DriveWorks Solo is here

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.

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