Among the most used tools in SketchUp, the Push/Pull tool certainly has a place of honor. Thanks to this tool we can transform a 2D face in a 3D model. And this is the reason why we all use Google SketchUp: we like 3D models!
In this post I’ll give you an overview of the tool, focusing on some common practices, usually overlooked by beginners, which will help you using it more efficiently.
SketchUp represents the Push/Pull tool with this icon:
You can select it on the toolbar, clicking on the icon…
There’s a third option, and that is my preferred: just hit the “P” on your keyboard and you have your tool ready to use (more info on keyboard shortcuts here).
As the name of the tool says, you can pull or push a face of a model to increase or decrease its volume, so you can easily imagine how often you will use it while drawing your models!
In the picture below you can see the basic use of the Push/Pull tool. I draw a 2D face with the rectangle tool, then I select the Push/Pull tool and, finally, I extrude the face at the desired distance, writing the value in the Measurement box.
Some fellows usually tend to use the tool with its basic function, as shown above. They select a face and drag it, also when they have to make repetitive operations, for example when removing waste from pins and tails on a dovetail joint. This is not formally incorrect, if you like this practice you’re welcome to keep on using it. Nevertheless, I think that there’s a better approach to that, a feature of this tool that can help you saving a lot of time when drawing.
Yes, because the Push/Pull tool has a sort of memory; it remembers at what distance you pulled or pushed your face the last time you used it.
When the tails are ready to be cut, select the Push/Pull tool and push the first face until you remove the waste, 19mm in this case. Now the tool remembers this distance.
Go to the next face and, instead of pushing it, just double click on the left button of the mouse. The Push/Pull memory remember those 19mm and does the work for you.
Do the same with the other faces
When it comes to prepare the pins, there’s another feature very handy you can use to speed up the waste cleaning process. The Push/Pull, as many other tools in SketchUp, uses the inference concept. This was created to help you! You don’t have to measure anything. Just drag the face until the inference point, that’s it!
The picture below shows how an inference point is indicated. Click the left button of the mouse and drag the face on a corner of the tail. When e green dot appears, you are pushing at the correct distance and you can release your mouse. The next pins can be cut using the double click technique.
The last feature of the Push/Pull tool I’d like to talk you about is its ability to push or pull a copy of a face, leaving the original face in place. I used this feature when I drew the leg of the table you can find here.
Since the leg is tapered I needed to extrude the 2D square dividing it in two parts. The lower part was the one I had to taper.
With the first part extruded, I place the Push/Pull tool on the face to continue and, before clicking on it, a hit the Ctrl key.
A “+” appears beside the icon, indicating the copying function activated.
Now pull the face. Note the original face you pulled remained in its position.
Now you can taper the lower part of the leg without affecting the upper part.