How/where does your team organize parts in Inventor? (i.e. Vault, Windchill, etc.)

Hello All,

The Design Subteam on Team 75 is wondering, how do other teams organize their files for inventor? Does anyone use Autodesk Vault? Or PTC Windchill? Or something as simple as Dropbox or a few hard drives/ flash drives?

We appreciate the feedback.

-Design Subteam, Team 75

Our CAD is generally done by one maybe 2 people so we use Dropbox and descriptive names.

Generally we design with 8020 so part names will be similar to 1010-35 (to signify 1x1 35" long)

We don’t use inventor, but this would work with any design program.

We copied 254/968 and started using subversion control; takes a little bit for nonprogrammers to get used to it, but it’s served us well.

We use a Subversion system generously hosted by our sponsor Vivid-Hosting.net.
All of our parts are assigned part numbers by a custom-built part management website (also hosted by Vivid-Hosting) and the file name is just the part number.

I have all our CAD files on my flash drive, and backed up at home on our external, but we might have to use vault this next year

This type of system just won’t work if you have others who want to design, not to mention you could lose that flashdrive and even with daily backups lose a few hours of work.

another reason for us to switch to windchill or vault, lol

I would suggest not primarily saving everything on a jump drive or external hard drive because those are easily lost and it is easy for someone to make undocumented changes accidentally. In addition to backing up your designs in more then one location you should also make sure that you print the drawing. I would recommend putting all current drawings in one location and then moving then to an old folder once updated.

we will be using the autodesk group thingy

the way my team keeps track of things is there is a “master” computer, operated by the lead designer, who does all big changes to the robot. and anyone that works on the model copies the latest files off of the master computer, and then works based on those files (writing down all changes to what files). At the end of the work session this person must return to the lead designer and inform him/her of what subassemblies he/she changed. Two hard copies are made of each drawing, and I’ve kept two backups one on my external hard drive at home, and a flash drive i carry.

with this system only one computer can really work on a single subassembly. It also requires careful overseeing, or work can be lost.

this system has its flaws. but since its always been a small team of students and a few mentors that do the design it’s manageable.

Care to elaborate on what this is?

Subversion is a revision control system that’s designed for tracking changes in code. There is one server that stores the state of the repository, and all previous versions. Students check out all or part of the repository, make modifications, and then commit their changes back to the server. This ensures that there will always be one place where the latest version of the software, model, or whatever else you have checked in is stored. You can also check out any previous version that was checked in, so if someone broke something, you can go back in time and check out a previous version that you know is good. Subversion has mechanisms for dealing with conflicts, where two students change the same thing and both go to check it in.

971 has been using SVN for storing our code and CAD models since 2008 and help introduce it to 254/968 in 2009. As Adam said, it has a little bit of a learning curve for non-programmers, but works well. I like it since nobody on our team shares files using thumb disks any more. They instead check it in, and yell across the room for the other guy to update and pull down the changes. This also ensures that anyone on the team can work on the model at any point in time, since all they need to do to get the latest version is to do an update, and then commit when they are done (If people work in this way without talking with others and seeing if someone else is working on a part, things don’t go well, but once the communication has happened, the workflow still works).

SVN isn’t integrated into the CAD software like some of the other tools are, but for us, that’s almost a plus. We can easily run our own server, make sure it’s backed up, and store other things in the repository like our code, Chairman’s, tshirt designs, you name it.

If you have any more questions, between Adam, Nick and I, and all the other members on our teams who are using it, we can probably provide an answer.

We use Subversion. Most of us use Tortoise SVN, but some of us use CLI for SVN. We may experiment with Vault 2011, and might’ve used it this year if it was included in the Inventor 2010 license.