Whether you’re a longtime Onshape customer or just starting to tinker around with a free Onshape Professional Trial, you’ve experienced what it feels like to design with modern CAD. You’ve felt the difference of “Parametric Modeling 2.0,” how the core features you depend on every day have been totally reimagined.

But what you may not realize is that Onshape remains just as valuable when your 3D modeling is done.

Starting with the Onshape App Store – which offers a full slate of Integrated Cloud Apps (simulation, CAM, rendering, data management, etc.) – Onshape is a complete, modern engineering platform. When it comes time to stress test your design or optimize it for manufacturing or even marketing, these cloud apps work seamlessly inside your Documents.

There are numerous business advantages to using engineering apps this way. Most notable is that you can try and compare multiple products from multiple vendors instead of being forced into pre-chosen solutions being pushed by your CAD reseller. Plus, once you sign into Onshape, your account is used for all the Integrated Cloud Apps. No multiple passwords to manage or multiple billing services to deal with. But finances aside, the App Store just makes your job easier.

Every advantage of using Onshape’s secure cloud workspace translates to all of Onshape’s Integrated Cloud Apps. Just like with Onshape, you now carry all your apps and all your data wherever you go – accessible from any computer, tablet or phone. No installs, software incompatibility issues or need for IT support.

With old CAD, many of the installed engineering apps are extremely computing intensive. A typical rendering, for example, can take a few hours and completely take over your computer during that time. You’ve been there: Your fan’s blowing at full speed and nothing else will work. You can’t design something else while you wait. And you can’t just hop on another computer, because with your CAD license, you’re restricted to working on only that computer.

Using any of Onshape’s Integrated Cloud Apps, you can let them run in the background while you focus on doing something else. You don’t have to stop working. You’re not a hostage to old technology.

The beauty of many of Onshape’s apps is their simplicity – you don’t need to be an expert to use them.

The Onshape App Store now has 46 app developer partners. As the store’s offerings have grown, so has customer demand. In 2017, our app usage increased 600% over the previous year. 2018 promises to be equally busy, starting with the launch of two new Integrated Cloud Apps coinciding with the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

SIMSOLID Cloud - Meshless Simulation

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Now embedded in Onshape, SIMSOLID Cloud works on your original, fully featured CAD geometry and does not require any geometry simplification or meshing – the two most time-consuming and specialized tasks done in traditional FEA testing. SIMSOLID delivers your test results in seconds or minutes, even with large assemblies or complex parts, and has automatic tools that allow you to specify any degree of solution refinement.

Jacques Spillmann, a product designer for MUSIC Tribe, uses SIMSOLID to test his models of audio equipment used for concerts and live sound applications. “Using SIMSOLID in Onshape is seamless, making all my tools available from a single interface,” he says. “No more jumping back and forth between two applications and having to worry about importing, exporting or saving files.”

Using Industry-Specific Custom Features

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Created with Onshape’s FeatureScript, “Hex Infill” is a customized CAD feature designed to save material and time when 3D printing parts. Although this is a user-written feature, it behaves exactly like Onshape’s own built-in features.

Another key factor that puts Onshape in its own league as a modern CAD platform is its customizability. Onshape has developed its own open programming language called “FeatureScript” that enables every user to build custom features that appear and behave exactly like Onshape’s built-in features.

Unlike with old CAD systems, where you have to wait months or years (or forever) to get your requested feature added, in Onshape you can create a new CAD feature now. You can choose from a variety of public custom features that eliminate repetitive design tasks – immediately adding them to your toolbar – or you can program your own industry-specific feature and keep it proprietary as a competitive advantage.

One of our customers, a luxury cabinet manufacturer, recently told us they feel like they are “essentially programming (their) own CAD system designed specifically for cabinet making.”

Exactly. That was the core reason for creating an open programming language that lets CAD users create their own built-in parametric features or modify existing ones. It’s the same language used to develop all of Onshape’s current features (Extrude, Fillet, Shell, Loft, etc.) and has already been used millions of times by Onshape users without even realizing it. So go ahead, peek behind the curtain and see how modern CAD is made. This level of transparency and openness is unprecedented in the CAD industry.

Some companies have been using FeatureScript along with Onshape’s new configurations feature to build apps that customize services to their customers. South Carolina-based Atlatl Software, which enables sales teams to quickly configure 3D CAD models and provide price quotes, extends the power of Onshape well beyond designers and engineers.

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"Empowering salespeople to visually collaborate with customers during the product configuration process accelerates the sales cycle and builds customer confidence,” says Susan Burris, Atlatl VP of Enterprise Strategy. “By integrating Onshape’s tools, we can eliminate the costly step of having our engineering team create sales configurations.”

Platform Momentum

Opening up the Onshape modern CAD platform has been a huge success, with 1 out of every 3 professional customers using a custom feature in one of their models. In fact, Onshape users have used custom features more than 250,000 times.

As for the App Store, Onshape’s expanding partnerships with developers keep delivering more choices for our customers.

Modern CAD Delivers Unmatched Opportunities

If you started out using Onshape and have never used an old CAD system, it’s forgivable not to recognize how unique our modern engineering platform truly is. No other CAD system has an app store. You have to bounce between websites to see what’s available – and even then your old CAD vendor denies you freedom of choice.

No other CAD system has Integrated Cloud Apps. You have to download multiple programs and pray that they’ll all play nicely together with your core CAD software and each other. With Onshape, you just click a button and start working. No installs. You become your IT department’s new best friend because you aren’t bugging them all the time.

No other CAD system offers features you can modify to your own tastes. Or an open programming language to create your own custom features tailored to your company.

We’re proud to deliver you a modern CAD platform that’s unmatched by anyone in the industry. It’s what we set out to do when we started from scratch – and we’ll never stop striving to make ourselves even more valuable in the days ahead.