Creating chains with Blender can be done with a few simple steps. The used features are: Array modifier, curve modifier and some tricks I will describe in this tutorial.
Create a chain link
To start with our chain we have to create a chain link which is a kind of elliptical torus, so let’s add a torus:
Rotate the torus around the Y axis: Press R key, then Y key and then enter 90 and press Enter.
Switch to Edit Mode and select one half of the torus. Turn off the option to select only visible parts of the model:
And then press B key and select the left half:
Move the selected vertices along the y axis (drag green arrow with left mouse button or press G key and Y key and move the mouse):
and now we have our elliptical torus – the chain link.
Add the array modifier
This chain link needs to be multiplied. The best option for this is the array modifier – but when creating a chain, each chain link has te be rotated 90 degrees and has to have an offset. For this purpose we add an Empty object which serves as Offset for each added chain link:
Select the empty object and move it along the Y axis, a little bit behind the chain link:
After that, add an array modifier and enter the following options:
The offset is defined by the Empty object and the rotation is also correct because the original object (the torus) has been rotated by 90 degrees around Y, this is applied for every element created by the array modifier.
Add the curve and modifier
This is the last step: Create a curve (e.g. a path)
extrude it like that (E key when handle is selected):
and add a curve modifier for the torus:
Make sure to use Y as the deformation axis and that the curve has the same location (0,0,0) as the torus.
And this is the render with smooth shading applied to the torus:
If you wish to scale the chain links you have to select the torus and the Empty object in object mode, press S key then and scale as you like.