Chain Drive

3D render of factory-like scene with gears, chains and cogs in a dark setting with fiery hot spots in deep perspective created in Cinema 4D.

 [Beginner-Intermediate] [Requires Mograph/Cloner Object/Fracture Object]

In this 5 Part Series on creating a Chain Drive, we’ll explore the advantages of creating our rig using Spline and Extrude Objects, giving us greater ease while building our Width and Speed controls.

We will also utilize the powerful built-in Animation Parameter of the Cloner Object, another advantage to using Splines.

Xpresso will be at the heart of streamlining the Rig Speed, the Width Controls, etc., but if you’ve never used Xpresso before, don’t worry…I will go into much detail on how to set up our Chain Drive Rig.

Along with Xpresso, we will make use of the Time Effector, the Fracture Object, Moinstances, the Point Node and other powerful features of Cinema 4D so that when we’re done, all you’ll have left to do is create some awesome materials and start animating.

 (You can download the starting splines from bottom of this post, but it is not necessary as we will create the splines in the tutorial)

Part 1 

In this first part we’ll examine the pitfall of using the Spline Deformer (the most logical choice) for our chain. Then we’ll set up our big gear and start building our first link based on the gear.

Part 2

 Here we’ll finish up the Link Unit” which is actually two links, one narrow and one wide, to be used in our Cloner.

Part 3  

 In Part 3 we will add our second gear and then create our guide spline the chain will ride along. After we’ve modeled that, it is time to go through the somewhat tedious process of making sure our chain rides perfectly on our gears. (It’s not that bad!) Then, we begin fleshing out our links and gears with Extrude Objects.

Part 4

 We’ll touch on a bit of Xpresso in Part 3, but Part 4 is where we really take advantage of the powerful Xpresso system, especially the Rangemapper Node. We’ll set up a Control to adjust the Speed of the chain drive, and another to manage the Width of the chain and gears so the rig will be highly customizable.

Part 5

 At this point, mostly everything is done, but we need to add some realism to the rig by creating an automatic chain slap setup. And we’ll use that to also give some tension on the chain for our third gear.

Download “Chain Drive Start Splines.c4d” – Downloaded 588 times – 29.87 KB

Download “Chain Link Profile.png” – Downloaded 539 times – 61.19 KB



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