The GrabCAD Community, launched by Stratasys, is currently the largest online community for professional engineers, designers, manufacturers, students and others interested in learning and sharing engineering skills. The community is a highly engaged one, participating in frequent design challenges and sharing knowledge across industries, with people of different skill levels working together to expand their skills and discuss new applications. At this time, there are almost 5 million members in the community, which means that there’s an overwhelming amount of knowledge being passed around.
While this is a wonderful thing, that many people and that much information is, indeed, overwhelming, and can be hard for members to sift through to find the topics and help they’re looking for. Thus, Stratasys has now launched GrabCAD Groups, a new feature that allows members to create groups and forums dedicated to topics of interest. Members can create and moderate their own groups, as well as join any groups they choose. It’s an easy to use tool that enhances the social media-like experience of the community, allowing members to connect directly with others who share their interests and to more easily find niches where specific topics can be discussed.
Already, GrabCAD Groups has attracted several members who have formed multiple groups with topics ranging from the broad, like 3D printing, to the specific, like robotics for rover technology. We had the opportunity to talk with Abe Gladstone, Software Marketing Manager at Stratasys, about the new feature.
How did the idea for GrabCAD Groups come about?
“The GrabCAD Community has grown to nearly 5 million users. As we’ve expanded, the community has transformed into a broad collection of users who possess different levels of CAD design experience, industry knowledge, and software skills. One of the biggest roadblocks – until now – has been the ease of collaboration for community members to connect on specific areas of interest.
Stratasys wanted to build a place for community members to connect, learn, and discuss topics with other members who share the same interests or have experience in those areas. GrabCAD Groups is designed to fill that void – a place for community members to share experiences and knowledge with one another and collaborate on specific topic areas.”
How do you think social media can influence the 3D printing industry?
“Social media impacts the 3D printing industry in a pretty big way. One of the major benefits of 3D printing is an ability to rapidly prototype parts and quickly iterate and innovate on designs. Similarly, social media empowers rapid communication and sharing of ideas, knowledge, and feedback. And social media can also build a clear connection with 3D printing experts and manufacturers – troubleshooting issues and finding inspiration. With social media and communities like the GrabCAD Community, users can rapidly access a wealth of knowledge and experience from thought leaders to drive best practices and achieve product development goals.”
Will further developments be coming to GrabCAD Groups or the GrabCAD Community in the future?
“Stratasys is fully committed to consistently improving the GrabCAD Community – making it a place where engineers from all over the world can come together and share experiences and knowledge. The goal is to make this a true place for learning, collaboration, and inspiration. With that in mind, we’re always working on new improvements to drive this mission.”
Do you think this new development will draw new users to the GrabCAD Community?
“These improvements will definitely help bring new users to the GrabCAD Community. Our main driver for new users has always been the library of CAD models. But through GrabCAD Groups, we can now offer a place for people from all over the world to truly connect and communicate on topics ranging from engineering to product development. GrabCAD Groups is a community where visitors can actually learn from experts and share experiences with one another. This makes the group incredibly unique – drawing new users to promote future innovation and collaboration.”
You can check out GrabCAD Groups here.
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