Last Update: 12/14/08

In writing this tutorial I assume the reader has at least SOME knowledge in using Google Sketchup

This tutorial was made specifically for the forums at

Simple Motor Tutorial

1) Make a 3" cube (3x3x3)

2) Make the cube its own group. To do this select the entire cube. To ensure that all its faces and edges are selected right click on any part of it, go to the select menu, and click "All connected". The entire cube will now be selected. Next right click on the cube and select "Make Group".

3) Make it so the cube will not fall into oblivion when the Physics are turned on by selecting the grouped cube and going to the top menu bar for the Sketchy Physics plug-in and click on the "UI" icon. A window will pop up titled "SketchyPhysis Inspector". Check the box labeled "Staticmesh" and then close the window.

4) With that taken care of, we next need to pick the axis that our motor will spin. For this demo, we will make our motor spin on the Y axis on top of the cube. To start this off, select the motor tool(the blue circle) from the Sketchy Physics tool bar. Next find the center of the top face of the grouped cube and click once to set that as the center of the motor. Next when you drag the mouse you will see lines extending from that spot to the cursor of your mouse. We want to make a motor in the blue axis direction AKA in the vertical or Y direction so move your mouse until you see the line turn blue. It doesnt matter how long the line is. Now click once. You will now see 2 blue arrows making a circle around that spot.

5) Now that we have our motor axis set, we need to attach it to the cube so it knows what the motor "housing" will be. To do this select the grouped cube and the arrows. The arrows you will notice are already their own group. With the cube and the arrows both selected make them a group using the same method as above. Now that motor will follow where ever the cube goes

6) Next we need to make the shaft or load of the motor. To do that, find the center point of the face again. There should already be a mark there from the center of the arrows. On that center point, make a circle with a radius of 1/4". Extrude that circle to about 3". What I did for my motor was on top of that 3" shaft I made another circle with a 1/2" radius and extruded that to 1". Then on top of the rim of the 1" cylinder I made a tiny little peg. This will help you better see which way and how fast your motor is spinning.

7) With the shaft made we need to select the entire thing. The best way to do this since theres a lot more parts on it now would be to right click on any face of the shaft, go to the select menu, and then click the "All connected" option. With the entire thing still selected make it a group.

8) Now you should have 2 main groups. The first group has the cube and the physics motor. The second group is the shaft. Next we need to tell the motor what is actually going to be spinning. To do this you need to click on the "Joint Connector" icon in the Sketchy Physics tool bar. After clicking the icon hold down the control key and click once on the shaft and then once on the blue arrows. You should see some colorful boxes around them indicating they are connected to each other. You can de-select them at this point. The shaft will now go wherever the motor does. And since the motor goes where ever the cube(the motor housing) goes, you have yourself a complete motor... in the shape of a cube... To make a "can" motor just follow the same exact steps but use a cylinder instead of a cube in the first step.

9) After having done all that, you should now be able to click on the "Play/Pause physics simulation" button in the Sketchy Physics tool bar and watch your motor as it spins. When you click the play simulation button a window will pop up titled "SketchyPhysics Control Panel". From this panel you can select to speed percentage of the motor. This panel will also allow you to control the angle of servos and position of pistons and things of that nature.

10) Give it a try and see what happens! If it doesnt work properly read over this tutorial again and make sure theres nothing you missed.

NOTE: This motor will not be able to move around at all. To make it so you can drag it around, you must put something solid under it. For a quick and easy way of doing it, click on the "create solid floor" button in the Sketchy Physics Toolbar. Next youll need to remove the "staticmesh" status from the cube. To do that, select the motor/cube group and go into edit mode for that group, then inside that group select the cube group and hit the UI button again and uncheck the box. Now when you run the simulation you will be able to drag the spinning motor around the floor and toss it around and stuff. Enjoy.

Next: Controlling the values for the motor