SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 438 - GrabCAD Workbench

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GrabCAD Workbench:

This podcast discusses the newly launched collaboration addition to GrabCAD's already popular 3D Model Community.  GrabCAD has now entered the browser-based collaboration arena to join players like TeamPlatform and Sunglass.io.  Topics covered:

- What is Workbench?

- Collaboration portfolio 

- The workflow of uploading, sharing and collaborating with others

- Toolsets for collaboration

- My wish list (for let's say V2)

- Initial thoughts

This past week GrabCAD, a 3D model community, introduced a new collaboration are to their service called Workbench.  Workbench is an attempt to give it's community more depth to this popular sharing platform by enabling it's users design collaboration tools. Prior to Workbench's launch, GrabCAD offered sharing but more inline with an open source mentality where the community could see, comment and download models from you.  

Workbench is a collaboration area of your GrabCAD account where projects are uploaded, collaborators are invited and 3D collaboration and communication happens on your terms.  Although in the V1 launch is asynchronous, I hope more real-time features make the coming builds and knowing GrabCAD and how quickly they iterate, it is probably not too far out.  

It is far from the perfect collaboration tool as it sits today but it is addressing a grown need for remote teams and smaller groups to easily get their project content hosted and give them tools to make informed 3D decisions without a lot of prerequisites and software.  This is yet another example of how the web is connecting us to be more efficient in design, communication and yes collaboration. ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 345 - Dropbox Library Sharing

Dropbox Library Sharing:

This podcast covers ways to utilize Dropbox, the cloud based drive/sync service, for keeping CAD data, libraries and other shared resources centralized and local to remove design teams. Topics covered:

- Dropbox signup, setup, options and plans

- How to share files and folders with other users

- Use and access Dropbox from inside of SolidWorks

- Possible libraries of SolidWorks good for sync

- Things to avoid for now..

- Apps to work with Dropbox to help

- ChatBox (Mac Only >;-) Windows coming!)

- WatchIT! Yahoo Gadget

Since getting on iOS, Dropbox has been a an integral part of my device requrements when it came to file sync. SolidWorks has so many libraries, templates, file locations, weldment profiles, etc, the local groups just place that content on the network and are good to go. What about those of us who are remote? Dropbox is a great way to get that content locally.

In adition to libraries, sometimes using it as a way to share CAD content crosses our minds. SolidWorks can use Dropbox's sync folder pretty well as long as SolidWorks is placed in a multi-user environment for use with assemby design. Although Dropbox does keep versions, it cannot be used to allow two users to work on the same file so avoid trying that...I already have.

Overall there are a few things that Dropbox could use to really become that missing link for remote teams and I talk to a couple, one of which I think it great but is not on Windows so make sure you tell them you want to see a Windows version soon! ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on TwitterFacebook and THE HEaRD! 

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 305 - SolidWorks Walk-Though

SolidWorks Walk-Though:

This podcast covers the new walk-though feature in SolidWorks 2011 and how this new gamer-like navigation tool can be used for presentations.  Topics covered:

- Introduction of walk though

- Walk though workflow (PropertyManager and Navigation Controls)

- Recording options

- Hotkeys and mouse navigation

- Tips and tricks for recording and using SolidWorks as a live presentation tool.

Walk through animations are nothing new to SolidWorks since the introduction of cameras but it has always required some planning to execute.  SolidWorks 2011 walk-thoughs are a streamlined way to communicate a design without having to create and plan out a complex, camera-based animation.

Although you may think about the new walk-though feature as something to make videos, I believe that it can be used more like eDrawings, allowing more in-depth communication.  This allows SolidWorks to take on the role of the presentation tool and not just the presenation authoring tool.

The use of hotkeys and the mouse really bring the PC gamer feel to this new navigation option and gives users the option to make SolidWorks the way to view designs in live 3D virtual reality! ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 277 - SolidWorks Collaboration Tools

SolidWorks Collaboration Tools:

This podcast covers collaborative tools and options within the core SolidWorks environment. Although these tools are mostly uni-directional, they still offer users ways to communicate their design data more efficiently.  Topics covered:

- Multi-user environment option

- Multi-user binded to Workgroup PDM

- Removal of the old 3D Meeting addin

- eDrawings and markups

- 3D Instant Website and hosted collaboration

- Other file formats (3DXML, 3D PDF, XPS,MTS)

- Presentation Studio & Theme Editor (Download Progressive Die Example PDF)

- Promise of SolidWorks PDS & "SolidWorks V6

Many of us forget the options that we have right inside of SolidWorks for collaborating even though many of them are what I call "half duplex" collaboration, just like email.  The creator sends the content in some form to another party for them to review and make notes and send back.  This is collaboration but only one party can respond at a time.

As engineers we tend to use a flurry of solutions to allow us to collaborate, not only in the design, but also in aspects of manufacturing, documentation as well as other parties internal and external to our companies.  In an effort to move further into "full duplex" collaboration , SolidWorks announced/previewed at SolidWorks World 2010, that development has begun on a tools built on top of Dassault's Enovia platform.  Tools like 3D Live that are built on top of Microsoft's OCS collaboration show the meld of video conferencing, screen sharing and collaborative markup, all within the design environment.  I think Olig Shilovitsky did a great summary of "How To Redefine Collaboration in PLM?", showing exactly where collaboration is heading. ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on TwitterFacebook and THE HEaRD!