Saw a tweet just now about a company called Driveworks is now a FRC sponsor.
Apparently, Driveworks is a plugin (?) for Solidworks that helps with the automation of CAD designs. They claim you can save time by ‘automating your repetitive SolidWorks tasks’. It sounds interesting, and I am all about CADing more effectively, so do any of you have experience with DriveWorks?
The company I work for has been integrating DriveWorks to help us generate models for common styles of systems we design and manufacture (primarily conveyance). I can nearly promise you using DriveWorks for robotics would not be worth it, primarily because every robot is just about completely custom.
Essentially DW is a big configuator, you design components and assemblies such that they are able to be configured the way you want them, and then DW creates all of those models and assemblies automatically, including drawings. It takes a TON of setup work and requires very advanced understanding of CAD to design in a way where all configurations will work without failing.
If you were making the same robot with just a few modifications over and over and over it MIGHT be worth it, but only after a few years.
My company, who makes thousands of conveyors every year, many of which use the same overall design and belt type, is perfect for DW. Before we had to model every part of every conveyor, and often from scratch. If there was a similar application we could copy that, but still had to manually make any adjustments. Now we plug in a few options and a nearly complete conveyor comes out the other side. It’s saved us thousands of design hours, and will likely pay for itself many times over in the coming years.
Honestly the WCD configurator shown in the FRC landing page looks pretty slick. Given how deep this community has gotten into Onshape scripts, I could imagine a world where similar energy is put into a handful of useful FRC tools.
DriveWorks seems more like configurable parts and assemblies in Onshape, rather than FeatureScripts specifically. FeatureScripts are different from parts and assemblies in that they can help with many more low level tasks, such as sketching and extruding. A good example of this is my plate FeatureScript, which simplifies the process of designing plates by allowing users to choose only the outer geometry, and has additional options to add holes and motor mounting as well. Thus, my plate FeatureScript reduces the amount of sketching and constraining required to make plates significantly. It seems like DriveWorks focuses more on allowing users to configure existing models, presumably by doing things like setting dimensions, the number of instances in patterns, model states, etc., to be driven by the user directly, similar to the way parameters and relations work in Creo and the way configurable parts and assemblies work in Onshape. And while that is certainly very useful and functional, it doesn’t necessarily have all of the capabilities that FeatureScript allows.