Flexible hose? (file attached... Link corrected...Someone help!)

Ok gang…

Looking for some help or tutes on flexible hose. I have heard of using bones and weight painting for this but haven’t found much in a way of tutorial… Theeth had a post with a link to a tute but it was broken…

I have also read both versions of this tutorial:


and it doesn’t quite work right for me… perhaps because I am trying to create a more complex hose…

Anyone have any advice or sample blends they could share???


Anyone have a tute on resticting axis of a armature or bone? Like if I was doing a robotic arm and only wanted it to be able to move forward and back…but NOT side to side???

Again… thanks for the help… trying to learn some new things :slight_smile:



Look at that and if you have any questions I’ll answer them.


Thanks Fligh%

I downloaded it and took a basic look at it… just have to dig into it better…

I just have a REALLY long and bendy flex hose on my sub project that needs to be animateable along with the sub’s robotic retrieval arm…

So I am going to have to take some time and “play” it…


I really like the top one with the curve modifiers… can there be more than two modifiers? Is there a limit? Would this method be less of a “resource hog” than bones and IKA’s?

Sorry for all the questions… this project is teaching me a LOT it would seem :stuck_out_tongue:


I don’t think it’ll be more expensive than bones. You can add as many hooks as you need, each Hook be linked to as many CV’s as you like and you can make the CV’s that they control overlap; ie: Hook 1 is linked to CV’s 1,2 & 3, Hook 2 is linked to 3, 4 & 5 etc…

If it’s a very long hose and you only need to control (animate) the two ends (I assume one end will be attatched to the sub) you could experiment with SoftBodies (but that would be a lot more expensive).


If it’s a very long hose and you only need to control (animate) the two ends (I assume one end will be attatched to the sub) you could experiment with SoftBodies (but that would be a lot more expensive).

I’ve been playing around with this lately myself and so far the closest I can get is a tentacle that acts like it’s weightless. The setup is a CurveCircle as BevOb on a subdivided, softbodied Bezier curve with hooks at both ends. It’s too squishy and organic looking yet, but if I get anything that looks like a pressurized rubber hose I’ll definitely let you know. Btw with the beveled profile, the softbody calculations are remarkably fast on my setup.

Hey Fligh%

why is it that when I add the curve modifier to my mesh it switches rotation?

How do I get it to line back up with the initial curve?

I tried to [tab] into edit mode and that didn’t seem to work…


Select the Mesh and goto F7 and change the Track Axis.

CD38, thanks for posting that, it made me go experiment and, yes, it’s not that expensive. It bakes in about 20 secs and adds nothing to render time. Here’s a quick, unbaked sample.




I think I got that… and THANKS!

now I am trying to use a texture to give the tube a ridge… like a vacuum hose… how do I get it to “follow” the tube even around the complex bends???

I tried “tube” but it didn’t quite work right…

gotta a suggestion for that???


Use something like Wood (bands) mapped to Nor, set the Noise very low, use T to scale it smaller and in the MapInput tab set everything to Y. (won’t work if the hose Object is coiled).

Or UVMap a striped image onto a small part of one end with the rest of the hose OUTSIDE the image plane so the mapping extends. Then add that image to a Material mapped to Nor.


Hey Fligh% and everyone else…

I have been trying to work with this flexible hose thing and I think I am doing something wrong…

I have a file to look at…


the robotic arm must be able to extend fully and retract… and swing from the center post from straight forward to 270 degrees to one side…

I am just getting confused and frustrated and know I am missing something VERY simple here…

Thanks for the help…


I can’t open that link.

Say did you model that fire engine on the district’s home page? It looks familiar.


Seems our server doesn’t recognize .blend files… so I put it in a zip folder for you…

the link above should work now…

Yep I did the firetruck on the main page and all the graphics etc for the site… I have to justify “blendering” during my planning periods :wink:


You need an Armature to animate the arm. This might help:



Once you’ve done that you can constrain the Hooks from the hose to it and tweak it from there.


So you are saying it should be this way instead???

With bones???


Ok… I can handle that… I did it both ways just in case…

but I guess I don’t get the constraints…

How do the bones make the hooks work better???


Good setup of the armature and arm mesh. There are several ways to make the hose follow the arm. I tried replacing the last part of the hose with a subdivided Bezier curve to which I applied a circular BevOb. Add Hook empties to the curve’s control vertices at the points where the hose would attach rigidly to the arm (had to guess there). Then vertex-parent these hooks to the appropriate places in the arm mesh. You might need some weak copy-rotation constraints on the hooks to make it look right.

I imagine you could also use a string of B-bones with an IK solver, and I think Project Orange used yet another approach in Elephants Dream for the cables that plugged themselves in and out of the wall; try searching some of Toni’s blog entries. Basically the approach you take depends on the final look you want.

Edit: I don’t understand Toni’s blog entry on his script for the cables. Let’s forget I brought it up!


I think that a hose is not very different from a rope, so you could give a look at my winch tutorial and demo movie, using the Curve deform function. The tutorial uses the old way, but it is not very different from the cureve deform modifier.




See if that works for you.