The official launch of Onshape Beta was actually on March 9, but in many ways our real debut was yesterday at DEVELOP3D Live.

Yesterday was the first live public demonstration of Onshape anywhere in the world. And there was no better place to do it than at one of the year’s top gatherings of CAD and product development professionals.

Based in Warwick, England, DEVELOP3D Live is a unique experience because it’s very rare to see passionate CAD users of every stripe at a conference that isn’t a house event for one vendor.

The conference brings together the latest technologies for 3D modelling, design visualization and simulation, 3D printing and manufacturing. To CAD junkies like me, it’s a three-ring circus of cool stuff. I could have easily spent three days there – it’s only a one-day event – and still not have fully explored everything that piqued my interest.

The morning began with a pleasant surprise: Our Onshape team witnessed an impromptu demonstration of why we exist.


One of our fellow exhibitors, DriveWorks, had some problems with their trade show display staying upright. Like engineers tend to do, they wanted to find a solution in the moment, using whatever resources were available. They pulled a MacGyver. 

As you can see from the above Tweet, DriveWorks quickly accessed their Onshape account, whipped up a design for a support stand and had their solution in minutes.

At the conference, I particularly enjoyed the keynote address by Dominic Wilcox, the witty author of “Variations on Normal.” The book is a collection of cartoon invention ideas such as genetically modified square peas that won’t roll on your dinner plate and this “Cost Saving 5 Plank Fence” that moves planks based on a pedestrian’s location:


Slide from Dominic Wilcox’s keynote address. (Source: Twitter @olegshilovitsky)

Dominic was inspiring and entertaining – and reminded me that in order to design great products, you have to take risks. Great designs are the result of lots of micro-decisions.

Moreover, being at DEVELOP3D was an opportunity to interact with a wonderfully energetic and informed crowd. The place was packed. So my hearty congratulations to organizers Al Dean and Martyn Day, who put together an all-star lineup and made the day such a resounding success.

Onshape is only in its infancy, so it was gratifying to meet so many CAD users who already have accounts and had very specific questions for our team. It was even more exciting to see a lot of people sign up for Onshape on the spot and watch their reactions as they got instant access to full-cloud CAD in their browsers – with nothing to download or install. 

Some of the more experienced users of traditional CAD were struck by our Branching and Merging and Direct Editing capabilities – as well as the overriding idea that multiple people can now work on the same CAD model at the same time. Isn’t it crazy that this kind of real-time collaboration has been impossible until now?

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts to share about what I learned at this year’s DEVELOP3D, but in the meantime, here’s a snippet of my presentation discussing the magic of Onshape Mobile. Thanks to the steady hand of conference attendee Joe McBurnie for capturing this video:

(Were you at DEVELOP3D Live this year? Tweet me @jhirschtick and let’s discuss!)

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