GrabCAD Workbench Launches. CAD File Viewing & Versioning For Engineers and Design Teams.


Two weeks ago, GrabCAD launched Workbench. It’s not the worn countertop in your Grandpa’s garage. Rather, it lives on the internet surrounded by the warmth of Amazon’s S3 secure server architecture. More specifically, Workbench is the revamped version of GrabCAD’s project collaboration platform that adds a new interface, viewing of all major CAD file formats, secure sharing of files, versioning, revision control and, low and behold, a pricing model. Yes, GrabCAD has forayed into the world of freemium business models with three tiers of pricing – Professional, Team and Enterprise. Team and Enterprise details and pricing are yet to come, but the free Professional level (currently in closed beta) allows unlimited projects, unlimited collaborators, unlimited storage and mobile access. Are your collaboration woes solved?

GrabCAD Workbench

A few weeks prior to the launch of GrabCAD Workbench, we let the cat out of the bag. The new project area was available, but now they’ve streamlined the site into two main areas, Community and Workbench. While the library and community aspects remain the same, Workbench provides a secure location for sharing models. Inside this environment, people can upload files (3d, 2d, docs, etc.), comment on files and further collaborate on the project files. The 3D viewing interface provides additional tools to section, measure, explode and place ‘pins’ on the 3D object itself. The idea is to replace less secure methods of collaboration like email, FTP, Dropbox or other online share sites, providing a single point interaction for the model and the people.

The Workbench interface showing the files, model tree, exploded view model and comments.

The Workbench interface showing the files, model tree, exploded view model and comments.

You can request a beta access or also get access through an invite to a shared project. This does require you to set up a username on the site, which further enhances the security for your shared data. While it’s not a full-bore, web-based project management suite, I’m not sure all of that is necessary. You have files, a viewer and comments. The interface could be simplified in that regard along with improved file management, but underneath it’s just the right amount of functionality to get together with people on a project.


About Josh Mings

Josh is co-founder of EvD Media. He engineers and designs, is the Marketing Manager for Luxion, is a CSWP certified for SolidWorks training and support and excels at falling awkwardly. He is editor of and co-host of, a weekly podcast about design, engineering and what makes it all happen.

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  • Andrew E

    Hi Josh, as a GrabCAD beta user myself, it’s been great to see the service evolve. I’ve used for some private consulting development projects and to share some files with colleagues. Also a good way to let prospective customers spin an actual 3D model, rather than the traditional JPG screenshots. The Beta had its limitations but it appears that they’ve made some great improvements. The 3D viewer is much better than the original STL file only version.

    I first learned of them on your EvD podcast – so thank you for that.

    Cheers, -Andrew,

  • Josh M

    Hey Andrew, thanks! Yeah, my favorite thing about it is definitely the increased file viewing capability. Looking forward to using it for a production situation.

  • jeff bare

    I signed up a week ago and am pretty happy with it so far. I have some new projects coming up so I’m hoping to get some good use of it. Right now I’m having an issue getting 2011 solidworks assemblies to be viewable in 3D tho. However I’m impressed with the easy to use markup drawing tools on the web. I really want that feature to make it to the app for quick drawing markups on the go.

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  • Adam

    You forgot to mention that it came in handy showing your latest gee-whiz design to @thecadjunkie at a brewery :)

  • jeff bare

    This is true, speaking of which, that part I was spinning around for you on my phone is much improved in the latest batch of samples.

  • Adam

    Rockin’ :)

  • Hardi Meybaum

    Hi everyone. I’m Hardi from GrabCAD. Thanks a lot for the support. We keep adding new functionality all the time to make GrabCAD as best way to share and collaborate. Shoot me a note if you have any feedback or additions you want to see in GrabCAD.