I have a pretty simple question to ask regarding duplicating objects and creating arrays, however I am very new to blender and am stuck. I want to make a hexagonal array of a grouped object that I have created to the following basic config (see attached figure):

  1. Alternating rows switch between two orientations, where the object is identical but rotated -60 degrees about the z axis
  2. The resulting array is not a n x m array, but will resemble something of a circle (i.e. there will be varying instantiations of the grouped object).
  3. The result array will have >1000 total instantiations, and so a relatively parametric approach is required
  4. The grouped object contains many sub objects, with various rotations about their respective centers, all of which will need to be copied in the array.

What I have tried:

So, I have the grouped object saved and labeled "Pixel." I have found how I can add a group instance, after which I can place the instances in their proper XY positions and apply my rotation, as drawn in the figure. However, I cannot then apply an array modifier to create a 1 x n row of the complete objects. I found that I can apply a modifier to individual objects within the group by first hiting CTRL-SHIFT-A, however it only applies to one sub object at a time. The real object consists of many different sub objects, all which have various respective rotations, so simply copying the modifier from one object to another results in a complete mess (objects in all the wrong positions).

I see that I can probably produce a brute-force solution by manual creating a new modifier for each subgroup and then applying it to every version that I have copied in the array. However, I'm sure there is a much simpler solution that I am not seeing.

My experience with other CAD software allows the designation of a group that can then be copied and altered as a single entity. However, this solution doesn't appear to be obvious to me within blender. Is there any way to do this? I have tried merging the items into a single mesh using CTRL-J, however this results in loss of many features from the discrete group. Maybe saving the individual cell as an exported item, and then instantiating it in a new file? I tried this by using the File->Link option, but the problem of being unable to array this object as a group persists.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Simplified representation of target array


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