Creating a Simple Stent
Documented below is a very easy and quick process for creating a stent model in Blender. Using this method, you can create any mesh pattern. I also included a section on how to deform the shape the stent, so it can be used in an animation.
1. Base structure.
Begin with a simple N-gon. Usually it is best to stick to quads, but we will make an exception here.
2. Spin Tool (ALT+R)
Move the vertices away from the center in Edit mode. With the 3D cursor at the center, use the spin tool to create the repeating shapes that wraps around, making sure the side vertices of each shape are touching. This may take several iterations to achieve, you can adjust the distance between the shapes by undoing (CTR-Z) and moving the shape closer to the origin (along the y-axis) and re-doing the spin tool.
Remove doubles and adjust the “Merge Distance” to combine the shapes created by the Spin tool into one mesh piece.
4. Array Modifier
Use the array modifier to stack the object in the Z-direction. Click “merge” and increase the count to adjust the length. Apply the modifier once you are satisfied with the length.
5. Wireframe modifier
Add a wireframe modifier, enable “Boundary", and adjust the thickness to your preference.
6. Lattice Modifier.
Add a lattice modifier and scale it (in object mode) to encompass the entire object.Under the lattice tab increase the value of U and V to 3. With nothing selected, select the stent object, SHIFT-select the wireframe and press CTR+P to add a Lattice Deform modifier to the object.
In the Modifiers tab of the Stent, make sure the Lattice modifier comes before the Wireframe modifier.
7. Shape Keys
Before you start deforming the object, click on the “+” button under shape keys and in the Lattice menu to add two shape keys. This way, you will be able to retrieve the original shape. With the “Key 1” selected, go into editing mode of the Lattice and deform the stent to your liking. An easy way is to select all the vertices of the lattice, click “S” to scale and “SHIFT+Z” to only scale in the X and Y axes.
8. Adjusting and animating the shape
You can adjust the shape by using the shape key. Slide the “Value” between 0 and 1.