Content on GrabCAD

It is unfortunate to bring up one very important topic that is caused by a fraction of GrabCAD users, yet concerns many.

Matt Lombard from Dezignstuff pointed us to an issue that GrabCAD engineers are uploading models to GrabCAD that are not created by themselves.

Here is where we stand.

We do not support activity where engineers are taking credit for models originally created by other people. We started GrabCAD with very limited resources to help engineers to do their own work more efficiently and providing an environment to share knowledge that would save time and effort for many others. We are building and developing the service on the basis of good will and are expecting all engineers to use it with the same principle. Unfortunately there is always a fraction of people who abuse the good will of others and damage the ground where we all stand.

Open environment. Our goal is to give engineers a solution that they can use without strict controls. We believe that like many technology and science areas, engineering should be more open, the industry profit from the global knowledge and know-how of the world's engineers and encourage community collaboration. We also believe in engineers' professionalism, hence have no short term plans to start checking all uploaded models manually before allowing them to publish the content to the whole community.  Doing that would be contrary to our approach and contradict the values we believe in. However, we can set guidelines - not publishing and giving credits to users uploading other peoples' models is something we think is the right thing to do.

All the above mentioned (plus, the feedback we are receiving every now and then) has made us to take the following action:

  • There is going to be a flag button for models that users click to report stolen, improper or broken models. We are currently working on adding this, so expect the feature be fully usable from February 1st.
  • In addition to our Terms of Service already today stating that every user  warrants 'the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party', we are adding an extra notification to the upload form to make all users to be aware of the source and ownership of the  uploaded model. This will also be in every upload form from February 1st.
  • We are manually taking down all the content that we are being reported about and that does not belong to the uploading engineer, infringing the rights of the original model creator, patent, trademark or copyright holder. If you notice suspicious models, please e-mail us the link to the file with your explanation or cause of the concern.

We are also working on finding solutions how engineers could share content that they have improved or worked on, yet do not own themselves and how to extract that from the profile view, yet be made available as useful content for others.

Again, the main reason why we are developing GrabCAD is to help engineers to do their work better. There are tens of thousands of students that are using these models and Q&A for learning and are benefiting from more experienced engineers' knowledge and experience. We believe it is a good thing that they can learn faster and get inspiration from other great engineers like Matt Lombard.

There are engineers who have uploaded their own models so that big automotive, aviation companies have found their profiles on GrabCAD and have hired those engineers to work for them. The skills and experience reflected in the quality of the models have generated a lot of interest in industry companies. Hence, the integrity and credibility of everyone's own work is more and more important to all parties involved. It is a great way for potential partners and employers to find talent, and on the other hand, it is a great way for engineers to show their abilities. All in all, if those models in the talented engineers' portfolios would not have been theirs, they would not be working for those companies today.


  • It’s sad that this is/was a problem but It’s good to see GrabCAD taking steps to prevent it. This is one of the few issues that really gets under my skin and bugs me, so thank you for handling it in a professional manner.

  • jamal

    We have discussed it under some models a few times. Now it is nice to hear that, we are going to have a solution for kind of unfair situations. Flagging will be really helpful.

    Thank you Hardi!

  • Ali H

    a step on the right direction to prevent GC from becoming a carbon copy rather than a unique website with creative people.

  • I think if you implement the things you’ve mentioned, it will go a ways toward restoring legitimacy to this site. While I don’t use GrabCAD, it looks like a cool resource for a lot of folks.

  • Gary Maltby

    Grabcad is a great vehicle for Designers and Engineers to share their knowledge and experience. GC was grown very quickly. It is good to be reminded sometime of the originally goals of this website.

  • Kyle

    Good to see this addressed.

    A further step down the road would be checking for duplicates in your file systems so it can internally flag instead of the uploader pruning to find somebody who has copied your upload.

    Original useful content is what will make this site a success.


    Very right decision!
    I agree with the idea. Engineers should upload only their original projects.

  • Ray Keane

    This is definitely needed. People have been pleading for this kind of ‘flagging option’ now for months. Just read the entire post from Matt Lombard from the point of view of an original author who has had a lot of his own hard work been put up on GrabCAD without his consent or knowledge. I think all free tutorial models, for example, should be taken down and a new section made to point people in the right direction where these models can be found. Otherwise GrabCAD will just be a sea of duplicate models done from the same original creator.


  • Gee

    wew…finally..grabcad team give real a solution..^_^.. & same as scott “thank you for handling it in a professional manner”

  • Greg

    Good idea. so you say above “We do not support activity where engineers are taking credit for models originally created by other people.”

    Does this mean it is ok to post other models as long as we post a link to the original file?

  • Gabriele SWX

    Finally you win!
    I wrote many times that model I uploaded are public and free and I don’t get money for those models.
    I think that someone envy my rank, so he made pressure on Grabcad staff to hide my models.
    Today my models are signed as “private” and nobody can see them.
    It’s not right for me.

  • Gabriele SWX

    I read now about problems about GRABCAD staff on internet because some models on this site are not made from the uploaders.
    So now I decided to make public only files made by me.
    All the others file are tagged like private.
    I toke this decision to don’t give probems to the staff.

  • Ray Keane

    Why is my pervious comment awaiting moderation?

  • James Grant

    It’s disappointing that there are some who would submit models designed and built by others and take credit for them. Happily it’s a small number of individuals who do this.
    I understand that through work we sometimes contribute to the completion of a project as a member of a team. We may then feel that claiming ownership isn’t much of a stretch. But of course it is. I believe that all or certainly most of the people I work with are ethical and would never take credit from their contemporaries. This sharing environment that we have here is based on people of a common interest sharing our ideas and seeking input from people of similar interests. I just find it disappointing that one would come here and demonstrate such a lack of ethics.

  • Arun Kumar

    a chatting option should be provided among all the engineers here on grabcad so that engineers can easily interact with other engineers, thereby the solutions to the problems can be solved more easily and openly.

  • Thanks for the support.

    Currently we do not allow to upload models that does not belong to you, we are thinking ways how you can share useful content without the feeling that this belongs to you and is aligned with copyrights of original author.

    PS. Good news is that the flagging option is already in the development environment. It will go live soon with other big development.

  • Gabriele SWX thanks a lot.

  • Venkatasubramanian

    Here are the 2 models from which are not modeled by me…
    ..I am being very very frank and I abide by the grabCAD rules..I don’t care if my rank drops or my reputation goes down..! :)..
    With Best Regards

  • Tom kirkup

    Removing the 2 models I posted that are not mine now, I don’t want to be penalised or lose credability

  • Pingback: Report Spam Functionality - GrabCAD news()

  • Daniel Flores

    the flag could also be misused…i’ve already had emails from staff stating that my Nerf Blaster assemblies were not my own…which they are 100% my workings. But could also be confusing because i had uploaded many versions of the file,as i worked on the modeling. I think this was before we had ‘revisioning’, or i just didn’t notice it. I have taken down all the files except for the final. But this is discouraging to see how people will abuse the system. how are we to fight back when someone says a model is not our own???

    • Daniel,

      sorry about that. We will take it case-by-case. Kaspar will contact you.

  • Elian Feenstra

    This looks like a very good idea to me. It doesn’t matter whether this is on the internet or not, copyrights have to be respected, and credit must be given where due.

    On the other hand, there may also be jealous people who would flag your model, just to annoy you. And people can suspect your model even though you made it yourself. What would be the proper way of showing that a model is definitly your handywork?

  • Silvio

    I’ll know if my drawings are accused?
    “Report this model”

  • William Barclay

    Great job and a lot of effort GrabCAD Staff

  • Tony

    I have had a model flagged as not mine, correct, the model in question had full information posted of who the owner was and how to navigate to their site, I have never attempted to take credit for this model and therefore I have removed it from my files so that i do not fall foul of the new rulings that are currently being put in place.

  • Jeff Earnest

    Though this is a good idea. I was accused of copying someone else’s work and claiming it as my own, NOT true,,, If you read the file that came with it you would know this. I have never been a fan of finger pointing so I have left grabcad. Thank you to all who liked my models, It means alot to me.

  • Good job GrabCAD, good to see action taken.

  • Eric Kelly

    This comment is in reference to Matt Lombard’s website, specifically the article in the Rant section titled “Why do they call it “GrabCAD”?” So I posted my thoughts after reading the comments section.
    His article was basically a flame on your site and many of the people were whining for various reasons, some valid others not (contrary to his comments above).
    The issue and the reason that I am posting this on grabcad, is that after giving my opinion, which I just assumed I was allowed to do in the comments section, Matt cowardly deleted our little exchange. I guess I somehow offended him because I like the idea of Grabcad and I think that if people don’t like the site, for heaven’s sake, don’t visit!
    It is his website, so he is entitled to do so, however it just cracks me up how someone will get so riled up over a bunch of people who abuse the policies of a website that isn’t theirs. There those of us that are excited about a major exchange site and as a matter of ethics would not do any business with those who would upload content that wasn’t theirs whether it was stated in the users agreement or not. See people who cheat such as posting content that is not theirs, when they land the “big” job, can’t perform. Those of us who actually Draft / Design for a living can perform, have more work than we can handle and don’t post content that isn’t ours nor would we ever think of breaching any NDA agreement that we have signed because we care about our reputation.
    I also made a comment about the usage of the term “engineers” being a sore spot with a few commenters below his article and man that must have been the wrong button. He proceeded to hurl an insult my way about “some people” want to know the details, not just a broad understanding of how something works; translation = smart people are engineers, less smart people aren’t. I told him it was ok, I have thick skin, I chose, purposely not to be an engineer, and am not making any observation about them, I work with them on a daily basis, other than don’t be so touchy.
    All that to say, I am sure it is grabcad’s intent to have a successful business which I am pretty sure doesn’t involve pissing off legitimate users.
    Hey Matt, I didn’t mean to piss in your fire,

  • Eric Kelly

    @ Elian Feenstra. Have them provide the file in question internally to Grabcad with an earlier date stamp on it. I don’t think anyone is talking about tubing profiles or modeling a square, it should be pretty easy to tell if something is yours as they couldn’t produce an identical file and if they did, who ever had the earlier file gets credit. Accusations shouldn’t be able to be made with out proof. Grabcad should handle it like any other site, with a behind the scenes look. Rating systems like ebay, verification like craigslist, payments like elance. There is a whole untapped market for them by splitting the site into paid/unpaid areas and tying someone’s account to both, to keep the people that really want to use the site and see it grow protected.