Carbon nanofibres (CNFs) of controlled diameter and length were grown on different metal substrates using plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD). The diameter control of catalyst dots (and hence CNF diameter) was obtained by using the shot modulation technique in electron beam lithography. Catalyst dots of different sizes within arrays of different pitch were prepared and the dependence of the growth of vertically aligned CNFs on these parameters was studied for different metal underlayers. Good quality vertically aligned CNFs with a narrow length distribution were grown on Mo and W substrates. The structures grown on Nb substrates were significantly shorter for identical growth conditions and showed a lower nucleation rate. We demonstrate that through the shot modulation technique it is possible to control the diameter variation of CNFs from a single design geometry for the catalyst deposition. Individual VACNFs can be grown down to a pitch within the range 100-500 nm.