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I am trying to make a flat coil/helix out of a cylinder like this:

enter image description here

I have tried playing with the screw modifier but couldn't get anything close to the image.

enter image description here

Is there a modifier to do this or will I have to do it manually?

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Related: blender.stackexchange.com/q/5755/599 –  gandalf3 Feb 17 at 21:36
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2 Answers

A easy way is to use Extra Objects addon. And choose Spirals. You can get an expected curve with a few tweakings in the left-hand Tool bar. Then use either one of the following four methods to find out the best one for you:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Added a Demo File.

I personally recommend to use Solidify modifier here, since it is easy to control, and with caps on both ends.

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in OPs illustration there is a gap between each of the rings(S). In your case there is no gap. –  Vader Feb 17 at 14:10
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@Vader Gap can be controlled by the Depth, as shown in the screenshot. –  Leon Cheung Feb 17 at 14:30
    
Solidify gives me "faces needed for useful output" could you give instructions on how to use it? –  Qwertie ϟ Feb 18 at 8:44
    
Never mind, you can ignore that warning in such case. :) Just make sure to define an Extrude value in Geometry panel for that curve. However, the Solidify modifier cannot be applied on curve. If you are going to convert the modified result into mesh, just press Alt C > Mesh from Curve/Meta/Surf/Text. –  Leon Cheung Feb 18 at 11:09
    
@Qwertieϟ Did it work for you? Or anything more that I can help? –  Leon Cheung Feb 27 at 2:55
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I'm not sure you will get exactly what you are asking with this method. Maybe close enough.

Use the array modifier.

Start like this. It could also be a cylinder or anything.

start

Scale it up along the X axis 10%.

Add an array modifier. Uncheck relative offset. Check Object offset. Create an empty and select that as the object to offset.

Rotate the empty 90 degrees around z-axis. Scale it up 10%.

array modifier

empty transform

Increase the count in the array modifier.

spiral

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That last image is exactly what I was looking for –  Qwertie ϟ Feb 17 at 23:34
    
Good. I was thinking that maybe you wanted the width to stay constant. Now it is scaled up 10%^4 for each complete turn. –  Gunslinger Feb 18 at 8:32
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