GrabCAD is a popular online community for mechanical engineers, where you can easily share knowledge with other members and collaborate on CAD models and engineering project related to automotive, technology, arts etc. The community has grown to an incredible size during the last couple of years, and has a fascinating web portal where you can basically create an account and then browse a huge library of CAD files shared by community members. GrabCAD has now launched their Android app that puts everything that the web portal offers in the palm of your hand. The app comprises a host of features such as the ability to view 3D CAD models, read and respond to comments, and upload photos to GrabCAD’s Workbench project.
To get started, you need to sign in to your account at the login screen. If you’re new to the service, you can also quickly create your new account directly from here. The interface looks fairly snappy and elegant, and works equally well across tablets and phones. The main screen of the app presents a thumbnails view of Popular and Recent models shared by the community members. You can swipe up and down to reveal further content.
Swiping your finger from the left edge of the screen brings up the sidebar, which displays your name at the top. This menu gives you access to your CAD Library and public models as well your own projects uploaded to GrabCAD.
To access a GrabCAD project, simply tap on its thumbnail. The Home, Comments and Files tabs at the top let you access the respective sections. The Home section displays a photo of the model along with its owner’s profile picture. You can leave your feedback by either giving a thumbs up or commenting on the project. GrabCAD also allows you to share the project over social media. The Files tab is pretty much self-explanatory and lets you access all the project’s files. GrabCAD doesn’t allow you to download these files to your device but rather just view them in a built-in 3D viewer. During testing however, I found that not all the files could be opened by the app. However, the developers are still working on adding support for all major CAD formats in future updates.
Those formats that are currently compatible render absolutely like a charm, and it feels simply gorgeous to view a full-fledge 3D model right on your mobile or tablet. The app allows you to navigate the model using gestures including two finger swipes to change perspective, pinch to zoom and one finger swipe to rotate.
GrabCAD is available at Google Play Store for free and works on all Android versions 2.3.3 and up.