found You'll need to rotate it and stand it up.

TH-not-found MOVE the post into it's correct position that you marked.

TH-not-found Now COPY/MOVE that post one step down, then enter 14x.

The result should be this.

TH-not-found And that completes the creation of our hand rail posts.

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20e. Create the Fire Escape hand rails.

TASK: Group some components. Create the entire set of hand rails for the Fire Escape.

TH-not-found Before proceeding let us save to another new version.

Mine was V6.

It is not unusual to create an object or set of objects, only to find that you wish the were 'part of' some other set of objects. How do I fix this? See next step.

TH-not-found When I placed the hand rail posts for the Upper Landing I neglected to make them part of the landing component.

Let's see one way to fix that.

Select all the posts that are on the landing. Then EDIT/COPY them.

TH-not-found Next EDIT the Upper Landing.

Then EDIT/PASTE IN PLACE them. You wont visually see any difference. But now you have two sets of posts on top of each other. But the 'new' second set in now part of the Upper Landing component.

If your curious check the Window/Outliner and you'll find these posts in BOTH places.

TH-not-found Let's MOVE the Upper Landing momemarily out of position. Now you'll see both.

TH-not-found Select all the former posts that are now not part of the landing.

ERASE them.

Yes, you could also have done this from the OUTLINER. Your choice.

TH-not-found MOVE the Middle Landing out of the way also.

Then I switched to X-ray view, and selectded both the upper and lower staircases and hand rail posts. you'll see the selection rectangles shown.

Next MAKE COMPONENT. I called mine Fire Escape Up/Low Staircase/Handrails ASSY.

TH-not-found MOVE the Upper Landing back into position.

TH-not-found MOVE the Middle Landing back into position too.

TH-not-found So far selecting all 3 fire escape main components they look like this.

TH-not-found Pan to a clear area of the temp building.

Create 1" x 1" x 1/2" deep rectangle. I've dimmed mine for reference,

TH-not-found Then select it and Make Component of it. I named mine Fire Escape Handrail Top PROFILE.

Create the component and then leave it in place.

TH-not-found We are going begin creating our hand rails on the rear corner post of the Upper Landing.

I've just colored it yellow for your reference.

TH-not-found Begin by dragging another copy of the hand rail profile near the rear post.

Yes, another copy. We're going leave the first rail top profile ALONE ad just use copies of it.

TH-not-found Important! Make this copy of the profile UNIQUE. Don't skip this!

TH-not-found Now MOVE the profile to the top of the rail post we identified earlier. You'll have to UNGLUE to allow placement.

Then EDIT the profile, and pan/orbit/zoom until you can see the back of the profile. You'll notice that's it's missing a face. Draw enough LINES to close the face.

TH-not-found While still editing, orbit around until you can see the front face of the profile. Begin drawing a LINE from the lower right-hand corner.

Finish that line at the inside corner of the corner post. Begin another line from that point and continue to inside corner of the post placed on the tread of the top step.


You've just defined the path for the hand rail top to follow. But that path now must be selected. Click, shift, click etc. until you have the lines BLUE.

TH-not-found Now with your profile path selected, choose the FOLLOW ME tool and click the profile object face.

Your hand rail top for this portion should now be created.

TH-not-found Now for the next portion. Starting at the lower inside corner of the top angled post begin dragging out a LINE towards the top rail we just created. Drag slowly until you obtain a PINK line indicating your drawing at the angle of the post top. If you hold down the shift key you'll see you can lock in this axis of movement.

Then hover over the lower right-hand corner of the top previously created. We will get an inference from SU where a flat line intersects the angled one.

See the photo. When you see the inferences you can draw the lines.

TH-not-found Now draw a LINE from the point that you started the previous one, down to inside corner of the last angled post at the bottom of the steps.

TH-not-found Select the two lines you just drew, they'll turn BLUE.

Then choose the FOLLOW ME tool and click the face of the previous rail top already created.

Note: If the rail top you create has reversed (blueish) looking faces, BEFORE you create your new rail top click the face you will choose fir your Follow Me and reverse it. Now do your process over.

TH-not-found So far the top hand rails should look like this.

TH-not-found Another (less elegant) method to create an angled connection is to begin with a right-angled inference. Here I've clicked where I want to begin, then hovered over where I desire to end, and carefully dragging away, let SU inference the RED and GREEN axis for you.

Then draw your right-angled lines.

TH-not-found Then again dragging a LINE the same starting point carefully obtain the PINK inference for an angled line,and drag until you intersect the previous vertical line.

Then you must ERASE the unneeded portion of the vertical line. See... much more work

TH-not-found What we are after is a set of lines with this shape. Draw them, and select them as shown.

Then FOLLOW ME again...

TH-not-found And you'll get this.... Top hand rail going around the corner.

TH-not-found Again create an angled connection between our last finish point and the top of the first angled post at the top of the lower stairs.

Draw the lines.

TH-not-found And another LINE down to the top of the bottom step's post, to complete our 'path'.

TH-not-found Select the LINES drawn (all BLUE).


TH-not-found Wow! Your hand rail is complete.

Could this have been done with ONE SET of lines instead sections as we did it?

Sure by the brave, but you can try it for yourself.

TH-not-found You can now inspect and begin erasing any unneeded lines we made during the hand rail process.

But you will find that some lines you wish to erase however, they will not without affecting other surfaces. But still don't want to see them. What can you do?

Well, select any such lines and then choose EDIT/HIDE, and the line will 'vanish'. Not really it's only hidden. And you can always UNHIDE the one selected, the last one, or all.

TH-not-found There is another hand rail top to create, the one around the Middle Landing. But I've decided not to include the two at the rear in my model.

So I've selected them, and will ERASE them.

TH-not-found Start by dragging another copy of the hand rail top PROFILE off the Components Window so it's near the rear corner post.

And then make it UNIQUE. Don't skip this step.

TH-not-found Verify that your profile is unique by checking the ENTITY INFO window. Yes #2, that makes it unique.

TH-not-found I'm brave (or stupid!) but I'm going to try creating the second hand rail with ONE profile line drawn like this.

Select the lines...

TH-not-found Then FOLLOW ME.

TH-not-found Neat. It worked.

TH-not-found We are done with the hand rails. They look like this.

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20f. 'Mesh' landings, assemble sections, place completed Fire Escape in model.

TASK: Create 'mesh' panels on landings, assemble the main escape sections, place final Fire Escape in model.

TH-not-found Pan/Orbit to the Upper Landing. EDIT the landing.

Draw two guides on the posts 4" up from the landing floor, as shown.

TH-not-found And two more GUIDES on the posts 4" down from the bottom of the top hand rails.

TH-not-found Draw LINES using the guides just drawn and the post side edges to create surfaces ad shown.

TH-not-found Create all the surfaces on the landing as shown.

TH-not-found Now with the PAINT tool begin 'meshing' the panels just created.

TH-not-found Until your Upper Landing looks like this.

Exit editing the Upper Landing.

TH-not-found Pan to the Middle Landing and EDIT it. Draw sets of GUIDES similar to what did on the Upper Landing.

TH-not-found Create surfaces similar to as you did on other landing.

TH-not-found Begin 'meshing' the panels created.

TH-not-found Continue 'meshing' until you've done all of them.

And the your Fire Escape should look like THIS!

TH-not-found Ensure there is NOTHING behind your pieces of the fire escape. Then SELECT all three sections, the two landings and the staircases.


TH-not-found Then I named mine Fire Escape Complete ASSY.

Now we are going to place the Fire Escape on our model. The intention is to place the floor of the Upper Landing 15 feet up from the 2 foot base of the model. And side edge of the Middle Landing IN 1 foot from building edge.

TH-not-found At the rear corner of the model drag a copy of the Fire Escape Complete ASSY onto the model.

TH-not-found I've draw a LINE from the corner of the Chimney across the face of the building at the 15' level. And I've dimmed it for your reference.

TH-not-found MOVE the rear corner of the Upper Landing, by grabbing at the 'floor level' of the landing, until it snaps to the 15' foot line drawn.

TH-not-found Like this.

TH-not-found At the floor level of the Middle Landing I've drawn a LINE out to the corner of the building.

Then I've MOVED the corner of the landing's floor out until it's 1' from the buildings corner.

TH-not-found Just to double check I've drawn a line down from the center point of the edge of bottom step to the face of the surface below.

It should be 5" (remember our math), and it IS. You can ERASE that line now.

Another way to do the same thing would be use the GUIDE tool but press the ctrl key to turn it into a simple tape measure instead of drawing guide lines.

TH-not-found On the top of the temp building draw a 6' by 6' rectangle.

TH-not-found Then PULL the rectangle up 5 inches.

I've drawn dimensons to illustrate it.

TH-not-found Then select the rectangle, and MAKE COMPONENT of it.

I called mine Base for Fire Escape 6'x6'. Also choose Glue To: Horizontal.

TH-not-found Return back to the new Fire Escape area.

Drag a copy of the Fire Escape Base onto the surface near the bottom step.

TH-not-found EDIT the base. Draw two LINES corner to corner.

Exit editing the base.

TH-not-found Select the base. MOVE it grabbing the base at the crossing point of the two lines. Drag until it's center point is directly under the 'midpoint of component'.

Now we've got the center of one under the center of the other.

TH-not-found EDIT the base. ERASE the crossing lines.

Exit editing the base.

TH-not-found And now our model looks like this...

TH-not-found And like this.

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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-Jun-28 21:36:32
Edited and maintained by D.B. Freedman

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