Storing large models for referencing

Hey everyone, I am looking for some advice. So I am working with some CAD software doing analyses on models of different things. The models go through a lot of design changes and are stored on a server for us to access when we want to look at them. We are not allowed to save the models to our workstation HDs. We would run out of room quite fast. One challenge I have is that as models change and detail is added over time, we are not able to save any original configuration of the model. So if we need to refer to that original configuration, we can’t. So what we will do is simply take screenshots of the models in different viewpoints and store the screenshots for later viewing.

But a screenshot does not yield that many details. I made a program to record an animation of the model, but the animation is very short, as the file gets quite large if you create too large of a movie file. So we are limited to screenshots and crappy animation recordings.
Can any of you innovators out there think of some alternative ways to store model data for later referencing? CAD models are quite large I think. Could you possibly write code to redraw the model into a more efficient format for later viewing? I could put together a 3D viewer if needed. However that goes into an area that I have no experience with.

Thanks for any input!

External HDD’s?

The one’s you hook up with a USB.
And be sure to compress the models quite a bit, save a lot of space.
Might be annoying to unzip and then be able to use the model, but would save a lot of space.

But that’s just my 2cents.

You are not allowed to store them locally because of space or some copyright/security reasons?

I mean how big can be model if for eg 4 x 10TB drives are not enough? You can get hdd space quite cheaply nowadays, all motherboards support raid for hard drives. So get 4 10tb hdds, make them into single raid, store all temporary (or old versions) models locally on your workstation. Update master model every hour or so.

I just wonder how big/small hdd is on your workstation, or how big those models are.

If IT in my company told me that i cannot do something because of hardware limitations, they would suffer for hours (unless stuff is really impossible to do). Hardware i am working on is tool, it directly makes money, those tools should be comfortable. Better comfort of working speeds up your working, makes you more creative etc.

For eg you have hassle with those models, you need to make screenshoots do some voodo around it. Lets say you are losing 30min a day to handle that, your company loses salary for those 30min that you spend doing nothing productive. Over a year you could get whole new shiny workstation for that 30min everyday money. So getting 4 big hdds per workstation should not be a problem.

But don’t worry i have exactly same problem at my work, they cannot understand that making some unnecessary step every day that may help somebody someday save 30min is actually a waste of time. because if everybody loses 1min every day to fill that silly thing, it takes only few days (multiple people doing it) to offset those 30min.

Imo doing things like you described will not solve problem, you are hired to do analysses of those models not to maintain jpeg collection. DEmand better hardware, hdd space is cheap.

Sounds like the video recording s/w encoding system needs better compression.
Might be worth looking at what big torrent’rs of the world are using right now??

Those are good points you make. It would save money for sure. There is so much waste in big companies. Imagine how much money they could save if things were optimized!. And yes, a new workstation with a bigger HD would be great haha. I am putting in the request. The reason for not storing models locally is mostly for saving space and probably security reasons as well. I work for a defense contractor building naval vessels. You can imagine stuff like that would be confidential.

Making an IT request would probably be the way to go, as they could easily accommodate you if you had the business case. Problem with that is, it cost money. Most of the time the company won’t pay IT the extra money to do the job for a single group of people so it never gets done.

So in order to benefit my own workflow I do all of these shadow IT projects, hence the recording of animations which apparently I should look into compressing the video. Still the best solution is to be have something tangible that you can visually inspect and interact with. That may not happen though.

I work for AV company, so we also have confidentional stuff, but it is not in high demand like your files are.

Maybe there is some solution that encrypts local drive and gives acess only in working hours. Something like truecrypt but with creditentials managed from central server. I bet there is, your IT needs to do some research.

And always tell them that comfort of work adds up into saved time, that makes people more efficient.