Autodesk Inventor 2019 – Pattern Along Complex Curve Hack

We like a challenging support call at Symetri towers!

The aim was to pattern some stanchions for a handrail in Autodesk Inventor, with the path defined by a curve in a 3D sketch.

Hold on – I know what you’re thinking – the rectangular pattern tool does that! Well it does indeed, but if you’re using a 3D sketch curve instead of 2D, it can get a little confused about the orientation of the patterned elements, even with the ‘Orientation’ set to ‘Direction1’ as shown below.

You see how the patterned features are tilting as we move along the 3D curve?

I guess its unavoidable – after all – we’re only using a single curve to define the orientation of the features; really it would be nice to be able to use a ‘guide surface’ – much like we can for a sweep feature.

So can we use a guide surface for a patterned feature?

If you’re using Autodesk Inventor 2017 or newer, then good news, your subscription pennies have paid off – you can use the ‘Sketch Driven’ pattern feature. Hooray!

Check out the video for a step by step walkthrough.

Note: the below webinar recording was created by Excitech prior to becoming Symetri in January 2021, following its acquisition by Addnode Group. All Excitech products, services and solutions mentioned in this recording are available through Symetri.

By the way – this trick will also work with patterned components in assemblies – try it out!