SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 390 - @GrabCAD Revolution

GrabCAD Revolution:

This podcast covers the rapidly growning engineering community of CAD users called GrabCAD.  After covering the show in it's early days back in EP-338 almost a year ago, GrabCAD has multiplied it's user base 20 times! Topics covered:

- A brief overview of the service

- New Dropbox sync option for uploads

- New video link option for uploads

- GrabCAD iPad app overview

- Challenges, a new way to contract work

- Q&A, unlocking the forum and tutorial library

204K users, 41k free CAD models and over 3 million downloaded CAD models are numbers that any good startup community would be happy with.  GrabCAD has just made a HUGE impression on the engineering community and the participation is amazing.  Just a year ago there were only 10K users, which is a lot of engineers, but the community seems to have boomed!

Another impressive aspect of this engineering community is the addition of new tools and features the service provides.  Dropbox support on uploads, an iPad app for new submission viewing and a brand new 3D webGL viewer (STL) with annotation support are all additions that have been added over the past few months.

Knowing that GrabCAD is a community for engineers by engineers, I am confident they will continue to grow and be guided by its users to provide more features and tools.  Sharing models, getting community feedback and providing tools like 3D annotation are making GrabCAD the new "water cooler" for engineers! ~Lou

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

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 318 - Tablet Engineering Tools

Tablet Engineering Tools:

This podcast covers a growing trend of tools available on the tablet to aid Engineers to do lightweight tasks while on the go.  Topics covered:

CAD Tools (iPad):

- AutoCAD WS - open, edit, and share DWG (Free)

- iRhino 3D - Viewer for Rhino 3DM files ($3.99 USD)

- 3dvia Mobile HD - Viewer for model on

- Inventor Publisher Mobile - Viewer for Tech pubs 

- vueCAD - Universal 3D viewer and markup tool ($9.99 USD + $$$ per translator)

Current iPad App Announcements (not shipped):

- SolidWorks n!Fuze - Viewer, Browser and Comments 

- DraftSight - View, Edit, Share (no elaborate details were shared)

- CADFaster - Collaborative Tools

- NEI Nastran Mobile FEA App - FEA Cloud Computing

My Wishes...

- SolidWorks Live Buildings - View & collaborate?

- Post3D - Pull participation with chat and 3D avatar?

- eDrawings - something web-based and live clients for view and markup?

I have been wanting to do a show on a landscape of some of the applications available on the iPad for Engineering purposes.  Due to the iPad really being the only mainstream tablet on the market I focused mostly on the apps available on this platform.

Although 2011 will probably be the year of the tablet with HP, Rim, Motorola, Samsung and Apple all having players in the market, I am probably going to stick with the iPad for now since that is the platform that gets the quickest access to new applications.  What I would like to see is mobile clients built on HTML5 and other browser based technologies so the tablet platform is not as important.  Choice is good but creates complexities when it comes to application support!

As more CAD companies begin to create experiences that fit the mobile platform, engineers are going to have more choice of how they perform certain duties.  Pairing tablets with cloud based computing can deliver a "lean-back" options to certain aspects of the design process.  Tablets will not replace the desktop but can definitely complement them for certain tasks.  ~Lou

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