Recommended Procedure for Working Remotely

Recommended Procedure for Working Remotely

The following Procedure for Working Remotely requires that all clients be running the same Microvellum Software Build and Library Build

We recommend that you do not try to work remotely with Microvellum and AutoCAD using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but instead ‘check-out’ a ‘clean’ copy of the preferred configuration and work with it locally. We define ‘check-out’ and ‘clean’ later in this document. After evaluating the pros and cons of various methods, we feel that regardless of a company’s size or the number of users, this solution is best for the greatest variety of companies.

With this recommendation, we are assuming that you have a computer at your home office that is sufficiently powerful to run the program. If this is not the case, your company may need to arrange for a suitable computer for you to use at home. If sufficient home computing power is just not available to run Microvellum at a reasonable speed, the alternative is remote access with a VPN using a less powerful machine as the remote computer. Depending on the availability of qualified IT staff to set up the VPN connection, this may not be an option during the pandemic.

We also feel that this is the best option as it eliminates the lag and instability that you may experience using Remote Desktop (or similar software) with a VPN at a time when the internet traffic is heavy because of millions of people working from home.

How Do You ‘Check-Out’ a Copy of a Configuration

‘Check-out’ of a dataset means that you make a copy of the configuration folder structure. The dataset is a collection of all the configuration files necessary to create projects, control global and wizard variables, draw products, and create work orders.

This configuration copy remains a separate database upon returning to work in the office. 

What is a ‘Clean’ Copy of a Configuration

Once the copy of the dataset is complete, you create a ‘clean’ copy of a configuration. It is ‘clean’ in the sense that existing projects and work orders have been deleted, along with the tool file paths that would generally be necessary to produce G-Code and run it on your CNC machines.

Pre-Check-Out Requirements

These requirements assume that you are working with a SQL Server configuration. If you are working with local SQL CE configurations, you simply need to export them from one computer and import it on each remote computer.

There are a few things you should do before performing the check-out of the copy of your SQL Server configuration.
  1. Backup the Microvellum data on your Server.
  2. Set permissions on the resulting local configuration to limit changes users may make to their setup options.
  3. Archive unnecessary projects before the steps below to limit the time it takes to transfer tables to the SQL CE configuration.
  4. Remove tool file paths to CNC machines. (see procedure below)
    1. Users working at home should be able to create and manipulate projects and create work orders. You can process work orders and have them ready for your return to the office.
  5. This should not be a configuration used for data development. Only project and work order changes as necessary. If you must work on your library data remotely, we  recommend that you select a single experienced user with the responsibility to perform all data modifications. When you return to the office, distribute these library changes to all users.
  6. Only allow one user to work on any single project at the same time.
  7. Do not modify library specs, tool files, or drawing templates on the local machines used in home offices—processing to batches not recommended in these home office configurations.

Check-Out & Cleaning Procedure

Option 1:

Converting a SQL Server configuration to a SQL CE local configuration to be used in your home office.

  1. Open Toolbox or the Product Module (ERP) and transfer tables from the SQL Server configuration to a SQL CE local configuration. Access at Options > Utilities > Transfer Tables.
    1. Transfer all three tables to give the local configuration full capabilities for permissions, etc.

    2. Fig. 01 - Transfer Tables Button


      Fig. 02 - Transfer Tables Interface

  2. Create a backup of the newly updated SQL CE configuration containing all the files and folders by copying the complete configuration folder to a secure location on your company server.
  3. On each of those computers, set the Options > Utilities “Path to Microvellum Data” to the recently updated SQL CE configuration (dataset).

  4. Fig. 03 - Change Path to Microvellum Data

  5. On each of the computers, set the Options > Data Access option to “SQL CE” instead of SQL Server.
  6. Restart Toolbox or the Production Module software, making sure you are using the same configuration that was just updated. Verify that the Data Access type is now set to SQL CE and that the path to Microvellum data was retained correctly. Additionally, check that all projects in the original SQL Server configuration also exist in the SQL CE configuration. 
  7. ‘Clean’ the new configuration by removing all projects from the dataset.
    1. Options > Utilities > Database Management > Projects, select all projects, set a path for the exported backup copy, check the box for Delete Projects After Export, click Transfer.

    2. Fig. 04 - Database Management Projects Interface

  8. When asked, verify the projects to delete and then wait for the message box that the export and delete have been completed before continuing. This could take quite some time, depending on the number of projects in the configuration.

  9. Fig. 05 - Export Complete Message

  10. Remove all work orders from the dataset.
    1. Options > Utilities > Database Management > Work Orders, select all work orders, set a path for the exported backup copy, check the box for Delete Work Orders After Export, click Transfer.

    2. Fig. 06 - Database Management Work Order Interface

  11. When asked, verify the work orders to delete.
  12. Open all tool files and delete the Machine Code Path in the Settings tab.
    1. If you are running Integrated Post Processing and Labeling, remove the following paths.
      1. Path to Nest Label Images
      2. Path to Nest Label Parts Files
      3. Path to Nest Label Worklist Files
      4. Path to Nest Label Aux Files

    Fig. 07 - Delete Machine Code Path

  13. Create a copy of this configuration to use as a ‘clean’ backup and to distribute to all those working from a home office.
  14. Repeat the steps above for each computer that will be used in home offices or add this configuration to those machines.
  15. Return to the original SQL Server configuration and export any necessary projects. Import them to the local configurations on the computers to be used at home. 
Option 2: Copying an existing local SQL CE configuration from your office computer to the computer to be used when working remotely.
  1. Export the configuration from the office computer.
  2. Import the configuration to the computer you will use when working remotely.
  3. Restart Toolbox or the Production Module software on the remote computer, making sure you select the newly copied configuration.

Returning to Work at the Office

When you return to the office, we recommend that the projects from the remote computers are not imported back into the original configuration on the SQL Server or local dataset. Instead, create a configuration from the ‘clean’ dataset that you created by removing all projects and work orders in the steps above.

This new configuration should be on one of the remote computers and not be on the SQL Server to protect the original data!

Export the projects from the remote computers and import those projects into the new clean configuration, one at a time. Test the new configuration to ensure the materials are all working as expected. 

If so, go ahead and import all the projects from the various remote computers to that one computer and set the machine code paths to the machines from there. Process the work orders from that machine to produce data but keep it separate from the server. 

If working locally on one of the local machines is simply not an option, it is possible to create a new database on the server and import it from the remote computers to that location. Still, it is recommended that you work locally until those jobs have run completely through the system. Once back, you may create any new projects on the server but finish the projects from the remote work on the local configuration.


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