Using the App

 Here are the first steps described how to use the Lightweight Model Database and you will learn how to integrate it into your workflow.

 

First start

After you prepared the starting script as shown in the "Installation" section, you can run the script which starts the GUI.
If it's the first time, the App runs in the installation directory, it will create and initialize the database file (modeldata.db). Confirm the warning message with a click on "OK".

warning_no_db 

After this file was created, the App is ready to use.
Please keep in mind, that everything like the database file and the project folders will be created in the program directory.

All your content will be organized in objects which are linked with a project so finding an object happens via the project --> object or directly via ID.

general_struct

 

The user interface

Brief overview of the graphical user interface (GUI):

 

ui_elem_project

  1. These are very central elements of the user interface: 
    • Overview: Show all projects stored in the database
    • Project: Show the details of a project and all related CAD models, STL / printing files and documents
    • Object: Show the details of a single object entry
  2. With this tab buttons, you can switch the category of the elements which are linked to the project
  3. These buttons let you create an object (which will be linked to the project), edit the project's properties (Name 2, Links, Description) or cancel the Add / Edit state
  4. Directly open project related folders with the standard file manager

 

Creating a new Project

That's quite simple:
Switch to the "Overview" page and click on "Add project". Please keep in mind, that the project's name can't be edited after the project is successfully created (because the project folder will contain the project's name). I recommend to use a short Name and a more precise Name 2. No special characters allowed for Name!!!

While creating a new project, the folder structure is being created simultaneously on your harddisk. The project directory is located in the program directory (=where the *.jar file is stored).

folder_struct

 

  • CAD: Location for 2D and 3D model data
  • Snapshots: Will be created when taking the first snapshot in a project
  • Doc: Location for object files of the type "doc"
  • Export: Object files of the type "export" will be stored here, e.g. STL, OBJ oder STEP files, simulation results...
  • Pictures: This folder is not managed by LMDB, only created. It contains no object data, it is intended to be a location for your project-related images, videos, screenshots, and so on.

  

Navigating

Just double-click on the project you want to open in the "Overview" page. You will be redirected to the "Project" page.

Object details can be shown in the same way: Double-click on any entry in the CAD/Export/Documents table on the "Project" page.

 

Creating a new Object

Every new object will be automatically linked to the project which is actually open. So ensure the correct project is opened before creating a new object.

To create a new object, click on "Add Object" in section 3 (picture above). You will be redirected to the "Object" page where you can fill in the object's details.

Here are some important UI elements not explained yet:


ui_obj

  1. Set the Object Type: cad-3d (3D models), cad-2d (Drawings), export (stl files, g-code,...), document (PDF, Spreadsheet, txt,...). The Object Type defines in which table on the "Project" page the object will be shown (CAD, Export or Documents).
  2. With the "Check IN" button, you can link a file to the object. While object creation, this file will be copied to the project folder. You can use this button to update attached files after the object is created without editing it! "Check OUT" creates a working copy on your harddisk in a folder of your choice. For more information, see "Possible Workflows".
  3. Opens the file attached to the object with the standard application set in your operating system's settings.
  4. Creates a Snapshot of the file which is attached to the object. For more information, see "Possible Workflows".

After you filled in all information you need, click "Save Object" and voilà, you've created your first object! :)

 

Create a copy of an object

(Menu Tools -> Copy object)

An integrated tool allows you to create copies of single objects. The new object can either be linked to an existing project or linked to a newly created one during the copy process.


obj_copy

The source object ID has to be entered in the textbox on the left side of the window. On the right side, choose an existing project ID with the dropdown box. Select "New project" if you want to create a new project (a new project name has to be entered to the textfield beside). If a project and/or an object is actually open, the IDs will be automatically filled in the text fields so you don't have to enter them by hand.

A click on "Start Copy!" will check if the entered source object ID exists in the database and then runs all required tasks to copy the object.

 

Possible Workflows

When you are working on your CAD files, there are two possible workflow routines to keep them safely up-to-date in the Lightweight Model DB.

Workflow 1:

  • Check out all files needed to a temporary working directory
  • Edit the files since you are happy with the changes
  • Use the Check IN button on the object's page (section 6) to check in all edited files

Workflow 2:

  • Create Snapshots of all objects you want to edit by clicking on the "Create Snapshot" button (section 8)
    • The Snapshots are stored in <Project folder>/CAD/Snapshots
    • A timestamp will be added to the filename
  • Edit the CAD files directly in the project folder
  • If one of the files is broken -> copy back the last Snapshot. Don't forget to remove the Timestamp out of the filename!

 

I recommend the Workflow 1 and additionally creating Snapshots from time to time. If you have LMDB installed in your Dropbox folder, the files will be synchronized everytime you save it, unless you paused synchronization.

 

Deleting Projects and Objects

If you want to delete a project: Go to the "Overview" page, select the project you wish to delete and click the "Remove Project" button. Done.

An object can be delete either by selecting it in the table at the "Project" page and right-clicking on it or on the "Object" page by clicking "Delete".


context_object

As you can see, the integrated STL viewer can also be started via this menu. If the viewer is started the first time in a session, it takes a few seconds until everything is loaded.


stl_viewer

 

Creating a Snapshot of the database file

A Snapshot of the database file ('modeldata.sb') can be created easily via the entry in the Tools menu:


context_object

 The Snapshot copy will be saved in the program directory with a timestamp appended to the filename.

 

Show the status of the database

(Menu Help-> DB Status)

With the help of this tiny info tool, you can display several status parameters of the database (number of entries, used space, ...).

db_status