How often have you completed a design, simply to recreate it again with a custom or design-driven variation? If you frequently find yourself designing similar parts and assemblies, then you may be in need of a tool to help you quickly create these design variations with a few clicks. And do you know the best part about this awesome tool? IT’S FREE!
DriveWorks Xpress comes with every seat of SOLIDWORKS Standard, and it gives you enough functionality to automate assembly level design changes. I’ll walk you through how to activate and use this free add-in.
The first step is to turn on DriveWorks and register your product code. Under Xpress Products in the Tools menu, you can turn on DriveWorksXpress. This will trigger a pop up to have you Enable DriveWorksXpress through MySolidWorks. Clicking on the link will open up the My.Solidworks website with an activation code.
DWXIinstall Once that is complete, we are ready to start feeding information into DriveWorks to allow it to automate our models. For this example, I designed a wardrobe assembly, comprised of 10 part files. I’d like to be able to quickly adjust the height, width, and depth of the wardrobe and shelves, without needing to go through each part in the assembly.
In the picture above, you will notice that DriveWorksXpress in embedded into the SOLIDWORKS Interface. The software is database driven, so the first thing we do is create a new folder to store the project. Select “Create/Change Database” and click the right arrow. The two arrow keys will be used throughout the project for navigation. Once the project file is created, models can be added into DriveWorksXpress. By selecting specific parts, we can give access to DriveWorks to link dimensions to the database for automation.
From here, we can open each model and pick the dimensions we would like to drive; namely, anything dealing with height, width, and depth. For the example below, I opened up my shelf part from the Captured Models Menu, turned on my dimensions for the part, and gave a descriptive name for the selected dimension in the DriveWorksXpress window. This is how we can link our model to the DriveWorks Database.
After capturing all relevant dimensions, features, and patterns, we are ready to create rules to drive these dimensions. The user access point to these rules is called a form. We design a form to make it easy to dictate the result of the rules (left). This is where the customization and automation will take place in the final step, so it’s important to layout a form that is easy to follow, but allows for maximum customization. The inputs to these fields will then be used inside the formulas to drive the dimensions and features inside the Rule Editor (right).
This completes the background work needed to automate our design. The final step is to run the assembly using the form we created and quickly generate new configurations of the original design. Here are a couple of examples that I was able to create with my assembly.
I hope you give this FREE tool a try, and as always, let us know if you have any questions!