Amazon doesn’t sell books.

On Amazon, you buy the book. And you do it after looking online, reading reviews, exploring the book – even looking inside it – and comparing prices elsewhere.

The world has changed for many products. Some products are bought. Other products are sold. To date, CAD has had to be sold. Typically, half the money that companies currently spend on CAD goes to sales and marketing. The costs of reseller margins, corporate marketing campaigns, and advertising is being passed on to you.

The CAD business has been run this way for decades.

Like others on our team, I was involved in helping turn SolidWorks into the most widely used professional 3D CAD software in the world. In those early days, a critical part of our strategy was building a global network of value-added resellers (VARs) to provide sales and training. If engineers were a two-hour drive from Knoxville or Stuttgart, the only way to get them productive with 3D CAD was to drive there, install it, and train them.

Well, that was 20 years ago, and the world has changed. With Onshape, CAD can finally be bought -- based on your experience learning it and trying it on your own timetable.

To enable this, we are investing in rich online training and educational materials that can be immediately used by anyone to learn a lot about Onshape and how to design great products with it.

Take a glimpse at what’s now available:

  • LIVE TRAINING - Sign up for live webinars and special events or watch recorded sessions.
  • TUTORIALS - Regardless of your level of CAD experience, these videos will help you get started or build on your previous knowledge.
  • ONSHAPE FORUMS - Find your answers faster by asking other Onshape users. Join our vibrant engineering and design community around the world.
  • VIDEOS - Watch Onshape product demos & videos about the future of full-cloud CAD.
  • DOCUMENTATION - All of Onshape’s documentation is fully searchable and accessible online.

Using only the resources above, engineers worldwide can start designing products within 10-20 hours of learning Onshape. How do we know this? Because our customers who are already in production have had no other formal training.

As of this writing, we are just four weeks into our Beta. But many thousands of users in over 100 countries are already learning and using our full-cloud CAD system.



With online learning, training and community resources, it doesn’t matter if your office is close to a local CAD reseller anymore. When Onshape puts out a new release, everyone immediately has it around the world – you don’t need to download or install anything – and everyone instantly has access to the training materials.

Just as important as the content is how we deliver it. The beauty of Onshape is that the more you use it, the more the system learns what is most important to you. Whether you are a CAD rookie or a power user, the Onshape application is aware of what you’ve been working on lately (e.g., sketching, assemblies, part modeling) and features you haven’t discovered yet (e.g., collaboration, branching and merging, high level mates) and automatically sends tips and tutorials that are most relevant to you.

Furthermore, by instrumenting these learning resources with the proper analytics, we can see what’s working and what’s not. This ongoing stream of intelligence enables us to do more of the “popular” stuff and fix the less engaging stuff. If incoming “How To” questions aren’t being answered by existing documentation, we can fill in these gaps. If a particular training video has a large drop-off midway through, we can explore why and reshoot it.  And knowing which webinar topics are more popular than others helps us focus on delivering the next round of content that will interest you the most.

For example, here’s the viewer engagement charts for two videos. The first one has a high drop-off in the first 30 seconds; the second one is watched all the way through by 80% of viewers. So collectively, think of all the educational resources as part of a genetic algorithm that’s constantly thinking about the best content and delivery methods to get you into production quicker.


Onshape is still in the early days of building this intelligence into the system, but just think of us as your personal CAD concierge.

We are “all in” on this education investment -- even at this early stage, dozens of us are involved in this effort. Our deep commitment to online education is meeting a growing need for professional learning on demand.


The workplace has changed. Professionals who want to advance their careers are now seeking immediate skills-based training versus pursuing long-term formal degrees.

MIT and Harvard University have teamed up to make thousands of courses from the world’s best universities available online through their nonprofit EdX initiative. Dedicated to “bringing high-quality education to everyone, everywhere,” these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free to audit, but charge a fee for professional certification.

The nonprofit Khan Academy offers academic video tutorials in 28 languages with 500,000 registered teachers worldwide using it in the classroom. The free online service has partnered with MIT, NASA, the Museum of Modern Art and the California Academy of Sciences.

Some observers have labeled this trend “Just-In-Time Education.” Jeffrey J. Selingo, author of “College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students,” notes there is “no need to invest years of your life or thousands of your dollars in a certificate or degree program – just learn a skill when work or life calls for it.”

Onshape is bringing this same approach to the CAD world.


With this new model, more of our resources can be invested in new content and making our full-cloud CAD system more responsive to your changing needs. That’s why we’re betting that the more time you spend learning about Onshape, the more you will want to start using it to design your products.

Our Free Plan has no time limits and has the same functionality as our Professional Plan. Request an Invite below and try working on the same CAD model with a colleague at the same time. Or try editing CAD data on your phone or tablet for the first time. Learn at your own pace. You’re in control.


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