Posts Tagged ‘DriveWorksXpress’

Tables in DriveWorksXpress

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Let’s imagine you are doing a DriveWorks project where the number of holes in a part varies dependent on the model number. Something like this:

Model Number # of Holes Model Name
A 1 Kathy
B 3 Anna
C 7 Danella
D 2 Marisa






Something like this is rather easy to do in DriveWorks Pro or Solo because you could do a lookup table, but in DriveWorksXpress we are limited to only IF/Then logic. Acording to most documentation I’ve seen, they would want you to write an equation in DriveWorksXpress that would look like this:


It reads: IF the ModelNumber is “A” then 1 ELSEIF the ModelNumber is “B” then 3 ELSEIF the ModelNumber is “C” then 7 ELSEIF the ModelNumber is “D” then 2. Perfectly legit rule, but as your table grows troubleshooting the equation does become more difficult.

Consider writing the equation like this:


This treats these IF statements as an equation, adding zeros if it isn’t the model number we are looking for. (If the model is “C”, the equation would be 0+0+7+0.) It’s a little longer, more to type, but I think it is much easier to read and change.

You can do the same thing with strings too! They would look like this:


Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Pretty form validation in DriveWorks

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

I’ve always liked how DriveWorksXpress handles form validation.


When you build the form, you tell DriveWorksXpress what type of data you want (text or number) and if it is a number, tell it the range of numbers you will accept. With no more setup than that, the validation output looks like the image above -if there is a validation issue, the field is pinkish and a tooltip is available to help the user fix the issue.

This seems a bit nicer than how DriveWorks Solo does validation by default:


This isn’t terrible, but I want my users to see the issues right on the form, and not have to look in the tasks pane.

The other day I was complaining of this issue to Great Aunt Eleanor, she rolled her eyes, pulled down at the corers of her mouth and looked at me like I was the biggest numskull she ever laid eyes on. Finally she showed me this setup:

Create the text box on the form as usual, but add rules in the properties to mimic what DriveWorksXpress does.

Under the “Background Color” property, you’ll see she created an if/then statement that says if the value for the customer name is empty, make the color “LightPink” otherwise leave it “White”. The logic is the same for the tooltip, if the customer name is empty, show a helpful tooltip reminding your user that you need a value, otherwise don’t show a tooltip.


By default, both of these properties are static. (They’ll have a little gray circle next to them -like what you see next to the “Caption Color”.) Static properties do not change while your user populates the forms. However you can convert these static properties to rule based, by double clicking on the gray circle, the circle will then turn green, then you can build a rules similar to these above.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

DriveWorksXpress- Not Just for Complete Products

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

While DriveWorks can be used to automate the entirety of a SolidWorks design, sometimes it may be more usefully deployed in automating just one simple aspect of the product design.

By automating a single design element you will be able to focus your efforts on the more complex or bespoke aspects of your design. Thus giving you the flexibility to automate time consuming and repetitive tasks, simplifying your design process, and enabling you to use your time more efficiently.

Remember, DriveWorksXpress is included in every seat of SolidWorks.

Click here to find out more.

3DVision Technologies

Your destination for design and manufacturing technology

DriveWorks Headstart Webinars Announced

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Looking to get a head start in your design/sales configuration?

Next week, Driveworks is offering two free classes to help you hit the ground running with either your DriveWorksXpress or DriveWorks Solo projects.

The DriveWorksXpress webinar is running on December 6th, 2011. (DriveWorksXpress is the version included within SolidWorks.)

The DriveWorks Solo webinar is on the next day, the 7th. (DriveWorks Solo is still available for a free 30 trial. Get the trial, then sign up!)

Click the links above to sign up or learn more.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Troubleshooting DriveWorksXpress Equations

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

You can get some pretty fancy equations when working with DriveWorksXpress, sadly the nice DriveWorks equation editors that make debugging these equations aren’t avalaible until you upgrade to at least DriveWorks Solo. Luckily you already own a nice equation editor…Excel!

Let’s take an easy example. Let’s imagine we want to drive a dimension of a part based on a DriveWorks drop down box that contains the values: “Small”, “Medium” and “Large”. [We’ll name the input “Choice” in DriveWorks.] We want the values of the driven dimension to be 2, 3, and 4 respectively.

So we build our DriveWorks rule to look like this:

To use Excel as a debugger, paste the formula into Excel as I did below at cell A1. (Put the equal sign in front.) At this point, Excel is going to do some simple syntax checking and parenthesis will be color coded to help you match them up. In our case the syntax is correct so Excel takes the equation without much of an issue.


However we do have a problem. The DriveWorks input “Choice” doesn’t make any sense to Excel. That is why it is giving us the “#NAME?” error. The solution is to create a named range with the same name as our DriveWorks input. Excel will substitute the values in the named ranges for the DriveWorks input. In the example below, I named name cell C1 “Choice”. Do this by: highlighting the cell, then type the name of the range [DriveWorks input] in the area just to the left of the equation…the trick is to hit the Enter key when you are done, do not click out of that cell with your mouse.


You see that now cell A1 has the value of “4”, which is logical because “Choice” (the cell formerly known as C1) is neither “Small”, “Medium” nor “Large”. I can now put different values into “Choice” and watch my equation update.


For gruesome equations -with many DriveWorks inputs, nested if-thens and more parenthesis than a lisp routine, I almost always use this trick as a sanity check…it is a fast way to ensure my equations are behaving as I expect.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

New improved URL

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Quick, what is DriveWorks’ web site? Nope Nada Not even close.
It’s Yeah…if it wasn’t for my browser’s bookmarks, I’d never remember it either.

I’ve written letters, attended town hall meetings, even offered bribes to get a web site address I can remember. Finally my persistence paid off –three fold! Try:

The site is the newest of the three, the highlight is the link to the new DriveWorks Live sample site at the bottom of the page. Take a minute and try it out (Username and password is “Guest”) …here is a screen shot:


It is easy to imagine seeing your own product line in DriveWorks Live allowing your customers to explore all of the options available for your product.

Go check out the new site. Isn’t it fun when new software versions come out?

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

DriveWorks Solo is here

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

The email bag has been overflowing with my blogging fans upset with me about last week’s blogging tease over DriveWorks Solo. To all of you who complained, especially to you “Over Constrained and Angry in Athens Ohio”, I am sorry.

First, I haven’t yet found the time to install my own copy of DriveWorks Solo, so my review is simply of a demo Maria gave for me. I hope to be able to review the installation for you soon, but for now you and “Waiting for DriveWorks 7 in Indianapolis” are going to live with what I give you.


Here are the highlights I saw. Hold on, there is a lot here:

  • Solo works in the SolidWorks task pane!
    • This does make the dialog boxes a little simpler than DriveWorks, but years ahead of DriveWorksXpress. Another nice benefit is that you can see the SolidWorks model as you build your specification
    • The task pane can have multiple pages, giving you the ability to have multiple input tabs, giving you control over the specification flow
    • You have several controls available to you as you design your Solo interface: combo boxes, check boxes, text boxes, even dynamic pictures make the specification process easier
  • The rules you create still follow Microsoft Excel’s format, but they are much easier to create than in DWX
    • Variables are available for use, to make the syntax of the Excel functions easier to read and write
    • There is a nice little rule builder page to help you write the functions and several debugging tools available to help if the formula are returning values different than what you expect
    • There are filters in the rule builder to help manage rules for larger assemblies
    • Support for lookup tables-This means you wont need to embed a zillion “if…then” statements as you build your rules
  • You can determine where your cloned files are saved, the location doesn’t have to be the same as the master files as in DWX (someone give me a High 5!)
  • Can produce more than just SolidWorks files. This can be helpful if you want to automatically generate quotes, BOMs, order acknowledgments, etc.
  • Some drawing control
    • Not as much control over drawings as DriveWorks, but you can control the position of your views -and that alone is a nice step up from DWX
  • Replacement models
    • This one is difficult to describe, so let me give you an example of how this could be used. Imagine that you had a bearing in your assembly and depending on the specification you wanted to be able to swap one bearing for another. Rather than having to drive all the dimensions in a bearing you can simply swap the entire part in for another one. This alone can reduce the number of rules you need to create significantly!
  • Can export files in all file formats SW can produce: IGES, SAT, STEP, etc

I’ve saved the coolest for last:

  • Live preview of assembly & drawings
    • If, as you are building your specification you wonder…”Hmmm I wonder what changing this value would do?” Simply change the value, click update and the model will update in SolidWorks right before your eyes! -Great for doing “What If'” scenarios or ensuring the final assembly is going to look like what you expect.

I think it is going to be a productive product. Jump over to to learn more. (They have even installed the product so you can see video rather than reading about it.)

I’m with you “I Don’t Read Blogs from Louisville Kentucky” – -DriveWorks Solo…I don’t get the name either. What does it mean? “SweeneyWorks” would have been a much better choice.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

DriveWorks Solo comes out in October (or sooner?)

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Today DriveWorks fans have two choices: DriveWorksXpress and DriveWorks.

DriveWorksXpress is a nice little application…does a lot of things and even is a viable tool for some people….but let’s face it the interface is a bit old school and it typically doesn’t take long for you to wish you had more features.

DriveWorks is the big daddy. If you dream it, you probably can do it. Web interface, connections to databases, the ability to generate file types beyond SolidWorks, pretty dialog boxes, …the list goes on and on.

Until DriveWorks Solo comes out, you have your choice. Hot or cold. DriveWorks Solo comes in just between the two. I saw my first demo of it today, I think it will hit a nice sweet spot for many. I am hoping to get my copy early next week so expect a more in depth review soon! (I could give you more now, but the men in suits forbid it.)

How’s that for a teaser??

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Do-it-yourself DWX Class

Friday, June 12th, 2009

For me the best way to learn something new is to simply try it on a little non-production data set.

I’ve put together the simplest little play data set I could come up with -just one part and a drawing file…in less than five minutes you’ll have a very basic understanding of what ‘Xpress can do and you’ll have a set of files you can expand on to learn more.

(DriveWorksXpress can work with assemblies, but again, we are going to keep this example very simple, so I can keep you under the five minutes I promised you.)

Let’s imagine we sell tubing and have these design constraints:

  • Stock OD’s can be sold from 3-6″ in 1/4″ increments
  • If the OD is greater than 5″ the tube thickness needs to be 1/4″ else it should be 1/8″
  • This tube is stocked at 6″ long, but can be cut down to any length the customer requests
  • Your customers like to have their name on the drawing and in file name

Here is all you have to do to try it:

  1. Download this file, and extract the three files into an empty directory
  2. In SolidWorks, Tools -> DriveWorksXpress (you may get a notification about a database not being found, this is normal (’cause you haven’t made one yet), click okay)
  3. Choose “Create/Change Database” and click Next
  4. Find the “tube.mbd” file and click “Open”
  5. Click the “Run” tab in the top right side of the DriveWorksXpress dialog
  6. Enter in your desired values and click next.
  7. Done! You should now have two new files in your directory describing your new parts. You can now run the specification over and over.

That’s it. I’m done holding your hand. Play around see if you can reverse engineer it.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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