Modeling Helix Wrapped Flexible Tubing

Ok. First post here, so be gentle…

Not new to SU, but being a very self-reliant and self taught kind of guy, I just haven’t reached out to forums like this for help. I humbly bow my head now, and say “uncle’”…

Trying to model a section of flexible tubing (shown below), in this case the type used for dust collection in my wood shop. I’ve scoured YT, watched Aaron’s YT tutorials on helix’s and the like, found a bunch of extensions that make great helix’s and/or tubes (but nothing that I could use), looked through this forum (which brought up a similar question back in '15, but didn’t answer my need), yada, yada. Nothing that I found useful. The other thing that I would like to do is to mimic the way that the material in-between the helix looks, where a side view might resemble scalloping.

I’m just looking for a best practice to model this. Since this is “flexible” tubing, straight shots stretches from point A to point B are not likely, so I would think I would need to create a center path and build around it. but that’s just what I’m thinking at this point.

Thanks for making this far into this post!


I would make a smooth tube and use a texture.

That’s a thought…

I agree with Anssi that a texture would be the better approach but if you really must create all that geometry, you could use an old plugin called Helix Along Curve to do it. Just be aware it can quickly create enough geometry to bring SketchUp to its knees.

you could also use a “screw”-like creation technique (many on youtube) to make it realistic without texture, but as @DaveR points out the geometry will increase rapidly so maybe only use it when needed in a detail drawing.

Thanks Dave. The extensive geometry did cross my mind. Helix Along Curve was one of the extensions that I had looked at, too. All in all, I think that the texture idea that Anssi brought up (and you corroborated here) may the better way to go.

That being the case, any suggestions on the texture technique to produce this look? I would still like a translucent “feel” to it, and keeping the helical “wrap” look if possible.

BTW, Dave, greetings from a fellow Minnesotan and woodworker!

Thanks guys.

I will look around and see if I can find something suitable. I guess for my use I might consider taking the Sketchy Lines Wavy Vertical from the native Patterns collection and edit it to make the white areas a bit translucent and then use that as a new texture. That would keep it lightweight.

Greetings to you, too. I hope you are enjoying the balmy weather. You should drop me a PM some time.

BTW, your profile says you are using the free web version. Are you actually using Pro?

Ah, yep. Oversite. I am using pro.

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Updated my profile. Thanks for the heads up there. Enjoying the weather! Should be getting a heat wave of the 50’s in about a week!

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Would this work? I used the native wavy lines texture I mentioned, applied it with Fredo6’s ThruPaint to get better alignment and reduced it’s opacity. I didn’t even bother to export the texture to edit it externally.

What part of MN are you in. I’m hoping for some of that warm weather here in the SE, too.


I think that would work fine! Much appreciated! I’ll work on replicating that on my end.

I’m up in Buffalo, about 45 miles west of Minneapolis. I’ll do what I can to send some of that weather to you if we do get it, but you will probably be warmer than us anyway. As long as that white cr@p covering the golf course greens melts, I’ll take whatever we can get!

Thanks again!

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buenas tarde espero esto te ayude

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