For years, SOLIDWORKS users have been forced to skip pattern instances by manually clicking each instance they’d like to remove, leading to frustration paralleled only by rush hour traffic. This tends to be especially infuriating for very large patterns with many instances to skip. I’m happy to announce that SOLIDWORKS 2017 now includes the ability to skip pattern instances with a window or lasso selection, and the new functionality is just as straightforward and polished as you could have hoped.
Let’s suppose our goal for the simple part shown below is to create a pattern of holes around the perimeter of the top face. Traditional workarounds to avoid manually skipping instances might include creating two separate pattern features, trying to force a Fill Pattern to work, or attempting a Sketch-Driven Pattern. While usually valid, these approaches often result in more work than manually skipping instances, and may also require management of additional features.
To skip instances with a window select, simply expand the group box labeled Instances to Skip in the PropertyManager for your pattern feature, and a purple handle will appear for each pattern instance. From here, click and drag a window or lasso around the instances to skip. It’s really that easy. These instances will be deactivated and removed from the feature preview, and in this particular example, we have turned what would previously be a 32 click operation into a single click and drag.
Keep in mind, the window (or lasso) select works like a toggle, so if you’d like to keep a portion of the instances that you skipped, another window select can bring them right back for you, and the standard point-and-click method can be used in combination with a window select as well. Additionally, you can hold the Alt key during a window drag to reactivate skipped instances without toggling off existing active instances. Likewise, hold the Shift key during a window drag to deactivate instances in the same fashion.
The window select capability for skipping pattern instances can be leveraged in any pattern type that allows instances to be skipped and can save you a tremendous amount of precious design time. This enhancement alone was enough to prompt me to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS 2017, but that’s not all! Additional enhancements are covered extensively in the Hawk Ridge Systems What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2017 video series.