I've been trying to make a twisted ribbon cable using curves, the array modifier and the simple deform modifier, and I think I've come close but I just can't get the effect in the reference image.

This is the ribbon so far: enter image description here

Here are my modifier settings:

enter image description here

Here's the reference photo: enter image description here

As you can see, the cable in my .blend is not convincing and too uniform in the twist without that nice frazzled look of the reference image.

How can I achieve this?



Update: A simpler improved file has been added with a screw modifier and with the other modifiers is completely flexible and editable. I did not add the noise though that is easy enough to do.

enter image description here

The original answer: Complex meshes and curves can get messy very quickly and I have tried to make a simple setup here. It uses a crude mesh created from screwing some circles around a vertical line/mesh...


...and adding an array modifier.


A subsurf is added for smoothness, but I also added a noise texture to displace the mesh a bit.

noise plus displace

A new curve was created and added via the modifiers to original mesh.

curve modifier

This gives the freedom to move the mesh to the desired shape. The points of the curve can be used to manipulate the general volume with ALTS


The last part I cheated with another mesh as I think the transition can be obscured. It is duplicated to suggest more bulk and can of-course be messed with to suggest unique cables.

enter image description here

It's neither pretty or refined but hopefully gives you some ideas.

Updated file:

Orignal file:

  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely incredible. Thanks so much for finding a solution to something that perplexed me for days! But I have to ask; how did you get the circles to bend so nicely with the screw modifier? I've come up with something but it has an angle of 2498 and 512 steps...I think I might be doing something wrong here :) $\endgroup$ – lakerice Aug 3 '17 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ The screw tool (I don't think it can be called a modifier as it can only be used once) had 9 steps and 360 degrees. The Array modifier gives it the length and makes it easier for the curve modifier to deform later. $\endgroup$ – Patdog Aug 3 '17 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ Ohhh OK I see. I don't have much experience with the screw tool but I do have some with the screw modifiier. Obviously different purposes. Thanks again! $\endgroup$ – lakerice Aug 4 '17 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ To be honest forgot about the Screw modifier - probably easier! After 360 degrees use 'Iterations' to increase the length - that way you don't need the Array. The Curve modifier also seems to work fine that way. The only problem I had is that I needed to Apply the Screw modifier to create different materials. Still always more solutions, than just one ... $\endgroup$ – Patdog Aug 5 '17 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ Updated the answer and added a new file. Screw modifier was a good call - managed to keep it editable. By filling the faces in edit mode, different materials can be used without needing to apply the modifiers. $\endgroup$ – Patdog Aug 5 '17 at 21:05

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