Pattern, the term Inventor uses for duplicating geometry in sketches, features of parts, and parts in assemblies. These Patterns can be rectangular, circular, reflective, and copy is a pattern in assemblies.
The Circular Feature Pattern now has an Orientation toggle to add rotation to the feature if desired. In the picture below, as we could always do, you see the Circular Pattern which rotated the feature as it goes around the base feature. If we designed radial clock faces all day, then this is all we needed.
Now, added in 2017, "It's about time", we have the Fixed toggle button that will maintain the Orientation of the feature as it is revolved.
Let's take a closer look as well at the display of the feature being patterned. Notice the green dot that is the current Base Point for the Orientation of the pattern.
The Base Point can be moved to a different vertex, giving different results to the pattern.
Picking different base points will give variations to the layout of the Circular Feature Pattern.
But wait, that's not all with Patterns. The Rectangular Pattern has also been enhanced with the next "It's about time" feature. Below, I have setup to use the Rectangular Pattern feature of a hole within a plate. The hole is centered and I get the standard preview of a 3 x 3 pattern.
However, this is not what I am after. I want the pattern to be centered on the plate. Now, with 2017, we have a Midplane toggle button.
Using the Midplane toggles for both directions, gives me the desired result of a centered pattern.
And yet, another "It's about time" feature, which in this case is a combination feature capability. The Sketch Driven pattern now can use the 3D Sketch on a radial face, with points defining the location for the feature to be patterned.
After picking the command to draw a 3D Sketch, I have the option to track the points picked directly on a radial face.
Now, I can draw a spline along the surface of my sphere, then add points all along that spline.
I then created a Workplane, using Tangent to Surface through Point, and select the surface and the start point of the spline. Sketching on the Workplane, I draw a Slot and create the feature on the surface of the sphere.
Using the Sketch Driven feature, I can now Pattern the slot using the Reference options Face and Base Point to align the feature on the face of the sphere at each point along the spline.
Final results, an excellent addition to the Pattern features of Inventor 2017.