Onshape Sees Advantages In 3D Printing Cloud-Based Platforms

By on October 22nd, 2019 in Software

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 [Source: Onshape ] [Source: Onshape ]

Charles Goulding and Greer Veon of R&D Tax Savers examine the cloud-based Onshape platform in the 3D printing workflow.

The 2019 Cimquest XPand 3D Tradeshow Exhibition in Branchburg, New Jersey, featured keynote sessions on how advancements in technology can enhance the manufacturing and design processes in 3D printing.

John McEleney, co-founder of Onshape, was asked to speak about his 40-year experience in product design and the vision of his company’s cloud-based platform. McEleney served as the former CEO of SOLIDWORKS, which is the robust platform used by a large portion of our clients (see our SOLIDWORKS article).

Many product developers need to tackle four aspects within the marketplace when working with software: speed, innovation, efficiency, and security. McEleney notes that these aspects in sharing product design data through companies and the modern trends now seen in product development are why he and his colleagues started Onshape. Their vision: rethink how people work together on a technology platform.


Computer-aided Design (CAD) is a computer technology largely used by those invested in 3D printing.

 The software designs a product and documents the design process. Currently CAD can be used to produce 3D engineering design through drawings of a physical component. CAD can also create a conceptual design, product layout, as well as the strength and dynamic analysis of assembly and the manufacturing processes themselves.

Onshape Cloud Platform

The concept of Onshape is to connect CAD, data management, communication tools, and real-time analytics in a single product development platform.

From working with engineers from companies like Google, Onshape developed a similar online resource for companies. The software allows parallel collaboration at a fraction of the time. As with other cloud-based platforms, the user-friendly resource can be accessed on multiple devices and does not require installation time.

McEleney discussed that the cloud platform’s CAD allows for manufacturers to design parts, assemblages, and drawings, as well as multi-part modeling that can then be stored to standard content libraries. The work done through the cloud is transactional, which allows the platform to automatically save and restore the latest version of a project, as well as take snapshots of data without stopping the overall work progress.

Onshape also resembles some of the standard cloud platforms’ communication tools by providing abilities to share, co-edit, and view a complete edit history of a file. The use of a cloud also maximizes the security for companies with files stored in a single space that is not contained to a computer or desktop.

Our recent Fabbaloo article explains how software development is one of the three components driving 3D printer R&D tax credit.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  1. Must be technological in nature

  2. Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business

  3. Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process

  4. Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives

Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum tax for companies with revenue below $50MM and, startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll tax cash rebates.


Onshape’s cloud-based platform will benefit many teams looking to make already existing product development platforms more usable and compatible with the current trends in the market.

By Charles Goulding

Charles Goulding is the Founder and President of R&D Tax Savers, a New York-based firm dedicated to providing clients with quality R&D tax credits available to them. 3D printing carries business implications for companies working in the industry, for which R&D tax credits may be applicable.