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How to Design a Wire Rope with ZWCAD

July 12, 2012

In ZWCAD, there are two new features called Sweep and Loft, which offer you convenient methods for creating 3D solid models. In this blog, I`ll introduce how to design a wire rope with the Sweep feature.

First create a new drawing in top view, and draw three intersecting straight line (with the same length) of 60 degrees. Make sure that the intersection is the middle point of the straight lines. After that, draw four tangent circles along one of lines. Four circles are of the same size, as shown below.

In another view, draw a straight line that is perpendicular to the top view. Ensure that the pedal shares the same point with the middle point of the three straight lines.

Now, let`s begin to use the Sweep feature. Select three straight lines that drew on top view as the object to sweep, and then select the vertical line as the sweep path. Note that wire rope is a twisted object, so be sure to set a twisted angle. In Sweep command, set the "Twist" option to a proper value.

Use the “Explode” command to explode the stretched entity, and keep the outside curves. For the convenience of operation, you can move the curves to another layer, and set them to not display or freeze at any time.

Back to the top view, and draw three intersecting straight line of 60 degrees in the outer circle. The line length is two times of the circle diameter. As illustrated below.

Now select these three straight lines as the object to sweep, and then select the curves as the sweep path. Again, Use the “Explode” command to explode the entity, and keep the curves. These curves indicate the wire rope.

Back to the top view, because of the sweeping, you`ll find that three straight lines lean to the sweep path a little bit, it doesn’t matter. Copy six circles to the end points of the three straight lines. In addition to the original circle, there are seven circles now. They indicate the cores of the rope.

Select seven circles as the object to sweep, and then select each circle center as the sweep path. After sweeping, you`ll see a rope model with seven cores.

Select the middle point of the original three straight lines as the center point, and then create polar array in circumference direction. The outside core of 7 * 7 rope is finished.

Now let`s design the central core of the rope. First, to make your computer work faster, you can freeze the outside core of the rope. By using the same way above, you can design the central core of the rope.

At last, set the rope color. Now, a wire rope is finished.

During the design of the wire rope, I used Sweep feature a lot. To get a better result, you can set a consistent twisted angle when sweeping. It`s normal that your computer work slower when sweeping, because the surface model is more complex. You can also use Sweep feature to design other useful solid model, such as spring, thread, etc. As long as you can master how to use it, any handy job could be finished.

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