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Unread 06-27-2018, 05:25 PM
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Autodesk Vault Servers

Hi CD,

My team, 4362, uses autodesk Inventor as our CAD platform. This past year we have had some friction at the interface where different designers meet. Our current version control involves a weird mix of USB drives being passed back and forth and GrabCAD. GrabCAD had several problems due to the lack of a plugin, so Vault seems like it would be the easiest solution to these problems.

My question to CD is this: Have any teams currently using Inventor set up a Vault server?

If so,
  • What did it take to make that happen?
  • Did you need to rent a server or could Autodesk host it?
  • How much money/time/effort does it take to solve the problem?
  • Did the server help get kids more involved in the design of the robot?
  • Assuming it costs money, could it be bought for the competition season and then turned off during the 'off season'?

Any information about how to get the ball rolling on this project is appreciated.

If not, What was the issue that couldn't be solved? Is it worth attempting or is there a better/cheaper/easier solution?

Thank you for your time,
CJ
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Unread 06-27-2018, 07:15 PM
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Re: Autodesk Vault Servers

Quote:
Originally Posted by cj3958 View Post
GrabCAD had several problems due to the lack of a plugin
Could you elaborate on this? Admittedly, it's not a perfectly seamless experience with Inventor but we haven't run into any major problems after 3 years of use.
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Unread 06-27-2018, 07:36 PM
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Re: Autodesk Vault Servers

Yeah so basically its hard for people to figure out if a part is checked out or not because the warning doesnt show up when you start editing the part.

For example, using Vault, the software will prompt when you attempt to edit a part that is checked out telling you not to do that. GrabCAD can only tell you that when you start to check your parts in. Solidworks has a plugin for grabCAD that gives it this feature as well, but I have not found a similar plugin for Inventor.

In addition to that hiccup, the team would semi-regularly use out of date parts or not update the grab-cad folder. It made the interaction between students to mentors worse, and harder to work on the CAD from home.

With vault I know it just kindof happens in the background without thinking about it, and Inventor is much happier to deal with the files. There are never naming conflicts because it warns you before they get checked in. So if its not impossible to get Vault for student use, it seems like a net win.
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Unread 06-27-2018, 09:05 PM
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Re: Autodesk Vault Servers

So my high school team had a vault server, we found it extremely nice. We never had conflicting files and never had assembly problems, everyone could do their own thing then bring it together as a team. However, there was quite a lot of setup.
  1. First is getting a server, now I am unsure about haveing someone else host it or Autodesk themselves but a server is as simple as a dedicated computer with windows server edition and a few hard drives.
  2. Then you need to think about dedicated computers for the client side of vault.
  3. Once you have computers you will need to take the time to setup the server and client side systems so there are no connection conflicts such as creating a domain on the server for the client PC'c.
  4. Once you have everything setup and ready to go no comes the organizational side of things.
    • You will need to set up profiles for the students and mentors to use ( Quick note though since Vault works as a file history organizer you need to set up profiles that will be passed on from generation to generation so what my team used since we were Royal Robotics was the knights of the round table names and made the account passwords the student ID's given by the school)
    • Next comes file organization, so creating folders of hardware, electronics, mechanical, ETC. Then separately make year folders in which you save assemblies and parts only respective to that year. You can go on farther into organizing these basic folders to things like certain mechanisms or by brand and what not.
  5. Lastly is the human side of things, You will need to get people used to the new system before the season, I recommend taking last years robot cad and importing it into the new system, this will allow for mistakes and mishaps to be learned before its curial that things be done on a schedule and be held to a strict conformity.

Overall I loved working with Vault it made things nice and easy to edit change and keep track of changes, it helped my team create one of the best robots in our state and our division at worlds and I wish more teams could have systems like Vault.

If you have any specific questions let me know and I'll try to answer if not ill try my best to find an answer.
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Unread 06-27-2018, 11:01 PM
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Re: Autodesk Vault Servers

Has anyone come across a video or set of guides that is a walk-through of creating a Vault set-up, preferably geared towards FIRST teams? I've tried to experiment with it before and admittedly given up on it because I had no knowledge on how to set it up. I see the post above and I think if there was a resource similar to that explanation, although more in-depth, I think it would beneficial to a lot of teams who use Inventor who don't have a system already in place.
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Unread 06-28-2018, 07:48 AM
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Re: Autodesk Vault Servers

We have used vault for the several years. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a lot of basic how to do out there. The student maintaining ours just graduated so will try to write something when I move ours. Anyway some basic things.
  1. You have to use the same year version vault as inventor. They are not forward or backward compatible
  2. It works best if it is the only program running on the machine. The machine can be VM or physical
  3. Work best with static IP. Although it will work with non static, you just have to change IPs everytime your sevrice provider changes yours.
  4. To run on a school network you need the cooperation of the network adminstrator. Good luck with that,
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Unread 06-28-2018, 01:02 PM
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Re: Autodesk Vault Servers

We've done it for a few years now. You'll need to get the installer for Vault Basic (server). Not easy to find, but it's out there from legit Autodesk links. We started with it in our own server, and ultimately moved it to Amazon AWS EC2 t2.small instance which has been costing us about $32/month. It's very worth it for us, but let me tell you, it's not easy to get it all set up. You need to know computers, servers, and networking. There's a bit of configuration to do, and if you don't know what you are doing, there is the very real possibility of destruction of data and lots of frustration.
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Unread 06-29-2018, 09:53 AM
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Re: Autodesk Vault Servers

Could you provide more details of the Amazon server? We are thinking seriously of using that.
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