OK, a little dramatic, but I had to get your attention. We all know how difficult it is to manage SketchUp layers; specifically which layers primitives reside on. The biggest problem newbie SketchUp users have, bay far, is spreading primitives over layers, often multiple layers, other than Layer0. I wrote a script called layers.rb or Layers Manager. That tool does several things, but most importantly it warns you if you try to make a layer other than Layer0 active. Making a layer other than zero is a major cause of modeling problems.

However, there are numerous ways to get into trouble besides changing the active layer. In fact SketchUp seems to want to help you get into trouble. If you have a group or component instance which resides on a layer other than zero, but whose primitives are correctly residing on Layer0, and then use context tool Explode, SketchUp will move the primitives to the layer the group or component instance was on. Let’s say I have a component called Cube, and I place it on Layer Cube after first drawing it and making it a component on Layer0. Cube will be a correctly formed component; its primitive will be on Layer0 and Cube will reside on Layer Cube. As I make Layer Cube visible or invisible my Cube component will be displayed or hidden.

Now suppose I decide to explode Cube using the context menu Explode tool. I select Cube and Explode it. Cube (that instance of it, not the library component) will be deleted, but in its place, on Layer Cube will be all the primitives that belonged to Cube and was originally on Layer0. Why is SketchUp so helpful? I don’t know.

Fortunately Steve gave us two context tools. One called Explode to Layer 0, which works the way Explode should work; it deletes the group or component instance while leaving its primitive on Layer0.

The second tool is even more helpful. If you get well into a model before you discover you have major spreading of primitives, don’t panic. The solution is only one two clicks away. First use the select tool to select all groups and components in your model. Next context click and choose Primitives to Layer 0. This tool will examine each group and component in the selection, recursively drill down if any are hierarchical, and place all primitives on Layer0. It will leave all groups and component instances correctly formed independent of the layer they are on. I highly recommend making this tool a part of your Ruby script plugins.

Download the To Zero Tool

You can download the To Zero ruby script by clicking here. This is a compressed file and needs to be unzipped or decompressed. Simply extract it to your Plugins folder.

If you find this tool as useful as I do please drop Steve a line and let him know. You can get contact information by visiting his website, http://www.slbaumgartner.com/, and while you are there browse his gallery of fine furniture.

Viewing The To Zero Video

You can view the To Zero video by pressing the play icon below or by downloading it to your system.

The video file is mp4. It can be viewed with most video players including QuickTime and Media Player. If you have a default, or user specified, file association for .mp4 you may have to delete it or use a download manager to download this file. Otherwise the associated application may be invoked and file streaming will prevail over downloading. There are numerous free download managers on the internet. Be careful, and do some research to locate one that is not loaded with spyware or viruses.

If you are on a PC platform running Windows OS and have Internet Explorer or Firefox you don’t have to change file association or use a downloader. Simply right click on the link(s) below and choose Save Link As. When Explorer opens choose a destination folder and select Save.

To download Introducing SketchUp Tool Face To Face click on or paste

http://blip.tv/file/get/Chiefwoodworker-SteveBaumgartnersToZeroSketchUpTool108.mp4

into your browser or download manager.

Full Screen Viewing

You may find it easier to view the video in full screen mode. Start the video before selecting this mode. To enter full screen mode click the little screen icon at the bottom of the video player. When in full screen view hold your cursor near the bottom of the screen to access the video