I was wondering if anyone out there has figured out a good way to
control an IGUS style energy chain in an assembly. I would like the
chain to follow along with the assembly position of the components it
is attached to, but I can't seem to keep the assembly relations
together in any organized fashion.
I've tried to map the links of the chain to a splin, but I can't seem
to control the spline shape when the endpoint move. Moving the links
manually is not the answer as they just dont want to move as a group.
I can shift individual links slightly, then it freezes in space. Very
I recently had a similar issue and I found it was easier to do the
following. I made an assembly that consisted of the two igus end pieces
and a single tube created with a sweep. The path of the sweep was three
lines that had an equation on one line keeping the overall length of
the three equal to my igus length. Then you can just edit the sketch,
change the dimension, end everything moves smoothly. I know this isn't
exactly what you are after but it worked out pretty well in my
What I usually do with those is not worry about the mid positions -
only the end positions. I have an assy file for the whole chain assy,
and a part file for ends & one for the main chain. The main chain is
an extruded rectangle with the leg lengths controlled by dimensions &
an equation related to overall length.
The advantage of this method is that you are not trying to solve all
the links, which can be troublesome, as you have found. I generally
need to only know the volume that it takes up, and whether it will run
into the floor or something at each end.
I have had several encounters with IGUS energy chains. First off I
would like to congratulate you on deciphering their catalog. Perhaps
it is only me that finds there catalogs nearly impossible to follow.
Anyway............ the only success I have had with this is using
several configurations to show the energy chain in different positions.
It sounds as though you may be trying to use the energy chain in an
almost life like state showing individual links. My suggestion is to
abandon ship and simplify your energy chain to a simple sweep matching
the outside dimensions of the energy chain. I have done several of
these and have not been able to come up with a way to make the chain
itself truly "flexible". If anyone else knows, please share.
Look at the discussion for modelling roller chains on 19-9-06.
Exactly the same issues.
For what it's worth, I have (for the time being) given up on trying to model
them as an assembly, but have done them as a part using a
curve-driven-pattern to create the series of links.