I am trying to create a working cable car for an animation I am doing for school. I am new to blender and am just trying to figure things out as I go. I have attached a screenshot of the modelled cable car as well as the tower but I'm not sure how to go about getting the mechanics of it all to work.

enter image description here enter image description here

I know I need to model a cable and the wheels that make the cable move (like the one in this photo) but once I've done that I'm not quite sure how to go about getting the whole movement/system to work.

enter image description here

I would ideally like the carriage to pull on the cable a little to add to the realism but it will mostly just move smoothly with little to no movement. Here are a few reference videos of how I would like it to move:

aerial view wide view going over tower

I've tried looking it up but I'm a little overwhelmed by all the information because nothing I could find seems to line up with when I am trying to do. I would appreciate any help I can get :) (I'm not the best at explaining so let me know if I missed something out or wasn't clear)

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It depends what kind of motion do you need to replicate - how close up view ... From far distance it is just cabin motion from A to B ... Closer you see wheels rotation ... In very close up look you see how cabin hanger is loaded into wheel mechanism with all click cabel and vibrations ... But don't expect animation based on simulation of wheel rotation that by pressure pushing cable forward ... Ideally if you can attach a reference video showing what you want to replicate. $\endgroup$
    – vklidu
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Eva, i really don't want to frustrate you and i like people with "high" goals - but sometimes a too high goal might frustrate the person itself. Because of your third photo i assume you want a "realistic as possible" solution and not just "moving a cabin from a to b". But because you are a Blender beginner and because just every single property change of every object or physics settings can make such a huge difference in the result of every simulation i would recommend to try something easier. I have around a half year experience in Blender now and i would not try that... $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ @vklidu I would like the wheel mechanism to spin because I will be having close up shots. I have also added videos to the post so hopefully that helps $\endgroup$
    – Eva
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 12:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Chris because it is for school I have to make the cable car, I did not realise at the time the complexities of it all $\endgroup$
    – Eva
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


Your reference video didn't help too much ... it is not close up to see working mechanism.

The only one visible motion is Cabin (cable and wheels are not noticeable for their distance from camera or design -flat design). So for the most simple way to animate Cabin keyframe start/end location to get illusion of movement.

enter image description here

For a bit more details you can animate wheels rotation by a driver (instead of keyframe).
Select first wheel and into Y Rotation field type #frame*0.2

enter image description here

To animate other wheels right-click on current driver (violet field) and choose Copy as New Driver. Select second wheel and right-click Paste Driver. Select third and fourth wheel and choose Paste Driver too.

If you need to change speed - select the first wheel, click into violet field and change 0.2 to something else. Because other drivers are copy of first one, they stay synced.

enter image description here

To make cabin more natural in motion ... hanging or swinging on cable you would have to use Armature or Rigid Body simulation.

Armature can be animated by Spring Bones addon (that is easier to set, but I got some issues from time to time. Much more stable (but more difficult to setup) is to create "three-edged" object, constraint > Follow Path to cable, simulate movement with Cloth Sim, parent Empties to each vertex and than those Empties use as Target for Bone Constraint > Stretch to ... detailed explanation can be found here

enter image description here

When I saw one of my older post it can be done easier ... Parent Cabin directly to vertices of Cloth Sim object.

enter image description here

  • Create this "dummy" object from three triangles.
  • Select vertices of top triangle, create a Vertex Group and Assign them.
  • Add Cloth sim to this "dummy" and under properties Shape > Pin choose created vertex group.
  • Select Cabin than dummy, switch to edit mode, select only three vertices of bottom triangle and Parent Ctrl+P. Do the same for holder part with middle triangle.
  • Hanger parent as object to dummy object. Add Constraint > Follow Path to dummy with Target Cable object (be sure origin of those objects is at the same location) and hit Animate path.

enter image description here (it swings too much, it is for illustration of effect ... if you will animate start slowly it should be fine.)

  • $\begingroup$ An excellent answer! Btw, can you also tell how to model such beautiful wheels? $\endgroup$
    – CoolCoder
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks and sorry :) ... it is not a part of Q, search for car wheel modeling, in general this is just a 12sided Circle and Extruded (E+S) few times ... plus Mirror and Subdivision modifier imgur.com/7KM4Lhg just for a wheel preview nothing serious :) $\endgroup$
    – vklidu
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 8:51

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