SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

Leveraging Linear Component Patterns in SOLIDWORKS

By Chris Mowatt on November 12, 2021

Linear Pattern enables you to copy an existing feature and apply it in various ways, saving you time from having to recreate them. This week’s article will go over two enhancements SOLIDWORKS has made to linear patterns in recent years to help you design more efficiently. Let’s take a look.

SOLIDWORKS Linear PatternThe basic function of linear patterning is to pattern a component, but there wasn't an option to rotate the instances until now. To apply the Rotate Instance function, I will navigate to the Linear Component Pattern feature and select a direction. In this example, I will select the opposite way from the default setting. The next step is to mark the check box for Rotate Instances and click OK. I will then select a Rotation Axis before choosing the component I want to pattern. Once I do that, I have the option to add the number of instances that I want to create from the component. I can now choose the angle of degrees that I want the instances to be spaced out at. In this example, I want the instances to be spaced out at 120 degrees.

So, all within the property manager for the Linear Pattern, I can apply these options and apply instances of a component quickly and easily to my assembly. We can also take advantage of Pattern Driven Component Patterns. In this example, I can pattern the mugs by using the pattern I just created as the driving pattern.

SOLIDWORKS Pattern Driven Component Patterns

Another enhancement from SOLIDWORKS for linear patterns is called the Up To Reference function. This is an enhancement for assemblies. As you can see in the image, I have a component, highlighted in blue, that is running alongside the rail. I have set the offset to ten millimeters from the side, which is the requirement, but we're not sure how many instances we want along this rail. In this case, we want to apply a pattern that gives us the flexibility to adjust on the fly. The only thing we know is that they need to be ten millimeters from each side. So, let's navigate to the Linear Component Pattern and select the Up to Reference function.

components-to-pattern-1Next, I will choose the component and the face that I want the component to reference. In this example, I will activate Bounding Box Center. SOLIDWORKS is taking in the reference of the surface highlighted in green and adding the instances of the component up to that point. This gives me the flexibility to adjust my component on the fly using a set spacing distance between my components, or I can select the number of instances that I need if that is my intent.

This was originally introduced as a feature pattern for part files and features for patterns but now is available with linear patterns. After seeing this demonstration and how easy they are to use, you can apply these two powerful enhancements into your workflow so you can design quicker and more efficiently.

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