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Is there a simple way to change the thickness of a curved tube without scaling its overall size?
E.g. scaling the minor radius of an already created torus without affecting its major radius or change the bevel width of a curve that has already been converted to a mesh.

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Yes, in edit mode you can use Alt+S to scale along vertex normals instead of from the median point.

So you can scale this...
enter image description here

To this...
enter image description here

To this...
enter image description here

This also works for bezier curves as well, even without converting to mesh.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wow, that is such a useful feature! $\endgroup$ – Keavon Nov 17 '14 at 3:13
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't working as pictured here for me. Alt + S tends to want to scale a torus into an eye shape. $\endgroup$ – user2867288 Sep 11 '16 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ @user2867288 Make sure your pivot point is not set to 3D cursor or something like that. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Sep 11 '16 at 20:14
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Try the following method.

  1. Change Mesh Select Mode to Edge
  2. Select Edge Ring
  3. Select Edge Loop
  4. Change Pivot Point to Individual origins
  5. Scale

This may seem a rather tedeous procedure, but can be used on tube with ends.

Let's go through this on the mesh below.

Before

1. Change Mesh Select Mode to Edge

Aim: To select edge loops individually.

hotkeys: Ctrl-Tab -> E SelectMode

2. Select Edge Ring

Aim: Select one edge for each edge loops.

Hotkeys: Ctrl-Alt-RMB on one of the edges

EdgeRing

3. Select Edge Loop

Aim: Select all edge loops.

Hotkeys: Ctrl-E -> P

Caution: Alt-RMB is usually used for edge loop select but cannot be for this method.

EdgeLoop EdgeLoop

4. Change Pivot Point to Individual orignis

Aim: Manipulate each edge loop individually.

Hotkeys: Ctrl-Period

IndivPivot

5. Scale

Aim: Change Size

hotkeys: S

Scale

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FYI: in more-recent versions of Blender, suggestion #1 is simply available by a "Shrink/Fatten" button on the tool pane when in Edit mode. (It is equivalent to Alt+S, as it indicates.)

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Just add the solidify modifier(Modifiers tab>Add Modifiers>Solidify) Adjust the thickness.

If you have a limited poly count just delete the internal mesh.

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