While modern computer aided design (CAD) systems currently offer tools for generating simple patterns, such as uniformly spaced rectangular or radial patterns, these tools are limited in several ways: (1) They cannot be applied to free-form geometries used in industrial design, (2) patterning of these features happens within a single working plane and is not applicable to highly curved surfaces, and (3) created features lack anisotropy and spatial variations, such as changes in the size and orientation of geometric features within a given region. In this paper, we introduce a novel approach for creating anisotropic patterns of geometric features on free-form surfaces. Complex patterns are generated automatically, such that they conform to the boundary of any specified target region. Furthermore, user input of a small number of geometric features (called “seed features”) of desired size and orientation in preferred locations could be specified within the target domain. These geometric seed features are then transformed into tensors and used as boundary conditions to generate a Riemannian metric tensor field. A form of Laplace's heat equation is used to produce the field over the target domain, subject to specified boundary conditions. The field represents the anisotropic pattern of geometric features. This procedure is implemented as an add-on for a commercial CAD package to add geometric features to a target region of a three-dimensional model using two set operations: union and subtraction. This method facilitates the creation of a complex pattern of hundreds of geometric features in less than 5 min. All the features are accessible from the CAD system, and if required, they are manipulable individually by the user.

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