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Does any one know a way to animate a bicycle chain. I've puzzled over this for some time. I even tried placing a bone in each link with not much luck.
All the other parts are working fine, but it just looks silly with the chain not moving.


Hi Camillo,

There's two ways to do this, it's a bit tricky at first since each method thinks outside the box. But both methods are in the forum here somewhere too, try to search for 'chain'. I'll just do a real quick summary below because I'm sure to get some steps wrong without reviewing step by step.

Method #1 - the distorted circle:
In general, the idea is you make a model that's a perfect circle shape with the chain pieces arranged along the edge of the circle. You add two bones in the middle, one just for rotating, the other attached to all the CPs in the chain, one bone has to be a parent of the other, I forget which. Then you create an Action, and a distortion object, and you distort this circle into your chain shape. Now in the Chor you add the circle chain model, drop the Action on it to distort it into a chain shape, then just rotate the rotate bone, it will rotate like a simple circle but constrain itself to the distorted chain shape. This method is the easiest, but has the problem that your chain links will get slightly distorted as they go around corners, so it works better for belts than chains.

Method #2 - the double path:
Have each chain link follow a path in the shape of the chain. The trick here is you need to have the path twice as long as normal, so if your path is a circle, have the path wrap itself around the circle shape twice, I separate them by a pixel or two so you can zoom in and see each section of spline as needed. This way, each chain link you contrain to the path can complete the path using only 50% Ease in an Action instead of 100%. This gives you the room to add all the chain links without bunching up at the end (which is what happens when you have to use 100% Ease to get to the end of the chain).

Again, this is just an overview! Try digging into each discussion on the forum and if you are stuck, I'll try to help further. smile.gif

smile.gif Thanks Jim,

I could not seem to find any others from the forum search. Maybe I didn't do it right. Your help has put my thinking into a new direction. I,ll try the doudle wrapped path with 50% ease. I was trying a single wrapped path with 100%.

I'll post again if I Still can't get results.

Somewhere on the forum is the perfect bicycle chain tutorial with an included project. It is perfect. I remember playing around with it because it looked so fantastic. I hope it isn't "lost". I suppose stuff does get archived and this would have been quite a long time ago.


did boolean search +chain +bike
That's it John!

Yes this solution is fantastic. I especially like the "sagging" loose chain effect. I can't remember exactly what I used it for, but I recall "reverse engineering" it for another project I had at the time. It might have been early early... early... in the TWO project when I was working with chains and gears for the workshop set.

Thanks a lot John

Just what I needed. This is great to have so many people to help out.

Thanks again.

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