solidworks tipsWhat if you could throw a bunch of dots around the world and replicate yourself wherever they landed? Yeah, imagine that one. Pretty cool. Well, it’s possible. Not so much with you, but with little feature thingies you put in your models. Ok, I feel the disappointment setting in, so chin up little camper, Sketch Patterns can make adding features and components much easier. But there’s an even better way to get the best of the best results.

You could just throw a point out there, but that might be a little…impulsive? Yeah? Ya feel that, throwin’ point compulsion? That’s bad. Summon all that is good in the world and draw A LINE.

Why this is superior to just putting points out there?

  • Keeps the pattern feature from adding extra parts when you use your sketch pattern for a component pattern
  • Shows where the pattern starts from
  • Shows others how the pattern was created
  • Can use the lines (axis) for Library Feature Orientation

When you need create a sketch pattern and keep evil at bay, follow this method:

  1. Start your sketch
  2. Begin with drawing or converting a line with the end point where you want your feature to start from.
  3. Draw or covert another line so you get an axis lookin’ thing like in Figure 1. This is your Sketch Pattern Start Point.

Figure 1
Sketch pattern in SolidWorks
(Click to Enlarge)

Now there’s two ways you can use this:

  • To drive a Feature
  • To drive a Library Feature

If you don’t know what a library feature is, look it up in your SolidWorks help for a full explanation. It’s basically a stored feature you use a lot. Like a Hole. Don’t fall in. but usually it a little more complicated that a hole and you put it in a library so you don’t have to re-create it every time you need to use it.

Now, if you’re using it to drive a regular feature. Put the sketch for your hole or whatever in the same sketch you have your sketch pattern points in. whoa mama. Just see Figure 2. Why do this? Cause this will keep you from having sketches hanging outside of feature in the feature manager tree. How clean and pretty is that.

Figure 2
Sketch pattern in SolidWorks
(Click to Enlarge)

Now take a look at Figure 3. You just use that sketch that is in that Cut Feature to create your pattern.

Figure 3
Sketch pattern in SolidWorks
(Click to Enlarge)

Or, if you want to use it with a Library Feature, exit the sketch you created with the axis and points, drag you Library Feature onto the surface and use that axis you created to locate it.

Now, if you use these for a component pattern, you won’t have to delete the extra instance it creates when you pattern it. Done.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.