solidworks-3d-sketch-patterStop pouring Teriyaki all over your desk for a few minutes, Mr Ginsu, and take a look at this. You have the power to sizzle up one single pattern on different faces… of different parts… in an assembly. The shock and horror is overwhelming, yet your deeply drawn to find out how you’re able to do it, yes?

Sometimes you need parts to follow a pattern across different parts in an assembly. but creating patterns separately in the parts can be a pain.

There are work-arounds (mentioned below) but using a simple sketch pattern in an assembly can take away all the heartburn, allowing you to get back to your spring-rolls and won-tons. Here’s how to do it.

Four things about sketch patterns:

  • orientation of patterned components can NOT be changed
  • works best on one planer axis (x,y for example)
  • people get excited when they find out about them
  • they have no feelings

In your poor assembly lacking the joy of finely patterned parts…

Select Insert, Assembly Feature, Hole, Wizard…. Be sure to NOT select any faces before picking this. Choosing the Hole Wizard without picking a face allows you to work in 3D sketch mode.


Select the smallest hole and a small depth in the properties. This is preference. I select the smallest because I’m just using these as locators for the component I’ll bring in later.


Switch to the Positions tab and locate your points and select OK (the green checkmark). Make sure the face you’re putting the point on is highlighted, otherwise it may not be related directly to the face.


Mate your component to the first Hole Wizard Point you located.


Go to Insert, Component Pattern, Feature Driven… and pick your Part for the Components to Pattern and the Hole Wizard Feature as the Driving Feature.


That completes it! Spin that sucka around and see the glory of patterned components on different faces.


Tips for Assembly Sketch Patterns

  • Spices. Use different sketch patterns for different components/different axis.
  • Zen. Name your Hole Wizard Feature to show what you’re locating.
  • Spatula. Add keyboard shortcuts for hole wizard/component patterns to quickly create.

The Multi-part Sketch Pattern Work-around
If you need those pattern features in the SolidWorks parts, you can use a sketch to guide them across multiple parts. I do this by adding a part to an assembly that contains all the points I’ll need use to create a feature in the parts. I’ll edit the part in the assembly (in-context) and match the locations to create a pattern in each part.

This makes it easy to change it, if I find an interference or add more ‘locators’ to the sketch later on.

Do you use sketch patterns in assemblies?
I can think of some enhancements to add to this functionality. It would be nice to orient components independently on different faces. Even still, it’s a great way to get a tasty SolidWorks assembly stir-fry going on.


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.