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I need to get my double helix mesh to follow the bezier curve in this screen shot. When I add a curve modifier to my double helix, instead of following the curve, it distorts the size and angles of the mesh in an undesirable way.

How can I get it to follow that curve?

enter image description here

And here's the blend file:

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  • $\begingroup$ very dependent on both curve and mesh orientations. You may have to rotate the mesh, but difficult to say in which orientations without the blend file. But keep in mind that the curve modifier is a deform modifier, so you mesh will be deformed a lot if the curve angles are too bent $\endgroup$ – lemon Aug 9 '16 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ IMHO, too much vertices 800k reaches the limits in order to tune the curve modifier.... try to keep it under 500k, at least... if not (for my CPU) nearly impossible to tune $\endgroup$ – lemon Aug 9 '16 at 19:04
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The curve modifier is a bit of a tricky one, as it requires you to spend a bit more attention to the orientation of the source object. To start with, make the local axis of the object which you want to bend visible in the Object tab / Display section:

local axis

In your case, the positive Z Axis is pointing up the direction of the Helix, and this is the direction which you want to deform. Next, Handle the origins. The Origin of the Helix should be at the starting point of the deformation. If it is not, you need later on to locally translate it along its local Z axis to match up the curve (in your file it was centered on the object). If you place it like in this screenshot, you can skip the translation step:

starting point

The highlighted axis are the one from the helix, the dark ones the axis of the curve you provided.

Then, make sure that the origin of the curve is at the origin of the helix. You can snap them together using the commands in the Shift S menu:

origins line up

Now add the curve modifier, and set the deformation direction to Z:

deformation added

As lemon rightfully anticipated, the curve radius is too small to get nice deformation. Ease out the curve a bit more to fix it.

Blend File is here:

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