Ok, this counts as breaking news in my world – I started playing around with this about a month ago and it is pretty cool. We all have the need from time to time to let someone see a drawing and comment on it. There are a variety of markup tools and workflows out there for this. Project Freewheel one is worth checking out.
(I has this last link wrong in my initial posting. As Scott points out in his comment, there is a difference between Autodesk Freewheel and Project Freewheel. Project Freewheel, with its collabotation tools, is the one I'm blogging about. It is out on the Autodesk Labs site while we get customer feedback on it.)
Basically, Freewheel allows you to show a DWF in a browser to anyone. And there are markup tools that a remote reviewer can use to give feedback. I had a session going with our designer Damian (in Calgary), our 3D Product Manager Peter (who was home), and me (here in the San Rafael office) all scribbling on the same DWF at the same time. Oh, I guess I should mention: nothing to install on their end. Nothing to install on my end either, but I did have to figure out how to get from looking at my DWG in AutoCAD P&ID to having that drawing published as a DWF in Freewheel.
Apparently enough people wanted an easier way to publish to Freewheel, so Autodesk Labs created a utility called ShareNow to make it easier. The “ShareNow” utility lets you publish from Autocad/Inventor/Revit directly to Freewheel and opens the browser. Unfortunately it only worked in vanilla AutoCAD 2008 – so I nagged the freewheel guys into helping me get a DLL that worked for P&ID.
So here’s how you work it:
1. Download this DLL.
2. Open your AutoCAD P&ID Drawing.
3. Type Netload on the command line and load the DLL.
4. Type ShareNow on the command line.
Your browser should launch showing your drawing in Freewheel. Of course, if you know how, you can setup AutoCAD to automatically load the DLL and add a menu item or toolbar icon for the ShareNow command. But I'm trying to keep this post brief so I'm not getting into how here.
To share your drawing with someone else:
1. In Freewheel, from the share menu, click Invite.
2. Give the session a name/password.
3. Click Email and you will get a link to send to someone so they can join the session.
Ok, this someone (and you) will have to log in to Freewheel, which may mean making a new freewheel account. A bit annoying, but worth it. I think I have 3 freewheel accounts now because I keep forgetting my login info. Whoever is in the session can mark up the file. (You can tell which are Damian’s markups – did I mention he’s a freelance cartoonist on the side?)
BTW: Lots of blog chatter about freewheel things to try. If you are interested, check out these links There will also be several Autodesk University (AU) sessions that touch on Freewheel. (early registration for AU 2007 ends October 7th . . . don’t delay!)