Pattern function is indispensable for whether product design or mechanical design. Designers can quickly copy a large number of features or geometries from the original one with the pattern command. However, some users may think that the pattern command is not powerful enough to fulfill their demands. In order to change this situation, pattern command has upgraded significantly in ZW3D 2016 version. This article will focus on how the upgraded pattern command works.
1. Difference between pattern geometry and pattern feature
The previous pattern command has been separated into 2 commands, “pattern geometry” and “pattern feature” (Figure 1).
Figure 1: New pattern commands
What’s the difference between pattern geometry and the pattern feature?
Pattern geometry will copy the geometry to the pattern location without Boolean, while the pattern feature will redo the feature in the pattern location with Boolean. Here follows an example to show their distinction (Figure 2 & Figure 3).
Figure 2: Pattern geometry without Boolean
Figure 3: Pattern feature with Boolean
Besides, pattern geometry can create strict shape, on the other hand, there is a variable pattern only for pattern feature.
2. Newly-add options for pattern
Some new options have been added to meet a greater variety of needs more effectively in ZW3D 2016, such as the new “polygon” pattern type, the “fill pattern” boundary, “associate copy” for pattern geometry and “variable pattern” for pattern feature.
1) New “polygon” pattern type and the “fill pattern” boundary
The polygon pattern has two modes to create pattern instances. One is number per side, which means to specify the number of instances in each polygon side, the another one is the pitch between instances (Figure 4).
Figure 4: New “polygon” pattern type
Let me take a simple case for example to compare the different results we get in the two modes.
Firstly, let’s use number per side. Use pattern geometry command, select polygon pattern type, pick the small hole as a base, and then define the rotate center and change the side number. Finally, we can see the result from the preview (Figure 5, the left one).
Similarly but change the spacing modes to pitch between instances to create the pattern hole, then set a suitable pitch value and second direction to get the result (Figure 5, the right one).
Figure 5: Different result of two modes
Another new option is fill pattern boundary.
We can control the instances to include or exclude by using the face or curve as a boundary.
The difference results are shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: New fill pattern boundary
3. New option “associative copy” for pattern geometry
We add a new “associative copy” option to control the pattern instances, which can decide if the pattern geometry is associate with the original one or not. If we check this option, the pattern geometries will change accordingly with the original one (Figure 7). If not, the pattern instances will have been created as a strict shape and cannot be redefined. Regardless of the modification on the original one, the pattern geometries will remain unchanged. (Figure 8).
Figure 7: Pattern geometry without “associative copy”
Figure 8: Pattern geometry without “associative copy”
4. Variable pattern for pattern feature
In this new version, pattern feature can create variable patterns.
We can create a variable pattern in two ways: parameter list and parameter table.
The parameter list can create an increment pattern, in which you can select some dimensions and add an increment to create this pattern. In this case, we select the radius of the feature as a drive parameter, and set the increment to 1 mm (Figure 9).
Figure 9: Use parameter list to create a variable pattern
In another way, parameter table can be applied to create a table to control the increment, minus or plus, for each instance, allowing you to set different increments for each pattern feature. You can either input the table manually or import the table from the excel table (Figure 10).
Figure 10: Use parameter table to create a variable pattern
The enhanced pattern command has enlarge its applicability scope, and the newly-added option has been greatly upgraded to make pattern command more easy-to-use and efficient. Naturally, the pattern command becomes more helpful in designing.
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