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The helix shapes are created using a screw modifier. Everything looks good in the 3d view (with render preview on)
but when I actually hit render.. the helix shape is not rounded, and has a funny hard edge look.
If you're using a subdivision surface modifier for the helix, keep in mind the modifier has different levels for previews and renders as seen here:
this may explain why your helix has a funny look when you render it
Required, but never shown