In this video, learn how to create linear and radial (also known as polar) arrays using the multiply and divide by operators within the Move and Rotate tools in Copy mode. SketchUp doesn't have a dedicated array tool so you have to know these methods if you want to save time by creating arrays.
- [Scott] Hi, it's Scott Onstott here. This week, I'm going to talk about arrays, and there is no dedicated array tool in SketchUp. Instead, this is build into the move and rotate tools, where you can make linear and radial arrays. To demonstrate this, let's start by building a staircase, so we can explore linear arrays, and later, we'll reveal a chair and a round table, which we will copy around the table, and explore radial arrays.
So, at first let's zoom in here to the intersection of the wall and the floor and build a typical tread of a staircase. I'll draw a rectangle here on the ground that measures three feet wide by 11 inches deep. And then I'm going to pull that up two inches and then triple click to select all. Right click, make component, and call this tread. Now I'd like to make a copy of that tread above, so I'll use the move tool, start moving it from the top here, move it up, press the Option key on the Mac or the Control key in Windows to go into copy mode.
Note that you don't have to hold down the key, you just press and release that key, and then type in seven, Enter. The rule of thumb is a seven-inch rise and an 11-inch run, which is what we have represented here. Now I'm going to move this tread over in the green direction and hold down the Shift key to lock that axis, and then click on this point right here, so it's exactly above the tread below. Because these are instances, any changes that you make to either of them are reflected in both.
So I'll double click on this component to open it. Come in here. And then pull this back, and you'll see that the one below also is being changed. Now I'm going to move that over, let's say, three inches. Now we have an overlap between our treads, but we still have an 11-inch run. Now let's design a baluster that's going to connect these treads, and it's also going to go up and meet up with a handrail, ultimately.
To do that, I'll draw the cross section as a circle, and I'll place that right here in the blue direction. And I'd like to minimize the number of segments in that, anticipating creating multiple balusters in the future. So I'm going to type 8S, Enter, to specify the number of sides, and then I'll type one, Enter, to specify the radius. Now I'm going to select this and move it over a few times, so we can get it in the right place. I'll move it over an inch, and I'll move it back this way, let's say, half an inch.
And then I'll pull that up, snap it to the tread above, triple click to select all that, copy it above, draw in a line here that goes up to the typical handrail height. Let's say it's three feet high. And then I'm going to pull this up and snap it right there on the top of the line. Now I can erase that line. And I'll make a window selection around that entire baluster.
Right click, make a component out of it, and I'll call it baluster. Now I have enough information really to make the staircase, because I have the baluster and the treads. I'm going to shift select them both, and then I'd like to copy them, so I'll use the move tool, and I'll copy them from this corner up and place it right there. And now, essentially, the copy is done, but it's at this moment that we have the opportunity to make a linear array.
And we can do that using the multiply operator. So we type in a number, let's say 12, and then we'll use the multiply operator, which can either be the asterisk symbol or the letter X, and then you press enter. So we have 12 copies. We actually have 14 treads if you count them, because we started with two and we made 12 copies. Also in this particular situation, we don't need a tread right on the ground like that.
So what I should do is select the entire staircase, and then move it down, so that the original tread is flush with the ground, and I can erase that tread because it's not needed. Also, up here, let's convert this top tread into a floor slab by making it unique and then editing that and pulling it down and placing it so it's flush with the tread there.
I'll also pull this back some arbitrary distance to represent either a mezzanine or a landing. This particular baluster, I want to make it unique, also. Double click on it, and if you go into X-ray mode, you can see that there's a part of that below that I want to erase. And I'm toggling that with a keyboard shortcut that you may or may not have, but X-ray mode is available in the style.
And I'll just show you that quickly. Under styles, if you edit the current style, you can go into X-ray mode here. I've set that up to be the letter X on my keyboard. Let's say we want to make an array of these balusters going along this mezzanine. We can do that in one of two different ways, either by multiplying or by dividing. If we multiply, it works like this. We start moving it, enter copy mode.
We'll move it over a unit distance. Let's say it's six inches. I'll type six, Enter. And then I'll type in, let's say, 12X, Enter. And that's too many. Let's say it's 10X. So you see, I have this chance to keep changing my mind. What if I want a 6X? I can do that. In this case, 10X looks better, so I could leave it at that. But I'd like to show you another way that's suitable in a situation like this, so I'm going to undo, and instead of copying it over a unit distance and then multiplying it, what I'm going to do is copy it over all the way to the end of the run, which is about there, and then I'll type in a number.
Let's say 12 divided by. And the divided-by symbol in SketchUp is the forward slash key. I've divided that into 12 parts. That's a little tight. I'll try 10 divided by. You see, I have the chance to keep changing my mind and seeing how it looks. Six divided by. Well, that's not really dense enough. We don't want someone to fall through. But it's also similar to the spacing that we have here. So that might look pretty good.
So this way, you can get some visual feedback on your array. Say four divided by. Well, that's too far apart. I think I'm going to go with six, like that. And this way, you can either multiply or divide your arrays depending on the situation. I added a handrail on top of the balusters using the follow me tool, which is something that you can on your own if you like. But I'd like to continue discussing arrays, so I'm going to go edit, unhide all, and you'll see that I've provided some items that I downloaded from the 3D Warehouse here.
We have a bar stool and a high, round table. So, this is a great example of where we might want to make a radial array. So I'll take this chair and use the rotate command, and I also provided a line at the center of this table, just so it's easy to snap to the center point. So I'll click there, and I'll start rotating the chair, and I want to enter copy mode, which is entered exactly the same way that you do in the move command. That is, you press the Option key on the Mac or the Control key in Windows to enter copy mode.
And now we can copy this over a unit distance. Let's say it's 90 degrees. And then I'm going to follow that up by using a multiplicative array by typing 3X, Enter. So now I have a total of four items. The original item is not counted in that multiplication. So we have three new objects. And that works great if you know the angle that you want to rotate. So, this is especially easy to do on a 90-degree angle.
But what if I wanted five items or seven items around the table? I'd have to start doing math to figure that out. So I'd like to avoid that. I'll show you another way you can do this. You can select your chair, go to the rotate command, and we're going to start rotating it, and then go into copy mode. And instead of worrying about exactly what angle it is, go a full circle. Type 360, Enter. And then use an array by division.
So type five divided by, Enter, and you'll have five chairs. Type seven divided by, Enter. And that's too tight in this particular case. How about six divided by? Well, that technically might fit, but it's very, very tight, so five might be the most. We could do four or three just by typing in those numbers followed by the divided-by operator. So you see how easy it is to get however many chairs you want to fit around a table by using this method.
So hopefully you now have some food for thought about how to create radial and linear arrays using the multiply and divided by operators. There's one other thing that I'd like to point out and that is if you make an array by copying an item around a full circle, you have to remember that you're going to have a duplicate object there. So right now if I move this over, you'll see that there's actually another chair there. And that's because we started with this object, copied it around a full circle, thereby duplicating it, and then we divided by the number of items that we wanted in the array.
So just keep that in mind that you have to follow that up by erasing one of those objects. Otherwise, you'll have unnecessary data in your SketchUp model.