Pushing and Pulling Shapes into 3D

With the Push/Pull tool (), you can create a 3D shape from a face or cut a 3D shape out of your model. You can push/pull any type of face, including circular, rectangular, and abstract faces.

The video shows you all the tricks you can do with the Push/Pull tool. Or read on for detailed steps that walk you through push/pulling on your models.


Pulling a 3D shape from a face

To pull out a face and thus add volume to your model, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Push/Pull tool () or press the P key.
  2. With the Push/Pull cursor, click the face that you want to expand. The selected face becomes shaded, as shown in the following figure.

    Tip: If you need to push/pull a face that’s difficult to select, try preselecting the face with the Select tool and then push/pulling the face. If you need to start over, press Esc.


  3. Move the cursor so that the selection expands. The Measurements box displays the depth of the expanded face (also called an extrusion).

    Tip: If you need to pull a face so that it’s parallel with another face, let the SketchUp inference engine help. Before you pull the face, hover the Push/Pull cursor over the other face, and the inference engine tells you when the two faces are parallel, as shown in the following figure.


  4. Click again to set the size of your extrusion. Until you select something else, you can enter a precise distance, which appears in the Measurements box as you type. Type a number and a value, and then press Enter.


Tip: Immediately after you push/pull to add volume to your model, you can double the size of the extrusion or create a separate but identical extrusion:

  • To duplicate the extrusion on a different face, double-click another face.
  • To stack an identical extrusion on top of the existing one, tap Ctrl (Microsoft Windows) or Option (macOS) and then double-click the face.


Note: When your push/pull creates a curved face, you create a surface entity, or a surface that looks smooth but is actually made of many smaller faces. See Softening, Smoothing, and Hiding Geometry for details about surface entities.
Note: If you pull up an entity a small amount (less than an inch (2.54 cm), edges are visible through the entity. This is a rendering limitation that affects all 3D programs. Your entity must be an inch or more thick before this effect goes away. If the edges showing through are an issue, select the edge, context-click it, and choose Hide.

Cutting a 3D shape out of your model

You can also use the Push/Pull tool to cut pieces out of your model. This action is handy in all sorts of instances, such as making a doorway, creating an angled roof, or cutting out a notch for a fastener, as shown in the figure.

Follow these steps to subtract volume with the Push/Pull tool:

  1. Select the Push/Pull tool () or press the P key.
  2. Click the face you want to push, as shown on the left in the following figure.
  3. Move the cursor in the direction you want to push. You can push partway into your model to remove only some of it, as shown on the right in the following figure. If you want to completely the remove the content, drag until you see a message that says the offset is limited.

    Tip: To completely remove the content, the face that you push must be parallel with the face on the opposite side of your model. If any lines divide the opposite face, you need to erase those lines before you can cut a hole through your model. To see examples, watch the video at the beginning of this article.


  4. Click again to finishing pushing away the content in your model. To set a precise distance, type a number and value and then press Enter.
Was this article helpful?