SketchUp community: Make physical site models fast

Slicer3: Make physical site models fast

Making physical site models was the bane of my architecture school existence. The photocopying, the tracing, the hundreds of dollars spent on wasted reams of chipboard -- I can smell the spray mount just thinking about it. Ugh.
I recently came upon Slicer3, a Ruby plugin for SketchUp by TIG that's so useful and so easy to grasp that I couldn't wait to write about it. What it does is simple: Given a piece of geometry, Slicer3 slices it up. You tell it what spacing to use, how thick the slices should be and which direction to cut, and it does the rest. For turning a piece of digital terrain into a physical model, it's a godsend.
Take a look at what I was able to do with Slicer3:

Start with a terrain surface, then make it a solid (I use the Line tool) and group it.

Choosing X for "Slice Orientation" produces slices that are perpendicular to the X axis.

Specify your units in the Spacing and Thickness fields.

Entering the same value for Spacing and Thickness (and choosing Z for Slice Orientation) yields a traditional contour model.

Some things you should know about this awesome script:
  • Slicer3 is free; you can download it from the Ruby Library Depot
  • To install it, just drop it in your Plugins folder.
  • This SketchUcation thread provides some nice discussion and examples.
  • This Pushpull Bar post is also very informative.
  • For this script to work, the thing you want to slice has to be solid (watertight) and either a group or a component.
  • Slicer3 doesn't automatically scale your model for you; you'll have to do that part yourself.

                 Ph.D. in Technologies for the Exploitation
                 of the Cultural Heritage .
                 Senior Lecturer in the Dept. of Architecture

                 College of Engineering , University of Mosul 
                 Mosul - Iraq .

Tel :           +964 (0)770 164 93 74