Utilizing Pattern Enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2016


In the video tutorial above, we’ll be taking a look at how to use the expanded features and functionality of patterns in SOLIDWORKS 2016.

With the newest update, there are new and more efficient ways to create linear patterns. A direction vector is needed to drive the direction of the instances.

In previous versions of SOLIDWORKS, the only entity users could select as direction vectors were linear edges, sketch lines and axis or linear dimensions. Now, users can select planar and conical faces and surfaces, circular edges and reference planes as direction vectors in linear patterns.

In the tutorial video above, we see how a hole can be patterned.

Users can pattern a hole easily, using the planar face of the hole’s extrude and its reference plane, by launching the “Linear Pattern” feature and activating the “Features to Patterns” selection box. Continue by selecting the hole feature, and within “Direction 1” select the top planar face of the extrude. The preview will update and users can define the instances.

In “Direction 2,” users should select the reference plane and adjust the spacing and instance values as needed before clicking OK. A linear pattern is created using the planar face and the plane to drive the direction of the instances.

SOLIDWORKS 2016 has also removed the pattern instance limit.

In previous versions, users were limited to creating 1,000 instances. Now, users can create as many as necessary. However, when creating more than 1,000 instances for a part, users will see a warning window describing that the instances could take a long time to create.

Users should also remember that the more instances that are created, the harder the project will be on their software. Create with caution.

Lastly, users can now import Excel data into pattern tables.

In the tutorial video above, we see how a user can import data to create varied instances of a hole cut-out.  To do this, users must launch the “Variable Pattern” feature in the patterns flyout and select the “Cut Extrude” feature to pattern, edit the pattern table and instead of selecting the feature dimensions to vary, use Excel data.

In the bottom left corner of the screen, click on the “Import from Excel…” icon. This allows users to browse their system for the file they need and even to specify which sheet to pull data from. Click “Open” and the data is loaded into the table. Users can see the pattern appear in the graphics area.

Users also have the option to export table data to new Excel files.

You can learn more about the new capabilities in SOLIDWORKS 2016 by signing up for a free membership.


About the Author


Sam Sanchez is an Applications Engineer with SolidProfessor and a CSWP. Sanchez is an alumni of UC San Diego, and in her free time enjoys 3D printing and hanging out with her dog Ruby. You can see more training videos on a wide range of CAD, CAM & BIM topics at www.solidprofessor.com.

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