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Q: How to create continuous, variable length 2D helix spirals in Illustrator?

Community Beginner ,
Apr 03, 2021 Apr 03, 2021

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Hi!

I would like to make something like this, where I could create a cylindrical, screw type helix spiral with constant radius by simply drawing a line or defining a polygon (start with a trapezium, quadrilateral, or rectangle) which is then filled with a continuous, single line spiral. I'd rather not have to assemble individual 

mthree_0-1617487902350.png

Ideally, I would be able to specify the radius, pitch, and if the helix is right or left handed, and then the number of individual helix turns would increase or decrease depending upon the length of the line or shape. If based on a drawn line, I'd like to adjust could adjust the amplitude of each spiral. If based on a trapezium / quadrilateral (bottom image) it would fill to the edges of the object.

 

Also, for a spiral filled into a trapezium (no parallels) with curved sides (top image), I would like to have the size of the spiral adjust to be larger or smaller at the edge of the line.

 

Thanks for any suggestions or tips!

TOPICS
Draw and design, How to, Tools

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Apr 05, 2021 Apr 05, 2021

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 04, 2021 Apr 04, 2021

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You may create a pattern brush, apply it to your paths and use the Width tool to make the variable widths.

 

By the way, which version of Illustrator are you using?

 

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 04, 2021 Apr 04, 2021

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Thanks, I took a look at that option -- applying an effect (e.g., Zig Zag) on a line -- but unable to achieve the effect, nor see how to automatically generate a variable spiral that would fill a trapezium, particularly with a variable edge (top diagram). I'm using Illustrator CS6, versions 16.0.3 (perpetual) and 25.2.1 (CC)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2021 Apr 05, 2021

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I didn't mean the Zig Zag effect. I was talking about creating a custom pattern brush and using the Width tool.

 

Are you familiar with creating custom brushes?

 

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2021 Apr 05, 2021

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Thanks - and apologies: I'm familiar with the steps to create a customized pattern brush, tho' far from being an expert at it.

 

Where I run into a challenge is how to more automatically create the corkscrew itself: one approach I took was to use the Zig Zag effect on a line to generate the turns. That didn't work as well as planned, so I used the Spiral tool to reform / create a crude cylindrical spiral along these lines...

mtrois_0-1617662399357.png

I'll have to crispen the edited selection on my crude repeating spiral, to better merge the anchor points and avoid any gaps in the pattern brush... 

mtrois_1-1617662468861.png

With this approach, I'm somewhat limited and unable to achieve the effect when I can deform / reform the edges of the spiral. 

  

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2021 Apr 05, 2021

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2021 Apr 05, 2021

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Thanks for the pointer. Continuing to play around with a customized pattern brush to see how I can fill a shape to its boundaries with the resulting spiral. 

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