SketchUp models geometry is based on an edge. Any shape or surface is made of edges. Next position on the basic SketchUp entities list is an circle. In this text you can learn all details that has something to do with arcs and circles.
In this article you can learn:
- Circle sides in Sketchup
- How to draw a circle in Sketchup?
- How to check the diameter and segment amount?
- Can I edit a circle?
- Difference between circle and arc
- What is curve geometry?
- Create an arc between two edges
- Round many edges corners at once
Why SketchUp draw circles using bunch of edges?
SketchUp uses Polygonal Modeling to approximating their surfaces.
It means every surface is described by set of edges. The same situation is with circle, so every of them is draw with edges.
Most practical information is that you need to decide whenever you need detailed and smooth shapes with big number of circle segments or any simplicity which helps to make model easier to work with is more important so you prefer to set small circle sides. In other words you can use small circle sides parameter and get not so natural representation of curved shapes but your model will be "light" and will work smoothly or you can set big value of segments to make the model realistic but working slower.
It's your choice and you need to know about that decision to make at the beginning of the design process.
How to draw a circle in Sketchup?
To create circle in SketchUp:
- Use proper tool from Drawing toolbar or just press "c" button (it is default circle shortcut key).
- Check circle sides (segments). To change it simply use numeric keys.
- Click mouse button to choose circle middle point.
- Set circle radius with mouse cursor or use numeric keys to set exact value.
How to check the diameter and segment amount?
When you select the circle and open context menu with right mouse button, you can open Entity Info tray window.
You will find there the most important info about the circle. Radius and segments.
Can I edit the circle?
YES. There is a easy way to change circle diameter and it's sides (segments). Just open Entity Info window, as described above, and you can change radius or segments as you need. When you change numeric value in the window and press enter, the circle is redraw with new radius:
You can also set new segments for the circle eg. 6 sides:
Difference between circle and arc
When there is a need to draw not full circle you can use Arc tool.
Basic functionalities works same as circle drawing but there is an additional parameter which is an arc angle and a start point. After you set arc center point and it's start point you need to indicate an arc angle as well. Same as before you can use also numeric keys to set precise value.
The difference between those two geometric entities is that a Circle is an full Arc with 360° angle. When you open Entity Info tray window you see proper entity type and same as with circle you can check and change basic parameters like radius and segment amount.
What is curve geometry?
Any circle or arc can be transformed to a group of edges. For example if you select circle edge and open context menu you find there Explode function. When you explode circle shape every segment of the circle is a separate edge.
If you select few edges which are connected to each other you can use context menu: Weld function. As a result you get a Curve. In other words the curve geometry is a group of connected edges which are not a full circle or an arc.
Create an arc between two edges
If you need create an arc between two edges you can use SketchUp native tools for that.
Because you read this article you know all the needed information to draw a smooth arc on the corner of edges.
However, there is a simple plugin that will help you a lot with that.
SketchUp round edges extension.
To draw and arc between edges just do a few simple steps:
- select two edges
- run plugin (launch setting window)
- set radius and circle segmentation
Round many edges corners at once
- you can set arc radius with slider or use precise value
- there is an live view of the arcs - moving slider changes arcs online
- you can select many corners to round at once