Google SketchUp is computer-aided design (CAD) software to visualise spaces and forms on the computer. The basic version of the application is free, and most of the SketchUp tools are easy for a layperson to use. However, springs, as well as helices, screws, or spiral stairs are difficult to produce; the translation and rotation of an extruded profile requires a corkscrew and winding path. Nevertheless, the basic SketchUp tools produce this complicated form, and no external Ruby script is necessary to create this form in the application.
- Skill level:
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Select the "Circle" tool from the toolbar. Draw a circle of any radius on the flat plane.
Select the "Line" tool and draw a vertical line, along the "Blue" axis, on the right quadrant of the circle.
Select the "Arc" tool and click one arc endpoint at the left quadrant of the circle and the second arc endpoint at the top of the line at the right quadrant. Move and click the arc midpoint directly above the bottom quadrant of the circle.
Select the three-dimensional arc and click the "Move" tool. Hold "Alt" or "Option" on the keyboard to copy the arc as you click and drag it with the "Move" tool.
Select the copied three-dimensional arc and click the "Rotate" tool. Rotate the copied three-dimensional arc 180 degrees. Select the rotated, copied three-dimensional arc, click the "Move" tool and click and drag the bottom endpoint of the copied arc to the top endpoint of the original arc.
Select both arcs and click the "Move" tool. Hold down the "Alt" or "Option" key and copy the two arcs vertically, attaching the spiral endpoints to create the spring.
Click the "Circle" tool and draw a circle that is perpendicular to the bottom endpoint of the spiralling path.
Click the "Follow Me" tool in the tool bar, select the circle and place your cursor over the spiralling path. Left-click the mouse and the spring will be complete.
Tips and warnings
- Create screws and helices by changing the circle face to another profile for extrusion.
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