Atypical Patterns in Fusion 360

September 29, 2021 Tim Strandberg

We've often used a pattern or array to quickly create a series of features along given axes or a center point.  This gives us the ability to create rows and columns of cutouts, or holes for a bolt pattern.

But what about when we need to create a given number of holes along a non-rectangular or non-circular manner?

Yes, we could painstakingly create construction geometry, including a bunch of math we haven't used since high school or college, but that's never fun.

Or, we could use Fusion 360's Pattern on Path feature.

In this example I've got a somewhat rectangular shape, but it's got some unique tangent curves along the top and right sides.

I need to place a series of holes around the perimeter of this object.  To get started, I'm going to create my path.  Since I want it a constant distance from the edge of the component, I'll create a sketch and offset the outside line by the distance to my first hole, in my case 1.5".  Depending on your order of operations you may have to restore the visibility of your offset sketch.

In order that my holes are equally space along my path I need to know how long my offset line is.  To gather this information we'll use the Measure command, selecting inside the offset boundary.

As you can see from my selection output the path loop is 102,561" long.  Right that number down as well need it in the next operation.




The Pattern on Path command is found under the Create drop-down panel.  I'll first select the hole by picking the face of the cylinder.  Next we need to pick the path.  You should see a little blue arrow extending from the start point.  Grab the arrow and drag it in the direction indicated.

Next enter your desired Quantity, and the Distance, (here's where our loop length comes in).  Your dialog should look something like this:

Notice how the blue arrow is all the way around back to the origin point. Hint, the first hole and the last are coinciding, so if you want 36 holes enter 37 in the quantity or you'll be one hole short...

When you click OK, you may have to suppress the visibility of your loop sketch, but now you'll have holes evenly spaced around the perimeter of your component.

About the Author

Tim Strandberg

PLM Solutions Consultant<br><br>Tim focuses on business process management consulting, product lifecycle planning, and system to system integration.

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