SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 471 - GrabCAD Workbench for SolidWorks

GrabCAD Workbench for SolidWorks:

This podcast covers the updates and new add-in for SolidWorks for the evolving GrabCAD engineering platform.  Every year when I come back to revisit what GrabCAD is up to I am amazing to their expanding offerings to the engineering community.  Topics covered:

An overview of GrabCAD Workbench

- The GCWB web UI

- Overview of the SolidWorks Add-In

- Use cases and workflow from within SolidWorks

- SolidWorks format support and integration with GrabCAD web service

- Overview of pricing plans and capabilities

- Overall thoughts.

The first time I mentioned GrabCAD on this show it was July 3rd, 2011 when they broke onto the scene with an engineering community and 3D CAD sharing site.  Since then we have kept an eye on their evolution over the years and last year they introduced their Workbench product which was a shift in their previous offerings.

Workbench was focused to tackle sharing and collaborating on private 3D data and provide browser-based viewing (WebGL), markup, measure and comment threads around design teams and their data.  A year ago I covered the newly launched Workbench and at that time it was primarily a web service, requiring upload of data via the web and somewhat disconnecting the CAD authoring tool from the collaboration service.

As Workbench began to get traction, they launched GrabCAD Toolbox which is a listing of partners they work with through add-ins, and other cloud service connections like with Lagoa.  With the launch of their SolidWorks add-in, GrabCAD has narrowed the barrier between desktop and cloud, allowing Workbench to become an in-process tool as well.  Versioning, file locking and auto sync with upload/download support give light PDM to any SolidWorks user.  I'm excited to see what else the folks at GradCAD will do next!  ~Lou

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SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 438 - GrabCAD Workbench


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  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 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

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 338 - GrabCAD


This podcast covers the online CAD community for engineers and those looking for CAD work to be done.  This online community just breached the 10,000 user mark and is growing into the place to go for CAD services and advice. Topics covered:

- Overview of GrabCAD

- The engineering community

- Requesting files

- Taking "CAD Jobs"

- Posting a CAD Job.

- Various rates for services

Over the years we have seen many "communities" get launched only to be shut down a number of months later.  The earliest of these I can remember was the MFG Network that SolidWorks launched 6 or 7 years ago. MFGN was then rebranded to SupplierSource which was "unplugged" months ago and was finally removed from the SolidWorks TaskPane in 2011 SP4.  Others that come to mind are and 3D Content Central.

Many of these sites have the community and 3D model sharing service as their main draw but what makes GrabCAD different is their value proposition.  They offer a service for those who need CAD services by utilizing the community itself.  Service requests come in and are offered up to the community, giving their users the ability to make cash for CAD.

In addition to offering drafting, 3d modeling and STL for 3D printing, they offer software conversion and custom jobs as well.  The community is filled with a resume-like profile for its users so finding talent in any CAD flavor is simple.  The unique balance of community and services might be the magic mixture that was lacking from its predecessors. ~Lou

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