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I am making a sort of steampunk element and I want to have small bolts go around a cylinder. I'm not sure what would be the most precise and quick method to achieve something like that:

enter image description here

My current model:

enter image description here

p.s. Also preferably with out using a curve modifier)

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marked as duplicate by Carlo, X-27 the fluffy unicorn, Community May 27 '16 at 19:42

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You may use an Array Modifier with the constant offset enabled. Add an Empty (it'll be your pivot point). Next select the object, enter Edit Mode and place it as fas from Empty as you like. Being in Object Mode apply transformations (Ctrl+A) and add an Array Modifier to the object. Check the Constant Offset and Object Offset checkboxes. Select Empty below the second one. enter image description here

Now just rotate the Empty (in your case by 60 degrees). enter image description here

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I made an addon that do just want you want by pressing a button,It is not stable though.

Here is the Addon.

Suppose I want to make this sphere go around this object.

Scene

Before you run the addon,you should align the view with your axis of rotation I do this by selecting the face that its normal facing the axis and pressing Shift + Numpad 7 and the cursor should be in the middle so by pressing Shift + S I set the cursor to the center of the face.I select the sphere and go to Edit mode.I then run the addon from the Tool panel and set the number of duplicates (It is better to set it 2 times because blender didn't get it the first time).

GIF

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Imho there are a couple of ways. One very basic way is using a circle with less vertices (one per object to place around the cylinder), parenting your little object to it (only one needed, clear all origins before), and enabling vertex duplication- with rotation, like

enter image description here

then you can scale in edit mode the circle enough to match the cylinder surface, at your taste.

enter image description here

which gets you

enter image description here

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