Exporting URDFs Directly From Solidworks
Stephen Brawner is a PhD student at Brown University. During his recent internship at Willow Garage Stephen developed a SolidWorks to URDF exporter. This exporter will help robot developers integrate their designs with ROS.
This tool is a simple add-in that exports single parts or whole assemblies to a URDF package. The add-in displays a simple GUI that automatically pulls all the information from a model and organizes the SolidWorks assembly tree into a URDF robot tree.
The add-in has a separate GUI for exporting single parts into standalone links or exporting assemblies into complicated tree of links and joints.
For exporting parts, the tool presents a single window which summarizes all the information it grabbed from SolidWorks. For assemblies, the user is presented with a Property Manager page to configure the URDF which can be saved with the design. After configuration, the tool will analyze the free degrees of freedom between the two components in the SolidWorks assembly to infer the joint type, origin and axis. The user can also customize many attributes of the URDF to their liking within the add-in.
This SolidWorks to URDF export tool should help ROS robot developers integrate their designs much faster and much easier with ROS.
Instructions for installation and use can be found at ros.org/wiki/sw_urdf_exporter