Getting started with DriveWorksXpress

This article will cover how to get started with DriveWorksXpress, a software which is used to automate some of your design processes. DriveWorksXpress is software pre-installed with your SOLIDWORKS desktop, and can be located under the SOLIDWORKS Tools menu. In this article, I will explain the basics of the software.

What is DriveWorks?

DriveWorksXpress is a software primarily used to automate the creation process of 3D CAD models, 2D drawings and all related documents. While the software is capable of a lot more, this article focuses on these features.

The software comes in three different flavors: DriveWorksXpress, DriveWorks Solo and DriveWorks Pro. Almost all DriveWorksXpress features are in the other, more advanced, offerings. Refer to this page to see the additional features of those offerings.

DriveWorksXpress can create variations of existing models and drawings.

For this article, I have created a simple tabletop, with cutouts for cables and a cable tray. I will show you how to change the size of the table, change the number of cutouts, control the custom properties and control your drawings.

Getting your serial number

To get started with DriveWorksXpress, under “Tools” go to the “Xpress Products” and select “DriveWorksXpress.”

This will open a window which will ask you to go to

On this site you will be required to login, or create a SOLIDWORKS ID.

After logging in, you should see your DriveWorks activation code (1), SOLIDWORKS serial number (2) and which SOLIDWORKS version the serial number can be used for (3).

Copy the serial number, go back to SOLIDWORKS, enter the product code and press OK.

This will open a menu where you can create a database.

The overview

Please note that in the DriveWorksXpress version of the software, this is a Microsoft database, not a SQL database, so no extra installation is required.

After a little browsing, you will be able to name your project and press “Open.”

With the new database created you can either browse to a model, use an open model, or open a new one. For this project, I created a simple table and pressed “Use Open Model.”

This brings out your DriveWorksXpress menu, and you are ready to begin. In this window you have the following information:

You can select multiple projects via the project button (1). The Capture button (2) is where you capture the model information that you need. The Form button (3) is where you determine what sort of input you want to use when translating the file. The Rules button (4) is where you tell the program how to translate your input from the form to the newly created model. The Run button (5) is where you run your project, and the Close button (6) closes DriveWorksXpress.

In the bottom of the screen, you have these controls:

(7) Currently captured models. These are the models that you want to change in some way.

(8) Captured assembly structure. This gives you an overview of the components in the active assembly and allows you to capture more components if needed.

(9) Dimensions and Features. This is where you determine features you want to control.

(10) Custom Properties. You can also change the custom properties in DriveWorksXpress.

(11) Drawings and configurations. You can set up rules to change configurations and create drawings based on previous drawings.

Capturing information

I start off by capturing some of the other models in the assembly and press “Captured assembly structure.”

I then select the models. This will allow me to control the size, number of cutouts, and if a cable tray will be part of the finished assembly.

I want to start with the tabletop. Double click on that, then select dimensions and features.

Make sure SOLIDWORKS’ Instant 2D setting is turned on, as it is the easiest way to capture the dimensions. Double click on the tabletop and select the length dimension (1). This allows you to name the dimension (2). Remember to press “Add.”

Use the same procedure to select the width dimension. Then click on the work screen and select one of the hole cuts. Again, you should name it.

If I do not want the cutouts in a model, I can select features that allow me to suppress them. I then create a description to capture and explain these features.

I am going to finish off by capturing the drawing of the model. Browse to the model via the “Drawing and Configurations” section.

The following information is now captured.

Repeating these steps, I can capture the table leg length, its description and drawing.

I can then do the same for the cable tray.

From the tabletop assembly, I have now captured all of its models, descriptions and drawings.

The Form

The Form is used to input the information you need to create variants of the model. For this model I want the option to change its height, width and depth. I then want to remove the cable cutouts and the cable tray. I start by pressing “Add.”

I can then add the required information.

I use the “Numeric Text Box” feature to create input fields for height, width and length.
I then define the numerical minimum and maximum values for each input.

I have also added the option to select the number of cutouts using a “Spin” button. Finally, I added a check box where I can select if I want a cable tray. At any time, I can press “Test” to ensure the input box looks as intended.

Rules, rules, rules

After the form has been built, it is time to connect the information from the form with the models. DriveWorksXpress gives you a nice overview of the information you have captured. Select the file name rule and press “Edit Rules.”

This will give you the option to change the name of the model. Double click on either of the names and the rule builder appears.

One thing to note about DriveWorksXpress is that it is only possible to add to the original name. So for this, I add the length, width and height of the entire assembly. I select the appropriate inputs and separate them by using “&.” This means that my rule looks like this.

For my “leg assembled” I need to do a bit of math. The tabletop thickness is 27 mm,
which means that I should deduct 27 from the “height.”

I want to delete the cable tray from the assembly in case it is not selected. To do this, I am going use an IF statement on the cable tray name rule.

If the cable tray is selected, the name will be changed, if not then it will be deleted.

I am going to create the same type of rules for the custom properties. For instance, with the tabletop assembly, I want to add to the description how many cable cutouts it has, and if it has a cable tray.

That rule would look something like this:

This is by far the most complex naming in this project, and in total my project looks something like this:

The dimensions are done much in the same way, except that no text is added, only numbers.
If you want a more graphical overview at this point, you can use the “view tree” button which will show where you might be missing something. In this case, it is the features we need to decide to suppress or un-suppress.

We go back to the view list and open the feature rules.

In both cases we are going to use the “IF” rule.

After the last rule is set up, we can do a test run.

To make sure that the table is changed, I am going to use maximum values and remove the cutouts as well as the cable tray, and press “Create.”

The software creates a copy of the original file and apples the new rules and value to create new models and drawings.

One thing that you will notice is that the newly created files are in the same folder as the original files. This is one of the limitations of the DriveWorksXpress edition. In DriveWorks Solo and DriveWorks Pro, you can (among other things) change the file location of your drawings.

In conclusion, DriveWorksXpress is a great tool if you often design “the same but different” models. Keep in mind that if you decide that you want to dive deeper into the software with the Solo or Pro versions, your project can easily be converted to the other offerings.

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