Have you ever wondered how robots are designed and built? 

With the rise of automation and Industry 4.0, robots are becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing sector. But where do these machines come from, and how can we prepare the next generation to create them? 

One French teacher, Stephane Duchemin, has found an innovative way to teach his students about robotics and engineering by designing and 3D printing a remote-controlled robot arm using Onshape, a professional-level CAD platform. 

Not only did this project help students achieve their mandatory French baccalaureate curriculum requirements, but it also introduced them to the world of STEM careers and the growing demand for skilled workers in the robotics industry.

The Workforce of the Future Needs STEM Students

The importance of STEM education to prepare students for careers in the robotics industry can’t be overstated. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the global robotics industry is expected to grow at an unprecedented rate in the coming years, with an estimated 20 million robots in use by 2030. This growth will require a highly skilled workforce that can design, program, and maintain these machines.

As the world becomes more automated, engineering graduates and skilled laborers specialized in robotics will continue to be in high demand. Companies like DHL are already leveraging the power of robots designed in Onshape to streamline their operations and increase efficiency. 

By introducing students to robotics and engineering through hands-on projects like designing and 3D printing a robot arm, teachers like Mr. Duchemin are helping bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world applications.

Mr. Duchemin is a technology teacher at the Jules Verne High School in Mondeville, France, and has been teaching for the past 28 years. Currently, he is working with students in the baccalaureate-level technician program and is using Onshape to study technical systems for industrial product design.

Mr. Duchemin is also a content editor and publisher on the éduScol platform, a resource directory run by the French Ministry of National Education. 

His video tutorials and articles on Onshape are helping French teachers get familiar faster with the cloud-native CAD platform since 2021. In his own words, his work with éduScol aids French teachers by centralizing information and supporting education professionals. It is also an entry point to resources, training, and diplomas offered by the national education system in France. 

Building a Robotics Curriculum

In 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr. Duchemin became aware of the importance of teaching technology using modern, collaborative tools that don’t require software installation and are easy to use for every student. 

Naturally, he turned to Onshape, which met all of these criteria. Mr. Duchemin was able to get his homebound students to work by simply creating an account and following his éduScol video tutorials. 

“One of the key elements for me is the flexibility and simplicity of Onshape, thanks to the automatic cloud backup,” the French educator said.

I had the chance to meet Mr. Duchemin in person in October 2021 while on a working trip in Normandy. The institution that he is representing, the Jules Verne Polyvalent High School in Mondeville, was hosting a meeting between PTC and representatives from the éduScol platform. 

Naturally, he was present as a longtime Onshape user in France and éduScol publisher, the liaison between our two parties. During our rendezvous, he expressed his gratitude for Onshape being available without barriers to the entirety of the education community and wished we would keep it this way. This would be the start of a fruitful working relationship, and soon Mr. Duchemin was addressing the French education community and promoting Onshape as a speaker during our webinars.

Educators meeting to learn about tools that help them teach STEM
The PTC Education Team meeting with Mr. Stephane Duchemin at the Jules Verne High School in Mondevile in October 2021.

Creating a Robot Arm Prepares Students for ‘le Baccalauréat’

As part of his duties as a teacher, Mr. Duchemin’s objective is to oversee students’ transition from the classroom desk to the labor market. One of the prerequisites for employment in the robotics industry is passing the French national exam known as “le Baccalauréat.” As a component of the restructuring of the baccalaureate diploma, French students must develop a project in the sphere of robotics and interconnected systems. 

“The idea to create a robotic arm came naturally,” explained the French teacher. They chose to builda low-cost robot arm motorized by two servo motors. All the modeling was done by Duchemin’s students in Onshape, as well as the plans for 3D printed parts. A virtual piloting interface developed in Python also was part of the project, which allowed students to simulate and pilot the robot. 

The project, named “Robot ARM-21N2,” also features a working surface and several pieces that are meant to be transported by the arm’s installed suction cup. The final objective is to move all pieces from point A to point B, while also dodging several obstacles. With the help of Onshape, all the educational content of the robot arm, from the 3D model to the initial drawings, is available to the wider public of the education community.

Mr. Duchemin in his classroom.
Mr. Duchemin in his classroom working on a robot in Onshape.

Onshape’s Role in the STEM Classroom

Mr. Duchemin also stated the importance of Onshape for their project. The design process was simplified and, by having an easily shareable single source of truth, Mr. Duchemin was able to publish the robot arm model as a public document on the éduScol platform. Such benefits privy only to Onshape help inspire other technical sciences students to learn and advance their robotics knowledge.

Onshape was first used in-class at Jules Verne High School back in 2020, at the start of the first lockdown. It allowed Mr. Duchemin’s students to work from home while having all their files saved in the cloud – the perfect solution to further their education remotely, without any constraints. 

Even after the COVID-19 waves passed, Onshape remained the number one CAD software of choice for Mr. Duchemin, as it allows for real autonomy for students while offering teachers control over their students’ work. Onshape also empowers its users to model their technology workshop designs on their personal computers, a feature greatly appreciated by his top students.

The robot arm in Onshape.
Onshape model of the Robot ARM-21N2.

“The arrival of a Saas software like Onshape opens up new horizons. It's easy to work in any location with internet access, which is not the case with older software,” explained the French teacher.

When asked about the differences between Onshape and his previous CAD software, SOLIDWORKS, the French teacher kindly outlined a table for easier visualization:




No installation

Complex installation process



New version must be installed yearly


Automatic (in the cloud)

Back-up server on user’s side




Data sharing


By file sharing (server or tunnel access)



Integrated according to profession

Mr. Duchemin and his students holding the robot arm.
Mr. Duchemin and students from the Jules Verne High School in Mondeville posing with their robot arm.

The Workforce of the Future

The story of Mr. Duchemin and his students building the Robot ARM-21N2 is a testament to the importance of practical education and its impact on the workforce of the future. 

As a technology teacher, his goal is to help his students gain the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the workforce with confidence. By incorporating cutting-edge SaaS technology into his curriculum, he is not only preparing his students for what lies ahead but also training them to be innovative problem-solvers who can adapt to an ever-evolving job market. 

As Mr. Duchemin himself puts it, "Our goal as teachers of technical subjects is to get as close as possible to the techniques and practices of the industrial world." 

It’s clear that he is doing just that by embracing Onshape and inspiring his students to do the same.

At a time when technology is transforming the workplace at an unprecedented pace, teachers like Mr. Duchemin, are more important than ever. They are not only helping to equip students with the technical skills they need to succeed in the modern economy but also fostering the creativity and critical thinking that will be essential for adapting to the rapid changes that lie ahead. 

Through these efforts, he is helping shape a workforce that is ready to meet the challenges of the future head-on – and should serve as an inspiration to educators that wish to build a more innovative and adaptative teaching environment.

Do you want to enable your students to easily design and create innovative products in an ever-changing world?  

Join the millions of Onshape users from around the world and discover how Onshape for Education is transforming the modern classroom environment. 

Get Started with Onshape Education

Onshape for education brings CAD out of the computer lab and into the modern era.

(Kirian Lavoisard, Customer Success Specialist, PTC Education)