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How to Create an Exploded View in SketchUp

Updated April 17, 2017

Toy and other manufacturers feature exploded views in the assembly instructions they pack with their products. These views visually show consumers how to assemble a product such as a bicycle. Creating an exploded view in SketchUp involves using this application's "Move" tool, the "Explode" command and the "Line" tool. Developing proficiency at creating an exploded view in SketchUp yields illustration skills that are in high demand. Also, this project can give you a better understanding of how an object is put together.

Click the "File" menu's "Open" command, then navigate to and double-click a SketchUp file containing an object you'd like to make an exploded view of.

Click the object to select it, then right-click and click "Explode." SketchUp separates the object into its separate parts, though the object still appears to be assembled.

Click the toolbar's "Move" tool, then click the largest part of the exploded object.

Drag the mouse away slowly away from its original position to a new position a short distance away. As you drag, observe closely how the part you're moving connects with other parts. For example, if the model you exploded is a bicycle, and the part you just repositioned is the bike's seat, notice that the cylinder at the bottom of the seat connects to the bike frame tubing leading to the chaining gears.

Click the toolbar's "Line" tool, then click one area of the part you just moved that connects to another part. For the bike seat example, click the cylinder emerging from the bottom of the bike seat.

Drag the mouse to extend the line until it connects with the area of another part that connects with the part you just moved. For the bike seat example, this means clicking the opening in the bike frame tubing that holds the seat cylinder. Clicking this part completes the line between the two connecting parts.

Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for each area of the part you repositioned that connects with another part. For the bike seat example, however, there are no other areas.

Repeat Steps 3 through 6 for each remaining part in your object to complete the object's exploded view.

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About the Author

Darrin Koltow wrote about computer software until graphics programs reawakened his lifelong passion of becoming a master designer and draftsman. He has now committed to acquiring the training for a position designing characters, creatures and environments for video games, movies and other entertainment media.