Pattern of a Pattern [VIDEO]

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated March 6, 2013


So the little lady and I went to see an on-stage production of The Wizard of Oz this past week at the Ed Mirvish theatre in Toronto, and I saw a windmill in the opening scene and my thoughts immediately went to the patterning feature of SolidWorks. You see, the fins on the windmill were in 8 groups of 6 fins, and I kept thinking about how I could do this. I could use a circular pattern and skip every 7th fin. I could also make a pattern of 6 fins, then pattern the pattern 8 times. There were so many different possibilities of how to pattern these fins! Then I started to think about how to mount this to a spindle, so I put some mounting holes in, but soon discover that patterning a feature can get a bit tricky if I’m paying more attention to Dorothy and her little dog too than I am to SolidWorks. Just watch:

You can see that when I selected the seed hole as my feature to pattern, it only patterned the seed hole, but when I selected the patterned hole as my feature, it made a pattern of a pattern. My workaround was to select the hole in Faces to Pattern (the dropdown pane directly below Features to Pattern). Interestingly enough, if my hole feature had multiple points in it and I tried to pattern the hole feature, I would also get all the holes copying (because the feature includes 3 holes). But don’t take my word for it: try it yourself.

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).