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The missing 5% functionality: VARIABLE PATTERN

Question asked by Alin Vargatu on Nov 2, 2020
Latest reply on Nov 10, 2020 by Alin Vargatu

Update: Please vote on this Top 10 idea:

Enhance Variable Pattern's Functionality


This is another post from the "Missing 5% functionality that makes users avoid this tool" novella.


The Variable Pattern can be considered the most powerful "macro-feature" in SOLIDWORKS. It can be responsible for reducing the FeatureManager Tree of complex parts by a factor of 10 or more. 

It is the only pattern that accepts as input:

  • 2D Sketches
  • 3D Sketches
  • Planes
  • Axes
  • Reference Points


Please watch this video to see the full power of the Variable Pattern and an explanation of the opportunities for enhancing its functionality.


It was most likely written by a genius developer who, unfortunately, got bored just before fully adding all the functionality it deserves. The result is a big tease that could turn into frustration for many users.  

Fortunately, the work required to make this feature fully functional is less than 5% of the original.

Let's see what is missing:

  • It cannot output individual bodies. Imagine the power of this tool if you can quickly generate "parametric" bodies based on a large number of planes, sketches, features, all driven by a nice, simple, clean table!
  • It cannot be linked to an Excel Table. Again, imagine the freedom and possibilities for this tool as a mini-DriveWorks running inside SOLIDWORKS! WOW!!!
  • The new sketches, planes, axes and reference points that are created are not visible and accessible in the tree or in the graphics areas. If they would be listed, we will achieve the Holy Grail of SOLIDWORKS: the ability to pattern sketches, planes, axes, driven by a table!!!
  • Cannot create a Pattern Driven Pattern using a Variable Pattern
  • Cannot pattern Surface Features


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