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Revit Kid: Using Dropbox as a Revit Server - Free!

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    Revit Kid: Using Dropbox as a Revit Server - Free!

    Collaboration and BIM go hand and hand in the work force. So why should it be any different in school? The ongoing trend in college is the use of group projects. In studio this semester my class and I are working together quite a bit on a master plan. Well, in the past all of the documents were created in AutoCAD (pft, like I am going to let that happen this time around??)... Well, file sharing was simply uploading and downloading CAD files from Blackboard being careful not to over write any files you are not supposed to.

    So, how do we share a Revit model without a business server??

    At first I thought about using my JungleDisk drive (which I know works because it can be mapped as a network drive *I will have to post about this later*). The downfall there is that I pay for that drive and I would have to share my passwords, or create a new drive and deal with collecting money, etc...

    Long story short I began to look at ways of mapping cloud services and not having to pay ANYTHING. I decided to go with Dropbox given it has a 2GB Free limited (which will be plenty for some Revit models) and I had a hunch it might work... Follow the steps below to set up a free server in which to host your central file and all of your group members can create local files (that actually synchronize with central!) on their own machines.

    Make Dropbox a Server to Host Central Files:
    1. Set up a free GMail account for you and your group members to use. You can use any free email vendor but I like all of the other stuff that GMail allows like Google Docs, Sites, etc... Why not take advantage of all of this as well?
    2. Go to Dropbox's website and click "Download Dropbox".
    3. Once you have installed Dropbox set up a new, free, 2GB account with the earlier created GMail account. Make sure you save the password so you can tell all of your group members (I suggest using the same password as the GMail for easy use by all members).
    4. After Dropbox is set up on all of the group memebers computers (using the SAME email address and password) you have to move the location Dropbox defaults to.
    5. Dropbox typically uses your documents as the location for it's folders. The problem with using this for Revit central files is that Revit likes to see the same path on all the machines in order to make a local. Therefore, simply set the Dropbox folder location (by going to "Preferences", "Advanced", and "Dropbox Location:. Click "Move" and select your Local Disk (C). The new Dropbox location should be "C:\Dropbox". **Hopefully everyone's local drive is called "C" or else this will not work**.
    6. Now, go through the motions of created a central file that is saved in the Dropbox folder. Steve over at Revit OpEd has a nice write-up for Central File creation for those of you not familiar.

    There you have it... Now you and your classmates are working on a Revit Central file just like in the office!

    **Disclaimer** The speed of saving/Dropbox and the fact that it sends everything in the can cause some lag and a few "jdoe Owns that element!". After all, it is NOT a private business network. The best cure for this lag is to work in different views as much as possible.

    Good luck and God speed exploring the CLOUD!

    Posted by: Jeffrey A. Pinheiro, LEED AP at The Revit!

    Click here to view the entire blog post.

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