# Thread: Best way to model a steel tension cable?

1. ## Best way to model a steel tension cable?

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Hi,
I'm familiar with basic solid modelling for walls, roofs etc. but for my project at the moment I have a concrete wall with a number of suspended platforms held up by 45 degree steel tension cables.
I dont know much about curves and pipes and things...

Do you know the easiest way to model a steel tension cable with some form of connecting eyelet at each end. Preferably the cable should look as though formed from twisted wires rather than a smooth rod.

Thanks very much if you can help!

2. Something like this perhaps?

steel cable.JPG

Draw the shape of the end of the cable first. I did it by polar arraying circles so that they overlapped, then trimmed out all but the outer bits to get that "scalloped" shape. Pedit it into a polyline, then sweep it along the a path where you want the cable to be, using a "twist angle". The longer the cable, the more twist you'll need to create the illusion. What you see here was 270° on a random length line approximately 7 inches long.

3. How about using a helix? The connector at each end shouldn't be all that difficult.

4. Originally Posted by ReMark
How about using a helix? The connector at each end shouldn't be all that difficult.
Connector is nothing. Easy bit that. I tried using helix 2 different ways (see below). The one on the right was created using the shape I described above swept along a helix. The one in the middle was created by sweeping one of the single small circles along a helix, then arraying it around it's self followed by a union. Didn't come out quite right. The one on the far left was created by taking the scalloped shape, copying it every inch and rotating it 18° each time. The 18° is the angle between the center of the "hump" and the bottom of the "valley", and lofting. Still didn't look quite right. It might work, but somebody smarter than me will have to figure it out. Sweep with a twist was the easiest way I could find.
cables.jpg

5. Here's one bent round a corner. This uses a twist angle of 1080, or three full turns. The bigger twist angle you use, the more like a helix it looks.
cable.jpg

6. Here's a loop with a crimp fitting. "I'm through playin' now" as Minnie Pearl used to say.
cable.jpg

--oops...forgot the grommet. oh well--

7. Originally Posted by Jack_O'neill
--oops...forgot the grommet. oh well--

Here'ya go, Jack.wallace and grommit beat NASA.jpg

dJE

8. That's great! Thanks!!

9. Haha. Thanks jack, sweep and twist seems to work, except that with the size and length of the cables I need autocad is having a hissy fit and crashing whenever I try to manipulate them since it has to recalculate all the twists each time. I think i'll just have to use straight pipes with a texture on them or something

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Originally Posted by Posho91
Haha. Thanks jack, sweep and twist seems to work, except that with the size and length of the cables I need autocad is having a hissy fit and crashing whenever I try to manipulate them since it has to recalculate all the twists each time. I think i'll just have to use straight pipes with a texture on them or something
Yeah, it gets pretty intense mathmatically with all those spirals.

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