One of my students wrote me enquiring how to draw tapered and splayed legs. He was trying to use the usual technique starting with a square representing the cross-sectional area and extruding it to the legs height.  Tapered and splayed legs are tricky to draw because of the compound angle the top and bottom of the leg are cut. The usual way of drawing a tapered leg can be used, but when the legs are then splayed in two directions you run into numerous problems with Rotation and Push/Pull operations. Unless you were an A+ student in high school geometry class and can visualize complex rotations in your head,this is a difficult way to proceed.

Tapered & Splayed LegsAn easy way to draw these legs is to treat them as the intersection of two parts; each an extrusion, one from a front view and one from a side view. This can be done with the Intersect Faces tool. This video demonstrates this technique.

As you watch the video there is a portion of it where I run into problems because of SketchUp’s difficulty in dealing with very small entities. I stumbled and eventually found a work-around. I chose not to edit this out because I thought it a good learning experience for both you and me. I did add a subsequent section to the video to show a better approach. So I apologize for the rather amateurish resulting video, but the teaching and learning moment I couldn’t pass up.

This also points out one of the tenets of drawing in SketchUp. Think ahead! If I had practiced this tenet on this particular occasion I would not have run into this problem.

Viewing The Video

You can view Drawing Tapered & Splayed Legs by pressing the play icon below or by downloading it to your system.

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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 player’s controls. Exit full screen mode with the Esc key. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!