Onshape Opens App Store

Cloud-hosted CAD vendor Onshape launches app store in Beta test.


Cloud-hosted CAD vendor Onshape launches app store in Beta test. Cloud-hosted CAD vendor Onshape launches app store in Beta test.

It’s the Apple model adapted for CAD.

The crew behind Onshape has been busy laying the groundwork to launch an app store, featuring a collection of products to augment the flagship Onshape CAD program. It’s now ready to go.

On Monday, the Beta announcement for Onshape App Store went live, with an online form to solicit early access.

Other CAD software vendors have their own partner networks, but the Onshape partner apps are characterized by their alignment with Onshape’s distinct features: They all have the free trial option; they all recognize the Onshape credentials.

Joe Dunne, Onshape’s partner manager, pointed out, “This is a big ecosystem launching with us. We have 24 partners. Those are just the ones who are ready today. In simulation category alone, we have five partners. Billing is consolidated. Onshape has a freemium offering; every partners is required to embrace this model.”

Onshape has a free version with a limit on storage. Commercial licenses require a monthly fee or subscription.

Among the first simulation partners to launch Onshape apps in the app store are Simscale, Simsolid, and Simlab. CAMWorks and Mastercam fill in the spot for computer-aided manufacturing.

The partners select the type of licensing or billing method that works best for their offerings. Therefore, under the current setup, some apps are sold as subscription, just like Onshape itself. Others may be on the pay-per-usage model.

Though Onshape is built from the ground up to run in the cloud, not all partners have the same capacity or are ready to devote themselves exclusively to this strategy. Therefore, Onshape apps are offered as connected cloud apps, integrated apps, and connected desktop apps.

One partner, Luxion, offers its CPU-based rendering program Keyshot as an Onshape plug-in. Once the app is downloaded and installed, users get the option to import Onshape design files into Keyshot rendering environment for direct rendering.

Jon Hirschtick, Onshape’s founder and chairman of the board, declared the public beta phase of Onshape complete. Previous to Onshape’s launch, the idea for browser-based CAD often invited skepticism. Many feared users would be at the mercy of the network. Looking back at the beta experience, Hirschtick said, “We have set new standard for CAD reliability. We have 99.9% up time, virtually zero crash. It turns out, the network is really reliable.”

The company’s beta phase encompasses 400,000 hours of usage, over 10,000 users, spanning 150 countries, according to Onshape.

The Onshape beta experience also confirmed something Hirschtick and his colleagues have long suspected. “There’s a very high level of usage on mobile devices,” said Hirschtick. “One in six Onshape sessions are on mobile devices. They’re not using it just for viewing. We have users sitting on subways and planes, editing parts and releasing them, doing serious CAD works. That confirms our vision.”

For more on Onshape, watch the video below:

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Kenneth Wong's avatar
Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong is Digital Engineering’s resident blogger and senior editor. Email him at [email protected] or share your thoughts on this article at digitaleng.news/facebook.

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