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ST8: Pattern By Table



It's my favorite time of year again, new release time! For about 10 months out of the year I wait for that second when I can start telling people about the new features in the software. It's so much fun getting to be one of the people who breaks all this good news to Solid Edge customers. So you may hear all the features at once from some other outlet, but if you want the details about how the new feature works, this is the place for you.


I'm going to detail a new feature twice a week. And I'm going to start with what is to me one of the most exciting new features in ST8: Pattern by Table.


I won't take much imagination to figure out the basic function of Pattern by Table, but once you know all it does, I think you'll find it as impressive as I do. You can create a pattern using a table of points and rotations. It works in both ordered and synchronous workflows. I'm using the vertical Command Bar in the following examples because it gives the most information, if you use the horizontal bar, it will take up less space. I'm also showing the PromptBar just so you can get used to what sort of info the software is looking for.


solidedgest8patternbytable2.pngTo get this feature to work in synchronous mode:


  1. Window select the faces of the feature you want to pattern

  2. Click on the command Home>Pattern>Pattern by Table

  3. Select the coordinate system to identify the pattern direction. Your pattern must be expressed in terms of X and Y of an existing coordinate system. So if the base coordinate system global X and Y directions are not lined up the way you want your pattern X and Y to be lined up, you must create a new coordinate system that controls this precisely.

    The command to make a new Coordinate System is located on the Home tab, in the Planes group.

    In the image below, the coordinate system on the right is the base coordinate system, and X/Y do not match my pattern. I created the coordinate system on the left where X/Y directions are correct.

  4. solidedgest8patternbytable5.pngFill in the Instance Table. Notice that you use an external spreadsheet for this, even for editing, which will allow you to link together patterns in multiple documents. In Sync, this has big implications, because it gives you the ability to make live links between documents.So you can have matching patterns in multiple synchronous documents.

    Also notice I did not add the master occurrence to the table.

    To edit the table, you cannot edit it in the Instance Table window, you must click the Edit button, which takes you to the externally linked file. When you are done, save the Excel file, go back to the Instance Table, and click Update. The table and the Solid Edge part will update.

  5. The Reference Point allows you to place where you want 0,0 for your pattern to be located. In the example I've been creating, I used the Feature Centroid.  That's the green feature in the upper left.

Of course you can still suppress instances by clicking on the red dots, or suppress regions by window selecting several red dots. But in a feature like this, you shouldn't have to do that, because you can eliminate instances by deleting them from the table.

One of the great things about this pattern type is that you aren't constrained to just rectangular or circular patterns.



solidedgest8patternbytable9.pngAnd of course you can use the Excel file to drive a pattern in other parts to line up other features or holes. When you change the Excel file and update the part, each part will update. And you should be able to use the same Excel table to drive ordered or synchronous parts. To me, that's impressive.


The workflow is largely the same in ordered modeling. Creating an ordered coordinate system makes more sense to me than the syncronous coordinate system, but if you set up your parts with the correct base coordinate system, you won't have to worry about that part.


This is one of my favorite new features in the ST8 release mainly because of its power and flexibility.


What do you think about this new feature? How much time will it save you?


Looks great but why does it have to be an external spreadsheet !!!!!!!!!!!!

That's just another file to go missing or get changed in error, thus completely screwing up a load of files.

Could we please just have a simple pattern command that allows different spacing between elements. (linear and circular patterns).

Catia V5 does different linear spacings within a pattern, NX allows 'clocking' an instance to a different angle in a circular pattern.

At least give the user the ability to define the feature pattern within the part file.


If the file goes missing altogether, the feature does show an error. If the file simply gets renamed, SE finds the renamed file automatically and internally renames it so it is now looking for the new name.


In both sync and ordered, as long as you don't edit the feature, it still appears on the part the way it should. although in the Pathfinder it does show a red ?.


I'm sure you've got some great suggestions on how this can be improved. Maybe you could submit an enhancement request.


Looks very slick and I will definitely use this, but agree that this shouldn't lock you in to having an external file if that is truly how it works!

Gears Honored Contributor

A similar workflow was suggested by @ArtPatrick  in response to this question. I'd say that workflow was a flash of genuis. Does ST8 then has the Pattern by Table in the assembly environment too ?





  Its interesting but I don't see where is would save any time. As I see it you open Excel, setup the format, plug in the numbers, and hope you got them right. Then open a part file and insert/link it to the file. If you never change to file again life is good, but if that smuck touches it life isn't so good anymore.

  Seems to me you could get the same thing using Feature Library. And by changing the Part Copy command to allow for feature inputs (things without a body) it would be the same except no Excel file to deal with. I realize this is simplistic as written, but to think beyond that is above my pay grade.

  To the lost file comment, the above still has the same issues.


This works great. I was waiting for something like this. It would be even better when you can give an offset in the excel file.

Something like the variables from part_1 starts in cell (1,1) part_2 in cell(1,10) part_3 in cell(1,20) etc. Then you can manage al then variables in one excel file

Now I have 20 excel files to manage this. 20 Excel files and 20 part, is better than 200 parts, but 20 parts and 1 excel file is better.



Solution Partner Pioneer

I'm working with these tool on ST9 and is so useful but, It may be possible to link the pattern to another sheet of the Excel? It it is possible to do that I may have just one Excel to 2 different patterns, not two excels. 


I looked up, but I didn’t found any option to change the sheet, it always takes the values of the first one. 


Why would it not let you enter in values or paste links like a variable table. Opening an external document is such a hastle, and if it's linked to another document it always asks me to confirm the udpate. Is there any way to highlight cells within a document and only use those? Maybe paste links in solid edge to cells in excel?