We’ve written before about how hard it is to manage CAD models using standard file sharing tools. One of the big benefits of a PDM solution over non-CAD solutions is that it understands how different parts come together in an assembly. We’d like to share some tips for how to use GrabCAD Workbench to manage assemblies and keep your design in order.
Workbench speaks “assembly” language
GrabCAD Workbench, unlike consumer file sharing tools like Dropbox, understands the links between parts that make them an assembly. This means that users can take advantage of that knowledge when they manage and change CAD files. Here are some tips for dealing with assemblies in Workbench.
Tip 1 - Lock the whole assembly
When you work on a file in Workbench you can lock it so that other people know it’s being edited. This applies to assemblies as well - with two clicks you can lock an entire assembly, no matter how large. That way, any user who tries to download a part in the assembly will be notified that you have the assembly locked.
Tip 2 - Download the assembly all at once
If you are using the Workbench desktop application or SolidWorks add-in you won’t need this tip, because your desktop files are seamlessly synced to the cloud project. But let’s say for some reason you’re not using one of our syncing apps. If you want to open your assembly in your CAD program you need to download the entire assembly, not just the one part you are going to modify. You can do that with, again, just two clicks.
Tip 3 - Use cross-highlighting to find the right part in the viewer
When you’re looking at a new assembly in the viewer it may be difficult to understand the parent-child relationships and file structure. Workbench cross-highlights parts and subassemblies across the file, assembly, and graphic views of data to help you understand what’s what. Although that's usually known by the team who made the model, these tools are invaluable to the extended team or when outside designers deliver their work.
Tip 4 - Let your partners download the assembly as a neutral file
Once you’re done with your design you may want to send it off to a supplier for a quote or just for feedback. You upload it to Workbench and invite a partner as a collaborator. Great! But what if your partner doesn’t have the same CAD system you have? No problem, they can choose “Download As” and convert the assembly to any one of several neutral formats.
Go forth and assemble
We’ll be introducing even more features to make assemblies easy to use - let us know what you’d like to see.