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I'm trying to recreate steel brake cables coming out of a box. I tried to do it using the particle system, but I'm running into a couple of issues.

The ends of the cables are intersecting and I also tried to add variation in when the cables would stop, but that made some cables smaller than others.

Any tips on how I could make this?

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One way out is to use rigid body. Add a cylinder and scale one of its bases up. Next, make it a passive rigid body and, in the outliner, click the camera icon next to the cylinder so that it's not rendered. All your cables should be active rigid bodies put inside the cylinder.

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