Use GrabCAD Workbench to help manage print requests

In this article:

Do you receive lots of requests from people in your company asking you to print things for them? Is it difficult to communicate with them about their desired print, or difficult to keep track of which version of the file to print? Read on to see how GrabCAD Workbench can help you solve this.

What is Workbench?

Workbench is a way for engineering teams to collaborate on a shared set of files.  Click here to see how it compares to Dropbox, FTP, and local file server storage. 

  • The Desktop App — Keeps a local folder in sync with your secure projects online. Do your work on local files for faster load times, then upload when you're ready to push your changes. Learn more.
  • Version History —  Visualize how your file changes over time. Download or roll back to an old version. Learn more.
  • 3D viewer —  A powerful way to see your CAD files from any web browser. Includes a measurement tool, assembly component cross-highlighting, and much more! Learn more.
  • Pins and sketches — Add specific references to the 3D viewer when you leave comments for your teammates. Learn more.
  • Partner Spaces — Set aside a selection of your project's files to share to a wider audience. Learn more.

Workbench is absolutely  free, and there's no limit on the amount of data you can store, or the number of collaborators you can have. Files on Workbench are totally private to you and your team, but click here to read more about security with Workbench.  

Getting Started

If you're up and running with GrabCAD Print, then you already have access to Workbench! Log in to  grabcad.com, then switch to Workbench in the upper left corner: 

If you want to get a feel for the features and instructions on getting connected with the Desktop App, check out the self-demonstration instructions right here:  Step-by-step workbench demo

If you're a CAD designer or manager and you'd like to use Workbench to keep your whole team's files in sync, continue reading the Workbench getting started guide  here

If you're a printer operator who receives print requests, you can use Workbench as a way to manage the files. Here's how:  

Example workflow for a printer operator

1

Create a Workbench project for incoming requests. Log into grabcad.com, and switch to Workbench in the upper left corner. This brings you to the  projects list page. Click Create new project and give it a name such as "Print Requests."   

You may wish to use a different project for each department that is requesting parts. 

2

After you create the project, you are brought to the  Workbench web interface. Click on the Users tab, and click on Invite Users. Invite all the users who normally send you print requests, and give them the role of Collaborator.

3

The users you invited will be uploading their print requests into the project. When they click the link in the invitation, it will bring them to the Workbench web interface. From there, they can go to the Files tab, create a new folder, and drag their files into the project. 

4

With the great in-browser 3D viewer of Workbench, your users can use  pins and comments to indicate special features and requests, including print orientation and desired materials. You as the printer operator can also use this 3D viewer to collaborate back and forth with your users. 

To get a full overview of all the great features of the 3D viewer, including the advanced measurement tool shown above,  click here.

5

If they need to change their CAD files based on some print feedback you give them, they can upload a new  version right in the same folder. Workbench's version control will automatically keep the old version but only presents the newest version to all parties to avoid confusion over which one should be printed. 

You will receive an email notification that a new version of the file is available.

6

When you're ready to prepare the print job, you can add Workbench files right from within GrabCAD Print. Just use the dropdown next to the Add Models button: 

 If you are set up with the  Workbench Desktop App, you can download many changes at once to your local GrabCAD folder. 

7

When you print their file, you can leave a comment with the name of the print job. If you have  GrabCAD Print Server up and running, the user can keep track of their job in the Schedule View. Users you invite to Workbench projects become members of your company account, and therefore can access the Print Schedule View in the browser, as well as the mobile app. 

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