One major problem of using a CAD software was version control. Before GrabCAD, there really wasn’t a way to do this; people would carry flash drives and transfer it from one collaborator to another (there was something called TortoiseSVN, but that didn’t appeal to me as much). With GrabCAD, version control is made easy, for it has functionalities to upload changes to the CAD model via cloud, and even detect when there are conflicts. This post serves as a guide to using GrabCAD.
Before getting into the fun of spamming everyone with email notifications of GrabCAD updates, we first need to set up a couple things. First off is making an account. An email and a name must be provided. Don’t make a fake name, use your actual name. It is important that we know who makes changes in the CAD so I can yell at that person when he or she breaks the assembly to the point that it must be remade… On a serious note, this is all so that we can pinpoint the origin of an error whenever something goes wrong. Once that is taken cared of, the next step is to download the GrabCAD workbench app. This app should be downloaded on a device running Windows; SolidWorks doesn’t run on iOS. Installation is as usual: next, next, I agree to terms, install, done.
After installation, you will notice that a new folder has been created under your documents folder called “GrabCAD”. This is where all the projects you are working on are held. To make a new project, start off by creating a new folder within the GrabCAD folder (give it a name!). After signing in on the software, you will see an icon for the folder you created. Click on it and hit “Connect”. This will create a project in Valkyrie’s GrabCAD workbench.
Now, say you want to link your computer with an existing project such as the Valkyrie Parts Library (you will all be using this). Create a folder within the GrabCAD folder, and name it “Valkyrie Parts Library,” and name it exactly like that. If you accidentally type in “Valkyrei Parts Librry,” parts that you use will use that file path, which doesn’t exist for other users using the correct wording. Once you created this new folder, return to the GrabCAD Workbench software. Click the gear and hit the option “Manually Connect Project”. Find the Valkyrie Parts Library on the drop-down list and select the folder you wish to link it to. Once that is all set up, any changes you make can be uploaded, and you can also download changes that other people make.
To conclude this blog post, I will talk about the general usage of Valkyrie’s Workbench specifically. First off, this is only for CAD, and nothing else. Please don’t upload your C++ code, your game software files, or your porn to the Workbench (that actually happened once). GrabCAD admins are strict on this one. Only CAD files please (if there are important documents related to CAD, that’s fine). Second, whenever you make updates to any of our in-season projects, add a comment on what you changed, and be specific about it. If needed, we may need to revert the model to a previous version (another pro of GrabCAD), and the only way we can effectively do that is through these comments. Lastly, do not invite anyone to the Workbench, especially if it’s a student from another team, and especially during the first few weeks of build season. If this person ends up copying our entire work, it would spoil the fun of designing in FRC. If you really need to invite someone, ask me or a GrabCAD admin.
If you follow everything above, I will like you, and if I like you, your chances of becoming the head of design will increase.