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Working on and off of a server

Question asked by Jay Rabe on Apr 14, 2014
Latest reply on May 7, 2014 by Patrick O'Hern

I'd try to search for help on this but i dont think it would be that easy. At work we have a few people working on cad at any given time.  We have a cad folder on a server.  The people I work with dont like pdm, so they have Cad/customer folders/project folders/pieces to assembly(s) and a top level folder in where all of the part and assembliy files are for complete models with different configurations.  I'm trying to understand how they do things but keep making dumb mistakes, mainly with the same part # files getting pulled from the wrong places.

 

So say they want me to edit a completed assembly thats on the server.  What they want me to do is with solidworks closed, copy the folder from the server to my machine, edit the parts, then when everything is good make revision changes/tracking in the drawings and properties for whatever parts modded and use synctoy (server synchronizing program) to update the server with the revised items. They dont seem to have issues with solidworks freaking out when they do it. The machine I use was recently wiped with fresh Win 7 and SW14 installs but had a few people previous to me using it and possibly setting strange preferences.  It shows files created "by this computer" from years ago when its been wiped a few times.

 

Things get ugly for me though. If i copy a folder there is sometimes a folder of purchased items, and occasionally a plumbing or some other folder that the model's parts refers to in the customer folder (im still learning how they do things.) If solidworks doesnt find the required files in the folder it just grabs them from the server wherever it can find them (which i'm not thrilled about because if one of the files i need to edit is actually being pulled off the server its links get all screwed up and i'm working on the "good" part.)  If I screw up its a nightmare. Also, fairly often solidworks also ignores the file i pulled down to my machine locally and uses/references/changes the same file name on the server instaed of localy, same "good" part danger/issue.  Its to the point where i copy a folder to my machine with windows explorer (sw closed,) unplug the network, then open it and solidworks and make changes.  I've had many occurances where when i plug the network back in and try to reopen the model from my local copy it starts grabbing files from the server and the seemingly good local assemblies are referenced all over the place with the wrong parts, broken mates, and its a big mess.

 

The worst occurances for me so far have been models partially linked to the server. They seem to overrule the older versions of the same file name in the "correct place" on my machine when trying to open an assembly. Sometimes the old versions overrule the new versions on my local copy too though.  I'm sure i'm doing something wrong, or at least different...  Because of mates and dependancies of different assemblies using the same part they (work) dont change the part # if they make a rev change so its easy to screw up solidworks' links

 

Now I'm sure PDM was created to help with issues like this. But, I've been at this job for a month, I'm not going to try to convince them to change how to do things.  So my questions are:

 

- Is there a way to limit solidworks to only work in a certain file/files? Say limit it to the customer file and subfolders only?

 

- Is there a way to have solidworks ask instead of just opening the same file name in some other location?

 

- how does solidworks know where to pull parts from, how does it decide which folder/drive/server to open a part from? This doesn't seem as straightforward as i'd think it would be...

 

- Is there something I'm missing that would make this easy?

 

- I've tried to replace parts with the part in the correct location. Solidworks says that it wont because it would cause a neverending loop or says i cant replace the part with one of the same name. Is there a way to just point it to the right location of the same file name?  I've had to delete and re-mate anything thats linked to the wrong file location so far which is a nightmare.

 

- If you couldnt use PDM how would you make changes on an assembly on/from a server while maintaining a current copy until you're happy with the new one?

 

I've never used solidworks off of a server before.  It was always local models and a just go for it approach if something needed changing. I know my backup thinking is part of the issue, I dont know how to dummy proof myself.

 

Thanks in advance for any leads, ideas, solutions, etc.

 

Jay

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