The Fill Pattern feature is used to fill a defined region with a pattern of features or a predefined cut shape. It can be used to create different types of patterns but only works over planar faces. This is a type of Pattern that is often ignored because of the more commonly used linear and circular patterns as most of the time a combination of the linear and circular patterns allows you to perform your job, but the Fill Pattern tool is quite powerful and can save a lot of time when used accordingly.
The Fill Pattern feature can be used to reduce the weight of the component by removing excess material. It can also be used for creating ventilation holes to protect the device from overheating and for making textured surfaces for increased grip or to enhance the aesthetics of the model.
1. To create a fill pattern, click Fill Pattern present in the Features toolbar or go to
2. Under Fill Boundary, you can select sketches, planar curves on faces, a face, or co-planar faces. This area will be used to create the filled patterns.
3. Select the Features and Faces option if you want to use a feature or a face for the pattern. Select Bodies if you want to use a solid or surface body for the pattern.
Under the Features and Faces option, there are also some predefined cut shapes provided that you can use. These shapes include circles, squares, diamonds, and polygons. Each of these shapes can be customized to suit your needs.
- For the Circle, you can set the diameter as well as the position of the center of the circle.
- For a Square, you can set the edge length, the center, and rotation of the square.
- For the Diamond shape, you can set the length of the edges as well as of the diagonals, locate the center and provide rotation if required.
- For a Polygon, you can set the number of sides, outer and inner radius, the position of the center, and rotation of the polygon.
Tip: The pattern seed feature will be located at the center of the fill boundary face unless you select a vertex or point to place the seed feature under Features to Pattern.
4. There are a total of 4 types of predefined patterns layouts available:
This pattern layout creates a grid for a sheet metal perforation-style pattern.
- Instance Spacing: It is the distance between the two consecutive columns of hexagons. All the distances and angles are measured between the centers of hexagons.
The word instance represents the shape you choose to pattern. In our case, we are using a hexagon for the instance so we are going to use the word “hexagon” instead of the “instance” for easier understanding.
- Stagger Angle: It is the angle between the pattern direction and the rows of hexagons.
- Margins: Set an offset value that will act as a margin between the selected fill boundary and the outermost hexagon.
- Pattern Direction: Specify a direction for the pattern. By default, it is the longest linear edge of the selected region. Select Reverse Direction, if needed.
- Number of Instances: It shows the total number of hexagons that would be created by the pattern. You cannot edit this number. The value is displayed in red before it is validated.
- Validate Count: It performs a validation that each of the hexagons counted for the Number of Instances actually affects model geometry.
It creates a circular-shaped pattern.
- Loop Spacing: This is the offset distance between two consecutive circular hexagon loops.
- Select Target Spacing if you want to specify the distance between each hexagon in a loop or Instances per loop to specify the number of hexagons present in a loop. In Target Spacing, actual spacing between the hexagons can vary for each loop so that the hexagons have equal distance between them and they fit evenly in the loop.
The rest of the options are similar to the Perforation type and is explained above.
This option creates a square-shaped pattern.
All the options are similar to the Circular type.
Creates a polygonal-shaped pattern.
- Polygon Sides: It sets how many sides there are in the polygon used for the pattern.
The rest of the options are explained above.
5. Optionally, you can select the Instances To Skip option and then remove any number of hexagons that you don’t want by clicking on them.
6. Select Propagate Visual Properties to automatically apply the appearance of the seed to all the pattern instances such as colors, textures, and cosmetic thread data.
7. Click Ok and your pattern will be generated.