How to organize projects (Windows)

I just started using Shapr3D for Windows yesterday so my question may seem trivial to the vast group of users. I am used to file menus (Open, Save, Save as, etc) and the closest to that I can find is Import and Export. Can someone direct me to a tutorial or guide to explain the best way to name files, control various revisions of a project, and the other basics before I even attempt to start my first design?
I’ve used CAD programs for decades and have never needed guidance before on such a fundamental question. I’ve watched several design tutorials and am excited to begin, but none of them address what I call file management. Without a clear understanding of the basics of file management I’m afraid I’ll lose work because of a silly mistake in saving a project.


Shapr3D indeed works very different than any other CAD app in this regard. Its operation is closer to other SaaS products like Google Docs, Miro or Canva. Workspaces live in the app and are saved & kept up-to-date automatically. You can export them into certain formats at various milestones, if you want to, or make copies within the app.

There’s no version/revision control available inside the app at the moment. We’ll definitely consider adding it in the future, but we don’t yet have a timeline for that. My current approach is to export & commit designs into a git repository when I reach important milestones and track them there. It works great for me, but I admit I’m coming from a developer background so tracking everything in git is second nature to me.

Optional, opt-in cloud backup & sync between devices is currently in closed beta and will be available to all users in a few months.



Yep, you found the right place :slight_smile: However, be careful: we consider that folder to be an internal storage and there are 0 guarantees that interacting with the files there directly would not break things. Again, we’re absolutely considering finding a good way to expose the workspaces in a way that allows them to be managed directly by 3rd party tools for backup, version control, sharing and other functionality, but to keep that robust, user-friendly and cross-platform would require way more work than simply pointing git or SMB file sharing or anything else at this directory.


I just downloaded the free version on Windows to try it out. As a long time CAD/CAM user this looks like a good fit for our shop. However, there doesn’t appear to be a way to save the files where more than one designer can access them. I want to save them to a shared drive on my network, not a local drive. Seems like saving to a local drive will just fill that up for no good reason. Unless I’m misunderstanding, exporting the file will just create a copy and keep the original on my hard drive?
Is this different because I’m trying the free copy currently?
Is there anyone else out there on the Windows platform that are managing their files in a central location?


Yes, that’s correct, but it’s not the limitation of the Free plan. Our Sync&Backup feature is coming to Windows soon, so you’ll be able to access your Shapr3D designs on any computer simply by signing in with your account.

Ok, with Sync & Backup will I be able to set a location for where the files are saved?
Will Sync & Backup let me save my files to a NAS device?

We are custom furniture makers, each customer has their own folder on our NAS. Each customer folder can have between one and ten custom designs in it. We keep those designs for future use, either to make again or to modify the design for another customer. We have several hundred customer folders on our NAS. I can’t imagine how I could find a custom design from 2012 if everything is stored in one file. Help me visualize how I would locate an old file amongst hundreds in your interface.
How much room will your file structure take up on a individual PC HD over the years?

This looks like great software, but if I can’t visualize how it could support our workflow right now.

Thank you,

You won’t be able to set the location of the files, but you’ll be able to create folders inside Shapr3D. Would that solve the problem?

Depending on your usage, over years the space it would take up would be in the range of gigabytes or tens of gigabytes.

Thanks for the quick reply,
Being able to create folders inside Shapr3D would meet our file management needs. But I would want to set the location of the Shapr3D file/database to a redundant storage location on my network.

I’m not asking for Shapr to change the way it stores the files, just a way to set the location of those files to my preferred location on my internal network. Does that make sense?

Our design PC’s (we have more than one designer) have small hard drives in them and all our data is stored on a NAS, that NAS is redundant and is regularly backed up as well.

I still can’t figure out how to make this work without making major changes to our workflow and network.


Makes sense, sure. Why would you prefer you NAS over storing your designs in our secure cloud solution?

It is simply the peculiarity and philosophy of the users and above all the companies that use Windows PCs to always determine for themselves how and where the product of a software or APP is stored and secured.
In a directory we can copy, sort, delete, create project orders, save projects, pass them on, save everything and so on.
This is how Windows users work.
An APP where the drawings are saved somewhere that you don’t even have access to is not well received by Windows users and will not really be accepted.

PS: Cloud is not accepted at all in many companies, especially not without end-to-end encryption.

I understand that, thank you.

Macher echo’s my thoughts.

The two main reasons for me to prefer my own NAS: We live in an area that doesn’t provide us with a very fast internet connection (one of the reasons Fusion 360 isn’t an option for us), and for security reasons I’d prefer it on my own network.

Got it, thank you. We are trying to better understand these use cases, and I hope in the future we’ll be able to figure out something for this.

1 Like

Sorry for all the questions, but I really like your software and want to make it work for us :slightly_smiling_face:
I might have misunderstood earlier - I was thinking all the model and sketch data is stored on my local PC. Is that the case or is that data stored on the cloud? And if so what is stored on the local PC, just a database?

Is that how sync is working, reading that database? And does the PC with the database need to be on for a second PC to sync, or does it read that data from the cloud?

You mentioned being able to create folders and subfolders in Shapr3D. Is that possible in the current version?

Thank you for all your help with this.

Thanks @SteSchmi , duly noted. I understand that it’s frustrating not to have folders. I agree that we should have it.

Hi All, @Istvan,

This thread has been helpful for me. I’m relatively new to CAD (and shap3r is my first) so take my opinion with a large grain of salt. I also come from a developer background and have found myself wanting for some version control and commit history as I begin to progress slowly to more complex, at least for me, designs. Really, I’d like to be able to follow the development process I’m used to like pinning stable versions, then forking or featuring off of them. If those could then be merged back into a stable version, that’d be pretty neat too but just basic commit history and to be able to view and fork a project at ‘x’ point in time would be invaluable.

I like @Peter_Gy’s suggestion to export and save in git. I’ll have to try that out. Would love to hear details on your development workflow. How do you go back and forth between git and shap3r? Is your versioning in shap3r based on naming convention of the workspace? (Ex. Rocking_chair_1.0, rocking_chair_1.1, etc…)

Hope this bump helps prioritize any version control features in the works! Thanks in advance for any advice. -Brad

I’m going to be honest with you: the git workflow is pretty rough around the edges. Basically, whenever I’d consider a version to be something I’d want to “pin”, I export it manually to a directory and then manually do a git commit & push. (I’ve spent most of my professional life using Linux, so I usually just use CLI tools for this even on Mac & Windows.) I haven’t really done any forking & merging in the design.

One thing that’s coming soon is accessing your version history when you enable Shapr3D Sync and thus have all your past versions in the cloud. We’ll also consider allowing manually marking certain versions and we’ll experiment with things like forking. There are lots of parallels between the professional workflow of a software developer and an engineer working with CAD but there are a lot of differences, too, and we want to make sure we find solutions that fit the needs of all.


I fully understand your concerns, and that’s why the cloud-based version history is only one of the several things we are working on around this. It’s simply that it’s the side of things where we have a well-understood roadmap, but we do want to fit well into offline or online but home-brew workflows (and we know we have a long way to go until we get there). The main challenge is that marrying these two worlds (seamless, don’t-need-to-think-about-it backup and sync between devices, and fully offline, file-based workflows) is an immense technical and UX challenge, and both have a large target audience.

We consider multi-device mobile & desktop usage a huge benefit and that’s immensely more comfortable with automated sync so we started with that. But we’re not stopping there.

1 Like

You made a good app and now people want to use for professional work. You’re going to need to refactor away from the cute iPad approach of storing all designs in one hidden database.

1 Like