Trying to set up Solidworks PDM

Trying to set up Solidworks PDM

So, I’ve been using solidworks for a year and have been looking at various file management systems. Yesterday, while looking for camworks, I noticed that the Solidworks PDM was available. After a good day of researching and dealing with the sql servers I made it all the way to the point where it’s asking me to make a vault, however to make it it’s askins for a “license server”. How do I get around or through this, since I used the Solidworks license serial numbers from the virtual kop.

P.S. It’s also asking for a “Login Site”, I’m under the impression that it’s linked to the license server, although I could be wrong, but it doesn’t allow me to fill that in.

My advice is to not bother with PDM. Just use GrabCAD, which also enables using it outside the immediate network (eg from home). I successfully set up PDM 5+ years ago, but GrabCAD was a cinch in comparison from both a setup and user perspective, and we’ve never looked back.


I would have to disagree with you. A pdm will always be a better option when setup correctly. PDMs are made to work with the file types of the software it was built for. Having multiple people working on the same assembly is possible with a pdm because it can easily merge the native file types together. GrabCad on the other hand can bring up a lot of errors in the merge process because it is built to work with many different file types and is built to work like a Google drive. For cad team that are larger than 2 people a pdm or a all cloud solution is a better bet.


@Tuck55 I’m curious to hear how your team uses SW PDM effectively.

I use SW PDM at work. I dont really see much benefit or how it would be any better than GC. Part revision history/states is nice, but rarely do I ever go back in designs. Its more of a product control issue for work, not at all required for FRC. And check-in/out feature is more cumbersome than using and updating GC workbench. So I’m genuinely looking for feedback.

From my experience I’d rather use Grabcad for the multi-platform and web based interface. I dont see errors in the merge process, the parametric info in the SW assembly file deals with that independently. I don’t recall any non-native file issues when working with Inventor (team) or SW files (work and other teams), other than Grabcad just not being recently updated and non-existent support (!!!). Or that for Inventor files, once you add CAM info to a part, grabcad wont preview the model anymore, but the file is still saves/opens fine. So GC is far from perfect.

@Kaleb_Team1557 SW PDM is supposed to run on a dedicated server (24/7, networked) and has 3 levels of licenses, Editor, Contributor, and Viewer, also hosted on a separate server. Perhaps its looking for which account youre supposed to be set up for?

what year SW and version? looks like PDM is retired from student licenses.

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SW PDM is supposed to run on a dedicated server (24/7, networked) and has 3 levels of licenses, Editor, Contributor, and Viewer, also hosted on a separate server. Perhaps its looking for which account youre supposed to be set up for?

I dont believe that’s what it’s looking for since I already have a port 3030 server set up running off of my local computer.

Here’s a screenshot of where I seem to be stuck at.

what year SW and version? looks like PDM is retired from student licenses.

I’m currently running the 2018-2019 version of solidworks.
That would seems very odd if it is retired, because I was allowed to download all of the pdm software and in an email where I got the download and licesnse codes it says exactly: “Many teams have inquired about Workgroup PDM. Find tutorials and installation instructions here” Just seems odd that it would give a nice map to get there but not give the key.

@Tyson Great question! Our team has always valued our Cad and made it first priority to have it done quickly and thoroughly. To do this we have a large Cad team. But with a large Cad team we came across the issue of working on the same assembly at the same time. Sure with grabcad the assembly could be separated into different parts and each student could be working on a certain assembly file that’s just a small portion of the assembly, but we didn’t like that idea. When we would try having two different people working on the same assembly file and then uploading their changes to GrabCad we would keep getting weird merge errors because the file was changed in different ways from the two people working on it. Then we decided to pursue the idea of a pdm. We decided to try it because we wanted the assembly file to merge correctly and we still wanted to use the current industry standard softwares and get the experience of a pdm. We tried Autodesk Vail and Soldiworks pdm and weren’t very impressed. They were complicated to use and worked like GrabCad minus the errors and with a little more organization and version history. We then decided to try Onshape for a little bit and we have never looked back since. Being able to have as many people working on the exact file at the same time is unmatched, and the version history, and the fact that you never lose a file from not saving and then the software crashing(cough cough Inventor) is so nice. GrabCad was really nice when our team was first doing cad, but when a team or company is growing their cad team a pdm or all cloud solution is your best bet.

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did you try 3030@[nameofyourserver]?

Vaults are names of projects or libraries hosted on the server.

@Tuck55 oh ok, youre on the Onshape bandwagon. yeah i have no comment other than I’m glad its working for your team.

@Tyson Just gave that a try and it gave me this error,

(which is also the same if nothing is put in)

In your Start menu, do you have a “SOLIDWORKS PDM” and “VIEW SETUP”? I’m showing SW 2017.

Honestly, I dont do the IT here at work so I’ve never set thing up myself, so I’m just guessing here. But this does find my PDM server when I type in the right name.

@gellnick yeah, i agree, that is a plus for GC over SW in terms of overall benefit of a PDM.

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My advice is not to bother with SW PDM. Team 100 used it until 2017, that summer our CAD admin kept getting “Your server has been hacked” or something along those lines. Eventually he decided not to bother. It didn’t take too much to transition to GrabCAD, and honestly GrabCAD is probably better, since you can access it without Solidworks required, which is a huge plus for us, since our CAM guys use Macs. Also, if I remember correctly, the PDM feature has changed in the 2018-2019 version (might be the 2019-2020 version), and I’m pretty sure it isn’t really suited for FRC.

GrabCAD does have a history feature, which I’ve used to get old files back. Very useful when you need it.

@Tyson Yes, I do see View Setup, although I dont see anything directly named solidworks PDM, I do have “SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration”

I’m at that exact window and it also sees my server which I selected and moved to the next page where I see a blank list of vaults.

To create a vault I was trying following this this and getting stuck at the “port-number@server” part