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Revolutionary Cloud-based CAD Launched—Onshape Goes Commercial

One of the most dramatically different CAD products in history has finally launched as a ‘commercial’ offering as Cambridge, based Onshape sets sail after 400,000 hours of beta tester usage.


Onshape launching as a commercial offering is a big deal.

The revolutionary cloud-based CAD offering—aimed at the mechanical and product design market—is the first truly 100 percent cloud-based, web-browser and mobile app driven CAD application. Its launch is a validation that a new formula for how to deliver computer-aided design applications to customers works.

Prime Time

After a highly successful beta test phase, which included over 400,000 user hours in more than 150 countries, Onshape has dropped the “beta” label as it moves to a true commercial release.

“We are ready for prime time, we’re production ready,” says Onshape CEO John McEleney. “It’s been a year of not only amazing development momentum, but customer momentum as well. I’d like to thank our production-level customers across many industries who helped bring us to this point. You’re helping us build Onshape every day.”

Onshape is now officially commercial and the beta phase is officially over. Interested readers can sign up to learn more and give it a go.

01 – Onshape is now officially commercial and the beta phase is officially over. Interested readers can sign up to learn more and give it a go. (image: Onshape. All rights reserved.)

“Although we have much hard work ahead of us, I am extremely excited about how our customers continue to react to the improvements we make to Onshape every few weeks,” he adds. “We’ve built a world-class team and a product. Now it’s time to build a business.”

Success Measured Many Ways

Onshape says that measuring the success of the beta period can be done many ways. Here are some of them:

  • 400,000 user hours — over 10,000 users used Onshape for more than 400k hours creating over 4 million modeling features and imported or exported nearly 400,000 CAD files, created 325,000 STL files for 3D printing and more
  • Onshape Mobile — industry first full CAD editing and version control on mobile phones and tablets. User acceptance of mobile CAD was very high. One in six sessions were on mobile devices and over 50 percent of Onshape Professional users use mobile
  • 14 updates and 125 enhancements — while desktop installed CAD customers typically receive once-a-year software updates, Onshape users enjoy automatic upgrades over few weeks, just by refreshing their browsers. Everyone is always on the latest version of Onshape
  • Global Cloud CAD — in addition to now being used by professionals in more than 150 countries, Onshape recently opened offices in India, Singapore and has welcomed the formation of the Onshape User Groups everywhere from Europe to Australia
  • New Standard in Reliability — Welcome to the era of 99.9% uptime. Onshape users experienced virtually zero crashes or lost work. Onshape’s unique full-cloud architecture has virtually eliminated the concept of CAD crashes and lost work that have burdened CAD users for ages
  • 14 User Groups and Growing — Over 1,000 users have attended in-person Onshape meetups. Over 200 schools and universities have started using Onshape

“This wasn’t your typical beta test. When we started Onshape, most industry insiders thought a production CAD system that ran entirely on the cloud could not be built,” says Onshape VP of R&D Dave Corcoran. “We’re very proud of what our team has achieved. We know we still have a lot left to do, but the foundation the team has built is strong and they are adding more functionality rapidly.”

“We are very proud of what we have built so far to reach our commercial launch, but we have a much broader vision for the future of Onshape. Rest assured that we will be working everyday to continue to improve and expand Onshape to make it an even better tool for our users.” says Onshape founder Jon Hirschtick.

As Onshape wraps up one test, it is starting another, launching the private beta version of the Onshape App Store. Now open to selected customers, the store is where designers can conveniently browse, try and purchase new applications that work directly with their Onshape data, and expand on Onshape capabilities.

To learn how companies of all sizes are using full-cloud CAD to speed up their design and manufacturing, visit

Architosh Analysis

The thing about Onshape that is exciting is that the company is really on point with where customer desires and expectations now exist. What the mobile device era really brought to the IT world is that strong third player; Google’s Android platform formed an undeniable force in mobile computing that existed apart from the age-old battle between Microsoft and Apple.

The pressures major dueling entities in computing put on the market as a whole transformed in the midst of this new entity called Android, coupled with the reality that the weaker player in the previous duel was now the strongest financially in the new mobile battle. The overall market had to reckon itself to a new reality—there are multiple, viable equal choices.

02 - Fully modern browser based, Onshape works equally the same on every device and OS.

02 – Fully modern browser based, Onshape works equally the same on every device and OS.

This change helped sponsor and react to new industry standards, like HTML5 and WebGL (and new programming models) that helped transform what was possible that led up to the creation of solutions like Onshape. The factors that have led to Onshape’s success are many and the same that have led to Chromebooks surging in the educational market.

The new reality is that people will not accept a tyranny over their data and the types of devices and systems on which they can access it. Users desire—and increasingly expect—an “anywhere, any device” modality for software solutions and the cloud is the integral keystone component of that modality. What we are learning from Onshape’s success is more than just validation of what Autodesk is increasingly calling the Era of Connection; delivering software as a service (SaaS) in the mode Onshape has done is solving interesting “pain points” the CAD market has suffered through forever, such as crashing and version compatibility, that we no longer need to accept as unchangeable.

About Onshape

Onshape is the only company in the world 100% focused on cloud and mobile CAD, offering the first and only professional 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team work together using any web browser, phone, or tablet. Breaking away from the traditional model of desktop-installed CAD, Onshape has data management and collaboration built in at its core.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Onshape includes key members of the original SolidWorks team plus elite engineers from the cloud, data security and mobile industries. For more information, visit

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