Relearning the 3-D modeling world – Amelia Fisher

Google Sketch up
Google Sketch-Up logo

One of the only reasons I decided I wanted to become an engineer was because of my love for 3-D modeling. I discovered my enjoyment for it back in 9th and 10th grade when we designed 3-D objects on Auto CAD and Google Sketch-Up. However, I’d recently taken a gap year of sorts where I hadn’t done any 3-D modeling whatsoever for a year. Then when given this assignment I decided, with my past success with CAD and Sketch-Up that I’d take charge of creating the 3-D model for our group. Seeing as I’d most recently used Sketch-Up and the computers in our portable’s lab didn’t have Auto CAD installed onto them, I started my 3-D modeling relearning process with Google Sketch-Up.

When I started out, the blank document felt sort of daunting. I was worried I wouldn’t remember anything and that the same 3-D modeling process that I’d once been almost a natural to, would be not nearly as entertaining as I remembered. However, the muscle memory in my fingers kicked in and I knew my cause wasn’t completely lost. I was proud of myself for remembering lots of the keyboard short cuts and the mouse technique to move around the screen that had taken me months to master before. Each new trick/tool was a treat to remember; for starting a new line, a for arc, left click down for revolving around an object.

Sketch-Up Short Cuts
Sketch-Up Short Cuts

Once I started to remaster the basics, I began on the actual 3-D design of the insole for a high heeled shoe that my team, Backwards in High Heels, designed. I started out looking at a couple different sketches that my team had hand drawn. I took the top two designs that we’d chosen as a team with our decision matrix and started modeling a single base for both designs.

Creating a 3-D image in the shape of a foot was a challenge at first but using the dimensions of the average US Women’s size 8 shoe, I created a base to work off of. I then took advantage of the copy and paste ability of the Sketch-Up program and created designs on top of the template I’d created in order to match the designs we’d created.

Design #1 drawn on Sketch-Up
Design #1 drawn on Sketch-Up
sara sketch
Design #2 drawn on Sketch-Up


The designing process was fun to re-learn and I’m glad I got the opportunity to re-experience the 3-D modeling process just to have a small reminder as to why I enjoyed engineering in the first place. I’m proud of the two designs I created on Sketch-Up but I’m also looking forward to creating a potentially more realistically drawn design on Auto-CAD as well.

To create your own Sketch-Up design you can download the program by following the link found here.

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