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Spiral Modeling

(Score 4.22 out of 5 after 9 Votes)
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Go to Create > CV Curve Tool > Option Box and reset the settings. In the Front view create a curve, starting in the origin, with 5 units between each CV point. Hold down the x key on your keyboard when placing the CV's to snap to the grid. For this tutorial I will use a total of 6 CV points.

Then go to Create > NURBS Primitives > Circle > Option Box. Reset the settings and hit Create.
With the Nurbs Circle selected, shift select the curve. Enter the Modeling menu set and go to Surfaces > Extrude > Option Box. Reset the settings and hit Extrude. You should now have extruded the circle along the curve you made in step 1.

Grab the Nurbs Circle and move it about 3 units in the x axis. The extruded surface will move as well because of contruction history, but it's important that you ONLY move the circle. In the circle's outputs you'll have an extrude1 node. Click it to expand it and set Use Component Pivot to Component Pivot and Use Profile Normal to off. Nothing will happen yet, but it will when you increase the Rotation value.

Speaking of the Rotation value. Try setting it to 360. Now the extruded surface will make a spiral that goes one time around the curve. If you try moving the circle along the x axis you will see that its position will increase the circumference of the spiral. Keeping the circle in positive 3 in the x axis will give you a result like the image to the right.

Now try setting the Rotation value of the extrude to 5000. The extruded surface will now rotate about 14 times around the curve. A problem though is that it's looking a bit flat. To fix this problem you should rotate the circle 90 degrees in the x axis.

And that is, as they say, that. Now just play with the settings of the extrude1 node, try moving, scaling and rotating the nurbs circle for different results.
For a phone cord for instance; Try scaling the nurbs circle down a bit, and moving it closer to the curve. If you want the cord to have a more rectangular cross section just tweak the CV's of the circle.

After some fast tweaking I came up with this result.
Happy modeling!

If you are interested; here is a zip'ed scene-file used in the tutorial. You can download WinZip from winzip.com to unpack it. Enjoy! :)

Extra: Try pulling the CV's in the curve you made in step 1. The spiral will stretch like a regular phone cord. Nice huh?

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