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Poke holes in my revision control please.

Poke holes in my revision control please.

(OP)
I will start with this statement. Normally for document revision control I use ERP which does everything I want to do here but I cannot use for various reasons. I am doing it in Windows explorer and I can't install any additional software due to company policies regarding doing so. These are the limitations I am working with.

Myself and some other designers are supporting a machine move project, lots of machines, not just one. For this we have been producing floor plan drawings for reference before anything moves and, as time progresses, these are being changed on a daily basis. They are all handled outside EPR document control and as such, entropy has developed, there are now slightly different drawings all with the same revision level and document name.

This is not acceptable.

As a solution I have come up with the following system.
-Drawings are created as normal in CAD and given a document name (in place of drawing number) and a revision level starting at 0
-These cad files are saved to a designers personal network drive until he is happy with it
-The files are transferred into a shared network folder and are therefore classed as "Released", the filename is the document name + revision level.
-A raster image is then created from this file which becomes 'the drawing' and has the same filename as the cad file.
-Revisions are created by opening the cad file, editing it, bumping the revision level up one, then saving the file to this directory. As it has a different revision level, it is automatically generated a different filename so it will not overwrite the previous version. Create raster image. Email managers responsible for drawing control among technicians / machine movers etc with a link to the folder with the new file and its new level.

Only designers have write access to this folder and only designers have cad software installed which makes the master data secure from amendments. Everyone else has read only access and can only physically open the raster images to print for reference.

There are in all 4 different 'drawings' and it is a short term project so I do not foresee an issue where a vast number of cad documents will exist.

Can people please poke holes in this as much as possible, it needs to be watertight by the end of Friday and any help would be much appreciated.

Designer of machine tools - user of modified screws

RE: Poke holes in my revision control please.

Nothing prevents someone from making "rev 5" from "rev 2", or from the original local drawing on their computer.

Nothing prevents accidently overwriting "rev 4" with "rev 5" when making a revision.



RE: Poke holes in my revision control please.

" I can't install any additional software due to company policies regarding doing so. These are the limitations I am working with."

But, you're using a computer with software installed, so SOMEONE has the capabilities. I would look to something like Subversion, since it has a "check out" and "check in" feature: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Subversion While it's intended for software version control, people have used it for other types of files. You may already have Subversion in your company.

TTFN
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RE: Poke holes in my revision control please.

Quote (MintJulep)

Nothing prevents accidently overwriting "rev 4" with "rev 5" when making a revision.
The designers should have write access to the folder, but not to the files within the folder. Change the permissions on those files to be read-only for everyone except 1 or 2 people (project leads?). This way the designers can open the file and do a save-as, but not accidentally overwrite the existing file. Or, create a "work in progress" folder that everyone can use instead of their individual computers (network drives tend to get backed up more frequently than individual hard drives), and a "released" folder that only those 2 people have write access to. When a file is ready for release, the project lead moves the file into the released folder. Everyone can read the 'released' folder, but only a select few can 'write' to it.

www.nxjournaling.com

RE: Poke holes in my revision control please.

I've used a setup largely similar to the one you've suggested in a manufacturing context where hundreds of drawings were being generated (with much fewer restrictions on who can open what files). It tends to work fine - a few inevitable mistakes, but no system is going to completely protect you from those. For a short term project with only 4 drawings this should work fine - the biggest issue will be ensuring everyone uses it. Investing time and money into something more complicated seems like a waste.

Brian C Potter, PE
http://simplesupports.wordpress.com

RE: Poke holes in my revision control please.

(OP)
KENAT - I will have a look tomorrow if the export function of the CAD software has that feature, I know plot does, but it won't plot to file (or to local printers, so I can't run it through a print as pdf). Its a pretty useless throwback to the late 90s system which has been subject to 'phasing out' for about 3 years now. Some bits don't work, its just easier than trying to redraw the whole factory in a new system.

MintJulep - I will create a batch file to process moving the documents to the shared folder and delete the local copy. I can probably get this to export the raster file as well. Will look into it, there are already some batch files for exporting files without using the GUI. Hopefully that way it takes old versions out of local drives. I presume it's possible to have the batch file move old versions into a subfolder so only the current one is available to open. Would that cover both bases?

IRStuff - I will ask local IT tomorrow if they know of anything. Bearing in mind I am 1 of 75,000 employees, if local IT doesn't have the authority to get some 'non-approved' software installed, I dont stand a chance of getting it by corporate IT for what is really a 'pet project' for a handful of designers, short term. I'm installing that at home though, I do need a version control for personal work.

Cowski - Set up a sort of drop box with write access for designers and a 'super user' responsible for transferring from this folder to the 'released' folder which is read only to designers? The super user 'checks in' with a batch file which has a check for files already existing with the same name? The 'personal network drive' I mentioned is a shared folder with individual directories for each user where we can all access each others work. Backing up is not an issue

Briancpotter - From a time / cost perspective, yes this is probably overkill. It has however become somewhat of a personal project I would like to see completed. I'm sat doing this at home now, personal time is not billed to any project. On the other hand, changes are happening probably 3 or 4 times a day. There are plenty of opportunities for someone to make a mess of things. It's already happened a few times.

Thanks for the help!

Designer of machine tools - user of modified screws

RE: Poke holes in my revision control please.

TED7,

Many years ago, I administered a UNIX network with a bunch of workstations running AutoCAD. I was determined to keep things organized. I wound up writing a set of UNIX shell scripts that locked and released files, archived old versions, and that logged everything.

I created a central projects directory. I insisted that everyone work within the directory. No one was allowed to store engineering drawings in his personal directory. I was determined to not have multiple copies of stuff. Our document numbering system allowed me to create a system of folders and sub-folders. The location of any given document was obvious to everyone.

Files were stored using the drawing number as the file name.

My shell scripts allowed me to use the UNIX file permissions to lock down files and directories. I had a script that designated a specified directory as a base projects directory. The main thing I needed was an archive directory to store obsolete documents in. I had a central directory for change requests. I created a pseudo-user for document control.

When a document was to be finalized, I had a script that set changed the owner to document control, and the permissions to read-only.

When a document was to be revised, my script copied the document into the archive directory, with its current revision number tacked onto the end. The main file was then set to read-write access. Current documents had no revision numbers.

This would be somewhat harder to do on a Windows machine, but not impossible.

If you are running 3D CAD like SolidWorks, you cannot break file links. My system above would meet this requirement. If you follow the basic design change rules of not changing form fit or function, the software should work fine. This is good practise, even without 3D CAD.

--
JHG

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