Rigging a Spring for Coiling Animation?

So I have this spring:

I’m going to use it for a design and animations to see how plausible the designs are, but I can’t seem to rig it properly.

I first thought, “Maybe I can use Shape Keys, it is a simple animation after all.” I then realized I can’t, because the vertices won’t rotate properly, even though I did get good results with Proportional Editing set to Connected.

Next, I though, “Maybe I can do an actual Armature… It couldn’t be that difficult.” I had everything set up the way I wanted it, but then it wouldn’t deform properly; I got strange distortion.

I was about to start Weight Painting, but I stopped and thought. Perhaps I should ask about a good way to do this before I take on such a task.

Any suggestions are appreciated! Thanks in advance!

EDIT: I should mention how I’m animating it. The loop in the middle is supposed to rotate along the coils to create tension and I need a way to make the coils tighten up as the center rotates.


So I assume you modelled this spring using a curve with a bevel object? If so you can add hooks to the curve to get the distortions you need. If not then you are going to have a hard time animating this!!!

I am not near my machine to show you anything for a week, so either someone else must do this, or you can wait till I get back home.

Cheers, Clock.