Pattern Driven Components
Some of the most time-consuming work that can be done in SolidWorks is inputting multiple purchased components into an assembly. With all the individual components come individual mates that need to be placed on each component to fully constrain them to the assembly. However, this blog will teach you about the Pattern Driven Components command in assembly’s that will allow one component and its mates to be copied and placed into all holes/features that are the same!
The Pattern Driven Component command is only found inside of an assembly file. On the toolbar click on the assembly tab, scroll over to the linear components pattern command and click the down arrow, on that drop-down menu will be the Pattern Driven Component command, as seen in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Command Location
An important thing to note is that the Pattern Driven Component command will only work with features created by the Hole Wizard command. If you are unfamiliar with the Hole Wizard command check out the Hole Wizard blog post!
The Correct Features
For this blog, a block containing 8 holes all the same size will be used as seen in Figure 2. For this example, the holes are threaded and are in Metric units, however, the features can be of any type as long as they are created with the Hole Wizard command. Also, the holes do not need to be in line with each other or even on the same face! The holes may be placed in whatever orientation is necessary.
Figure 2: Example Block
Selecting Your Components
Any component can be used and patterned with the command if it has mate relations to the previously created Hole Wizard hole features. A washer and socket head cap screw will be used in this example. These components were chosen from McMaster.com in accordance to the size of the holes created.
Fully Constraining Components
The first component to be placed into the assembly will be the Base Block with the eight holes in it. It is placed on the origin and fully fixed into place. Second into the assembly will be the flat washer that was chosen. It is placed into the assembly and one if its flat faces are mated coincidently with the top face of the block as seen in Figure 3.
Figure 3: First Washer Mate
A coincentric mate is then placed between the washer’s center hole and one hole in the block, this can be any of the holes on the part, at this time a locking mate is also checked to stop the washer from rotating as seen in Figure 4. The washer is now fully constrained to the face of the base block.
Figure 4: Washer fully constrained
Now that the washer is fully constrained and in the correct place, the Pattern Driven Component command can be used. Click on the command to open up its feature manager panel. The first box asks for the component to a pattern, this is the component that was just mated to the face and feature, in this case, it is the washer. The second box asks for the driving feature or component. This is any of the hole features that you want the component to be constrained to. These are shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Pattern Driven Component command manager
There is also a box labeled Instances to Skip. By clicking on this box then selecting some of the hole features you can leave them out of the components to be patterned. If the selected seed Position button is clicked, small purple dots will show up on the center of the hole features. If a new seed position is selected the pattern will form in the formation from that seed point, however, it will still be originated from the component that was selected. This is shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Seed Component position
Adding more components
Adding in additional components to be patterned is done simply by following the same steps as before. Now a socket head cap screw will be added to this assembly and patterned. Input a new component and fully constrain it to the hole feature. In this case, the screw is given a concentric mate to the hole and the rotation is locked. The shoulder of the screw or the under face is made coincident to the top face of the washer. The screw is now fully constrained in the assembly. The mates are shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7: Screw mates
The same steps are followed as the washer to pattern it across the holes. The screw is chosen as the component and one of the holes is picked for the driving fixture. Click the green check mark to finish the pattern. The final outcome is shown in Figure 8. Another way that the Pattern Driven Component command can be done is by adding both parts onto the same hole and fully constraining them. After doing this it is possible to pattern both components at the same time to all hole features.
Figure 8: Final Outcome
Why use it?
The Pattern Driven Component command is one of the more powerful ones to use, if done correctly, it can save large amounts of time. Not only are the components patterned into all the holes, but the mates of the original component are patterned as well, giving all components full constraints. There is no doubt that this command is used every day in the industry to add in hundreds of components to assemblies whereas it would take hours to put them in one at a time!