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Animating Wire Rope & Pulleys.....
show user profile  peterjung
Hi there!

I have not done any animation for a while and I am really scratching my head where to start with this one. If anyone can give any tips on how to proceed I would be very grateful!

This is a simple representation of a mechanical machine. The difficult part for me is that it involves wire ropes and pulleys. See the picture below.

Part A and Part B can both move horizontally backwards and forwards.

Part C is fixed.

The red line represents the two wire ropes.

The two end plates at each extreme end are fixed.

The wire ropes are anchored at the points indicated by the arrows.

I can’t begin to fathom how to animate the wire ropes as Parts A and B move?

Any help!

Thanks in advance!

read 516 times
12/2/2014 10:56:48 AM (last edit: 12/2/2014 10:56:48 AM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
If A is fixed to the little wheel next to it and B is fixed to the one that appears attached to it, as shown in the following, then when A moves to the right then B will also move..


The wire going to C would have to be tensioned/spooled though..

Website | Blog | Contact | Vimeo

read 503 times
12/2/2014 11:37:23 AM (last edit: 12/2/2014 11:39:25 AM)
show user profile  peterjung
Hi ScotlandDave

Thanks for the're almost right but the small pulley on the bottom is attached (and moves with) Part B. i.e.

I know how it all moves in real life but getting max to reflect this is my headache. I was thinking about path constraints along the path of the wire but the actual shape/location of the path will change as A & B move forward and backwards horizontally?
read 489 times
12/2/2014 2:17:58 PM (last edit: 12/2/2014 2:17:58 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
There could be an easy way to cheat most of this effect by not actually animating the rope (rather warping it so it always fits where it's meant to fit while the A and B move), animate a tileable texture instead to make it appear like it's moving.
read 487 times
12/2/2014 2:25:11 PM (last edit: 12/2/2014 2:25:11 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
Yeah just use splines, constrain the end points to their fixed locations, animate A+B and animate the wheels turning to give the impression of the wires being pulled through..

Website | Blog | Contact | Vimeo

read 472 times
12/2/2014 3:30:36 PM (last edit: 12/2/2014 3:30:36 PM)
show user profile  peterjung
Ok guys.... many thanks for the input...I will have a go at least I have some direction to go in now!!

Thanks again!
read 467 times
12/2/2014 3:58:23 PM (last edit: 12/2/2014 3:58:23 PM)
show user profile  Garp
Path Deform:

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Both A and B move in the same direction, with B moving half the distance A moves.
On a rope with a fixed end that doubles back on a pulley, the pulley moves half the distance of the free end, or the free end moves twice the distance of the pulley.

read 462 times
12/2/2014 4:15:42 PM (last edit: 12/2/2014 4:24:02 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
That's cool. Never tested moving the spline after it's path deformed (for some reason, don't know why). Works well.

You could add an extra level of "realism" using this if you made extra verts in the middle of each line and animated them slightly downwards whenever the machine pushes (or pulls) so show a slight elasticity to the rope.
read 456 times
12/2/2014 4:27:58 PM (last edit: 12/2/2014 4:27:58 PM)
show user profile  peterjung

You the man! That is very cool.

Thank you. Lots of new things here to learn for me.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed!


read 434 times
12/3/2014 5:12:42 AM (last edit: 12/3/2014 5:12:42 AM)
show user profile  Boomer
If you're looking even more PathDeform features - check this out:

Lots functionality, including autolength settings....

Cheers,   Mathew Kaustinen

read 403 times
12/5/2014 5:22:12 AM (last edit: 12/5/2014 5:22:12 AM)
show user profile  peterjung

Thank you for posting these links. These are very good and are teaching me a lot!

read 393 times
12/5/2014 9:47:56 AM (last edit: 12/5/2014 9:47:56 AM)
show user profile  khamski

read 392 times
12/5/2014 10:14:09 AM (last edit: 12/5/2014 10:14:09 AM)
show user profile  peterjung

I have been trying to replicate what you show – however I can’t quite see what you are doing in the steps after you create the plane and then convert it to an editable poly. Could you may explain a little?

Thanks in advance

read 391 times
12/5/2014 11:18:54 AM (last edit: 12/5/2014 11:18:54 AM)
show user profile  Garp
You mean with the plane itself or with the pathdeform and the spline?

read 390 times
12/5/2014 11:42:52 AM (last edit: 12/5/2014 11:42:52 AM)
show user profile  peterjung
The part where you "Connect" and add segments is confusing me. When I do this I only seem to have just the connect button - I don't see an option type box that you show.

From there I get lost. I am using Max Design 2013 but I suspect it's not that but something I am doing wrong....

read 388 times
12/5/2014 11:55:29 AM (last edit: 12/5/2014 11:55:29 AM)
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