View Full Version : Rigging a Chain fixed at two points

07 July 2011, 05:26 PM
Hello Fellow Riggers!

I am working on a heavy Industrial Model, and as a part of its operation there is a set of chains that are fixed at two end points. During the machine's operation, these two endpoints come closer together and the chain that is connected dangles in between the two endpoints. Then when the machine is ending its operation, the two points space apart and the chain is pulled until it is almost taut between the end points.

I am looking to mimic this behavior when I animate these chains. I've done some digging around on Spline IK, however I don't think it is truly an IK Chain. Sure, I can manipulate the control points, but I can't pull the end of the chain close to the beginning of the chain and get the results I want without a load of manual key framing.

I looked at using an HI IK Solver and while it gets the opposite behavior that I want, it does not allow me to pull the center of the chain downward to get the shape that I want.

I attempted to combine both of the above and while I think I am closer, it's still not right.

I am looking for any help, advice, references, etc. from anyone out there as to how to get something close to this behavior. I want to rule out the use of Dynamics as I want to be able to interact with the chain as I animate the machine, but I want something that I can control with a few Control curves.

I am using 3DS Max Design 2012. Any and all help would be appreciated. THank you very much in advance.


07 July 2011, 06:43 PM
check out Paul Neale's masterclass - the flexy tube knee section might give you some ideas

link: (

07 July 2011, 08:37 PM
Paul Hormis has a pretty sweet way of doing this with cloth if you're using max. Check it out (

07 July 2011, 01:28 AM
Stretchy splineIK will work.

07 July 2011, 08:47 PM
Thank you all for the great ideas!

I took a look at Paul Neale's Masterclass and it gave me some wonderful ideas for other mechanical components to rig.

Actually, I found that the MassFX system within Max does a bang on job of simulating the chains as they move through the space. However, the chains are quite heavy and the simulation seems to want to make them fly around like glitter.

I do know that I will have to tweak some variables around, but when I animate the model and compare the chains to the references I've been given of the equipment in real life ... it's pretty spot on, and it wasn't hard to set up. I just have to make them heavier.

Thanks again for the links!


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07 July 2011, 08:47 PM
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