Home » How to do Linear Feature Pattern in SolidWorks?

The Linear Pattern tool in SolidWorks is used to create a linear pattern of one or more features, faces, or bodies. You can pattern in 2 different directions at one time. It is a great tool when you want repetitive geometry in your models like an array.

In this article, we are going to explain how to create a Linear Pattern as well as all of the options that are provided. So let’s get started.

1.  Go to Insert Pattern/Mirror > Linear Pattern or click Linear Pattern present in the Features toolbar.

2. In the Linear Pattern PropertyManager, set the desired parameters for your linear pattern. All the options are explained below.

3. You can either perform a pattern of Features and/or Faces or you can perform a pattern of Solid or Surface Bodies according to your needs.

  • Click on the checkbox provided in front of the Features and Faces if you want to perform a pattern of features and/or faces. Next, select all the features that you want to pattern in the Features to Pattern input box and/or select all the faces in the Faces to Pattern input box.
  • Or select the checkbox in front of Bodies if you would rather perform a pattern of bodies.

Tip: Defining the geometry that you want to pattern first allows SolidWorks to show you a preview of what your pattern is going to look like. So don’t hesitate to do it first and then define the other options later.

4. Under the Direction 1 menu, select the direction in which you want your pattern to propagate. Click the Reverse Direction icon present on the left side of the selection box to reverse the pattern direction.

Tip: You can select a linear edge, line, axis, dimension, planar faces and surfaces, conical faces and surfaces, circular edges, and reference planes for direction.

5. Next, you can either select Spacing and References or Up to Reference:

  • Select Spacing and instances if you want to manually set both, the total number of instances that you want to pattern, and the spaces between them.

In the Spacing box, set the distance between the two consecutive patterns for Direction 1, and in the Number of Instances box, set the number of pattern instances you want in this direction (this number also includes the original features or selections).

  • Select Up to reference:
        • if you want to manually set the total number of instances that you want to pattern but want the spacing between them to be calculated automatically on the basis of the selected reference geometry or
        • if you want to manually set the spacing between the two consecutive pattern instances but want the total number of instances to be calculated automatically.

In the Reference Geometry box, select any reference geometry that will control the pattern. It will act as an endpoint beyond which the pattern can’t propagate. You can select a vertex, an edge, a face, or a plane for reference geometry.

Use the Offset distance box to allow the endpoint to be shifted forward or backward. It sets the distance between the last pattern instance from the reference geometry. You can set it to 0 if you do not wish any offset to be there. Click on the Reverse Offset Direction icon to reverse the direction of the pattern offset from the reference geometry.

Now choose either Centroid if you want to use the centroid of the patterned features/faces/bodies to be used to calculate the offset distance from the reference geometry or choose Selected reference if you want to use any other reference instead of the centroid. If you choose Selected Reference, a new Seed Reference box will pop up allowing you to select your new desired reference.

Next, either select Set Spacing to set the distance between two consecutive pattern instances and then enter its value in the Spacing input box provided below and the number of instances will be automatically adjusted so that the seed reference of the last patterned instance does not exceed the offset value of reference geometry you have provided.

In the below image notice that the third instance will go beyond the offset distance that we specified for our reference geometry (i.e. inner edge highlighted in green), hence the number of instances was automatically limited to two by the SolidWorks.

Or select Set Number of Instances to set the total number of patterned entities that you want and then enter its value in the Number of Instances box provided below. The distance between two consecutive pattern instances will be automatically adjusted so as to keep the offset distance that you specified above between the seed reference and the reference geometry will be exactly the same.

6. If you are using Linear Pattern in an Assembly, you can also rotate the instances by clicking on the Rotate instances checkbox. Then specify the axis on which the instances will rotate in the Axis of Rotation box. This axis must be parallel to the Direction 1 you selected above. You can specify the angular increment for each pattern instance in the Angle input box. Click on the Reverse Direction icon present to reverse the direction of the rotation.

7. Direction 2 allows you to pattern your features/faces/bodies in another direction. The Direction 2 menu is similar to the direction 1 we discussed above. Although you may find a new option in Direction 2, that is Pattern seed only.

8. Select Pattern Seed Only option if you want the linear pattern in Direction 2 to be created only by using the seed features/faces/bodies, without replicating the pattern instances of Direction 1See below how it affects the pattern as compared to the image shown above.

9. Expand the Instances to Skip menu if you want to skip some pattern instances. Click on the Instances to Skip input box provided to allow you to select which instance you want to omit. The pointer will now change from arrowhead to when you hover over each pattern instance. Click to select a pattern instance. The selected pattern entity will be removed and the coordinates (i.e. column number, row number) of that pattern instance will appear in the Instances to Skip input box. To restore a pattern instance, click the instance again or right-click on the pattern coordinates in the Instances to Skip input box and select Delete.

10. If you are working on a Multi-Body part file, then you will find an additional Feature Scope menu when performing a pattern of Features and Faces which will allow you to select which bodies you want the new patterns to be on. Read more… ***********************************add link***************************************

11. Under the Options menu, select Vary Sketch to allow the pattern to change as it repeats. Click here to know how to use this option.

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12. Select Geometry Pattern to create the pattern by using only the geometry (faces and edges) of the features you selected to pattern, rather than patterning and solving each instance of the feature. Geometry pattern speeds up the creation and rebuilding of the pattern. You cannot create geometry patterns of features that have faces merged with the rest of the part.

Tip: If your linear pattern fails and you don’t know why try again by selecting this option. If it’s already selected then deselect it and see if the pattern works.

13. Select Propagate Visual Properties to propagate colors, textures, and cosmetic thread data to all pattern instances applied to the seed feature.

14. Select the Instances to Vary checkbox if you do not want the pattern to be equally spaced or if you want to change the dimensions of the features as they patterns.

Under Direction 1 Increments, you can enter the value of the increments. This increment value will be added to the originally specified distance. You can enter a positive number to keep increasing the gap between two consecutive instances or you can enter a negative number to keep decreasing that gap.

Notice in the image below how the distance between the instances keeps on decreasing.

Here you can also edit the position of any instance individually by left-clicking on it and selecting Modify Instance.

You can now override the spacing of that instance by changing the value of the Direction Spacing.

Click in the Choose Feature dimensions to vary in the Direction 1 box if you want the increments to be made in any of the dimensions of the feature. Now click on the dimension of the seed feature that you want the increments to be applied in the graphics area and that dimension will now be added to the table. Change the value present in the Increment column in the table to increase or decrease the size of the feature dimension for Direction 1.

Repeat the same process for Direction 2 Increments as and if required.

Note: Instances to Vary is only available when you only select features for the pattern instance.

3. Click Ok to create the Linear Pattern.