For a recent bit of client work, I wanted to see how feasible it would be to model a braided cable in SolidWorks, the program I've historically used for any freelance work. I'm not going to claim to be a math wizard and say that I discovered how to model this on my own. I used a tutorial found on GrabCad. It was really cool to learn how the author of that tutorial solved this problem.
I wish I had some substantially-long braided cable renderings or some that followed a bit of a random path instead of this straight cable. I admit that both SolidWorks 2014 and 2016 both crashed repeatedly upon trying to create a fit-spline to unify a series of 3D sketch splines. I also tried this on both a Mac and my PC. The workaround was ugly and laborious. Determined to not be defeated by such a task, I trudged on and created the above image in the end. I took the geometry modeled in SolidWorks and rendered it in KeyShot. The depth of field is done 'in camera', meaning in KeyShot and no post production is done to this image.
I'd love to try this again on a more powerful system... and perhaps a more stable release of SolidWorks?
For those interested, here's the awesome tutorial that explains how to model such a cable.