Onshape, a new web-based 3D modeling tool, officially concluded their beta test period and is now officially a commercial product.
We’ve been using Onshape’s beta product for several months now and have found it to be not only quite handy, being a web app, but also easy to use while being powerful at the same time.
One feature we particularly like is that Onshape takes full advantage of its web platform by continually upgrading the app with new features and techniques. To keep their community up to date on such changes, there is a continual stream of announcements and video tutorials on their channels. Onshape says they provided 125 enhancements in no less than 14 updates during the test period.
But up until now, it’s only been a beta test, where they’ve shaken down the system to get out the bugs. We didn’t encounter many - none in fact, during our usage. Their test seems pretty comprehensive, as they explain:
Over 10,000 users used Onshape for 400,000 hours. They created 4,000,000 modeling features, imported and exported 390,000 CAD files, and created 325,000 STL files for 3D printing.
In the past powerful 3D CAD software frequently required equally powerful graphics cards, implying that 3D work had to be performed on local hardware. Most of the commercial 3D modeling software you see on the market today follows this model.
However, Onshape has proven that it is possible - and perhaps even advantageous - to provide 3D modeling capabilities over the web. As a result, we see several traditional 3D CAD software companies rapidly creating web-based equivalents of their standalone products.
Will standalone 3D CAD software products fade away? Probably not, but it seems clear that there will be a huge market for web-based 3D CAD, too.