Stratasys announced a new workflow system, GrabCAD Shop.
GrabCAD is Stratasys’ main 3D model repository, having acquired it from independent owners way back in 2014. Stratasys bills it as:
“The largest online community of professional designers, engineers, manufacturers, and students”
And this is likely true, as they say there are currently over 6,550,000 members. The site offers the ability to upload and share 3D models and renderings. There are also plenty of tutorials and even contests. It’s essentially “Thingiverse” for Stratasys industrial clients. Also, the search function seems to work reasonably well, unlike some other 3D model repositories.
You can tell GrabCAD is a bit different when you look at the 3D model categories:
- Energy and Power
- Industrial Design
- Interior Design
- Just for Fun
- Machine Design
They are a bit different than you’d find on many other DIY-style 3D model repositories. Since its acquisition, Stratasys has used the GrabCAD system as a platform to launch a variety of initiatives that don’t exactly fit elsewhere in the Stratasys ecosystem.
Now, we see there is another one: GrabCAD Shop.
It’s a workflow solution targeted at 3D printing departments within enterprises, of which there are an increasing number these days. The usual lifecycle of 3D printing adoption includes a stage in which the secret 3D printing knowledge is collected in a “competency centre”, where those who know how, print.
3D Print Competency Center
The problem in such situations is that the competency center receives 3D print requests from many other departments, and thus they must keep track of all the requests. I don’t mean they track requests simply to know what print to run next, no, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
The competency center in many organizations will be required to charge back the costs of a print to a requesting department. This requires a great deal of administrative work to verify orders, confirm timings, develop billing charges, etc.
Many competency centers would perform this work with ad-hoc tools like “email”. And the resulting mess is something everyone can understand. GrabCAD Shop hopes to solve that dilemma by providing a series of workflow functions that help 3D print order management. Stratasys explains:
“Approximately 15% of work hours in a typical 3D print shop are wasted tracking down work order requirements and manually communicating status updates to engineers, designers and operators. GrabCAD Shop streamlines this process. Requiring no IT implementation support, the cloud-based software organizes print work requests, CAD files, and project specs all in one space. As jobs progress, shop operators and engineers receive status updates on the platform and via email.
GrabCAD Shop comes pre-populated with Stratasys printers and materials so that any Stratasys customer can achieve immediate value. It also provides the ability to add third party printers and traditional fabrication technology systems.”
GrabCAD Shop Availability
GrabCAD Shop is not quite released yet; Stratasys expects to open it for general signups sometime in Q1 2020. In the meantime, they seek beta testers who can give the system a good shakedown. You can sign up for no charge at their website below.
Stratasys says GrabCAD Shop will be “commercially available”, so I suspect that might mean there is a fee to use it. However, I don’t know what amount that fee could be, and I suspect Stratasys doesn’t know yet, either.