Energy Chains

Hi there,
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
time consuming.

Anyhelp would be appreciated.
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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 application.
Bill wrote:
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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.
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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.
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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.
John H
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John H

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