What is the Vary Sketch Option in a Pattern?

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I have an option that you might have overlooked or just didn’t know what it does.  It’s the Vary Sketch option.

Vary Sketch

The definition from the Help File says, “Select the Vary Sketch option to let the pattern instances change dimensions as they repeat.”  Let’s take a look at what you have to do and how it might help you.

So what I’m going to do is create a triangular part first.

Base Image

Now we need to have a feature added to it.  It can either be a Boss or Cut.  As we pattern the feature, we want it to follow the top angled edge.  The sketch that is used for the feature is important.  First off you want it be fully defined.  This is important so we know which dimension changes.  Next we want the top of our feature sketch to be dimensioned to the angled edge.  This will allow the feature to follow this angle.  If you would add a height dimension, your pattern would not work.

Feature Sketch

Here comes the unique part.  Start the linear pattern tool.  Choose the feature you want to pattern and set the spacing & instance count.  For the direction, choose the sketch dimension that is in the direction you want to pattern too.  You can always choose a sketch dimension to use it as the direction.  Fun trick isn’t it?

Sketch Dimension Direction

You should have the ability to choose Vary Sketch under the Pattern Options.  If you don’t then it would be a normal pattern that you would expect.

Without Vary

But if you would select Vary Sketch in the options, look at what happens.  It changes the overall height to maintain all the dimension in all the instances.

With Vary

You might wonder when this option was added to SOLIDWORKS.  I think it was added in the 1997 Plus release.

Hopefully this will help you get your desired model created.  Have you ever used this option? Have questions about another feature in SOLIDWORKS?  Let me know in the comments below.