I want to model wire wound around a square u-shaped core (like a horse shoe). To do this I need to create a non-circular helix that will follow a u-shaped path. How can I do this and is it even posible?
That will work for your initial helix, but He needs to make a non circular helix!!
My method starts the same, then you create a swept surface along the same trajectory. The 2nd surface represents the shape of the part to be wrapped! Then create a datum curve using the intersect of the 2 surfaces, and use this as your trajectory for a swept blend.
One problem is that you may have to change your models accuracy level (SETUP/ACCURACY) to a finer value!
I am trying to send you an example part, but I work on solaris and have lost mapping from my NT server. As soon as I get this fixed I will send you a part which is probably exactly what you need!
Extrude a surface in the required shape. Then offset a plane and create formed curve so that the curve wraps around the surface. The length of the formed curve should be calculated using the formula: a^2+b^2=c^2, where a is the perimeter of the surface, b is the pitch and c is the hypotenuse. Multipy c with n(no. of turns) to get the length of the curve. (You have to give CSYS while creating formed curve). Then use swept blend with the curve as the trajectory.