Tapered Spiral

Hi! Brand new here, and fairly new to Shapr3D. I’m trying to make a tapered spiral. I’m trying to recreate a chameleon’s tail shape. I’ll include pics below. I got as far as revolving a circle around axis to the amount of revolutions and length, but when I went to scale or change one of the ending circle profiles, it didn’t work… any way on how to achieve the chameleon tail? I’ll include pics below. Thank you.


Hi Kyler,

welcome to the forum.

Here is a way to do it:

  • create a first 90° segment of the spiral using guided loft tool, with the end of the 1/4 turn being a scaled version of the origin. In my exemple, I used 120%.
  • then duplicate the body and scale it by the same amount (120% in my exemple)
  • finaly, use the align tool to place the second segment at the right position
  • repeat the process as needed.

(to speed up duplication, you can union the first 2 segments and duplicate it, with a scaling factor raised to the power of 2. In my exemple, 120% means scaling by 1.2, so for 2 segments, it means scaling by 1.2 * 1.2 = (1.2)^2 = 1.44, so 144%. Then you can union 4 segments, with a new scaling factor of 1.2 * 1.2 * 1.2 * 1.2 = (1.2)^4 = 2.0736 = 207.36%)


Here’s another way using Sweep and Scale.


Please allow me to apologise in advance. I tried to create the Chameleon Tail using various methods but ended up with this mess… I just don’t know what went wrong! :astonished:


Wow! Thank you for the quick reply and the tutorial! I appreciate that so much! :muscle:t2::sunglasses:

Hey! Thank you for this tutorial as well! I can’t believe I didn’t think to scale the sweep on sections. I did tried it by sweeping that same spiral I drew with Spline and then once swept, tried scaling the one end smaller… I never worked out. But thanks a lot more sense. You guys are awesome! Ty!! :sunglasses:

It may not be a chameleon tail but the final product looks dope :fire:

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I was actually in the process of creating a video demonstrating two methods but my kids were arguing and fighting with each other so I set my laptop to one side for a while.

When I returned, @PEC and @TigerMike had already beat me to it and responded with both methods! :roll_eyes:

I decided to turn my frustration into humour and created the weird snake just for fun :snake: :rofl:

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Hello TigerMike, sorry to bother you again, but may I ask how you were able to sweep in sections? After I spline the shape of the tail I want, it sweeps the whole thing, rendering a misshaped tail. Your’s is perfectly even. Please help if you can. Ty!

Greetings Ty,
No bother at all. Note that the spiral sketch consists of ever enlarging 90° circle segments. Sweep works with one segment at a time. After sweeping a 90° curve, I scale the end face by ~130%. I then use the enlarged face for a new 90° sweep.


I love this demonstration of the enlarging spiral sweep!

I’m a new user, and have been trying to figure out how one would model an ammonite. Your method would get me most of the way there, but I can’t figure out how to get the ridges along the spiral. Maybe a series of varying sized lofts? Do you have any suggestions?

For reference, here’s an ammonite:

Greetings @Cynd3d and welcome to the forum.
This demonstrates one way that might work for you. Also note that I just eyeballed the scaling for the basic spiral and for the rings.

The ring is initially a 180° revolved spline. I scaled down the bottom a bit, then did a mirror and union. This resulted in a revolved body with a taper similar to a ring on your finger. After that it was a series of copy rotates and scaling followed by a union of all parts. Let me know if any questions.

Others may offer a different technique. Good luck.


Oh, that is a much better way than I was thinking of doing it! You can really customize the profile of the ridge. I will play with that method and see what I come up with.

Thanks so much!

Very clever methods lads, well done.

Thanks again @tigermike! I did some playing around and though my file is by no means perfect, it was good enough to look very cool. So I decided to go ahead and 3D print (resin) a handful of them. Even made a couple into pendants just for fun.


Great job! They look fabulous! Love it!