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May 23, 2018


Devon Sowell

Hello Mark Padmer-

20 years using SOLIDWORKS

Wrote 3 books about SOLIDWORKS PDM, published them myself, sold 540 copies at $89.00 each

CSWP since 2002

Here's the link to my Patent https://patents.google.com/?assignee=devon+sowell&oq=devon+sowell

Consulted to over 45 companies world wide.

Still going strong.


Bob Bean

Seems to me OnShape is tackling the huge problem of software deployment (non-trivial, a senior exec friend of mine spent almost a year upgrading all installs of Catia and Inventor deployed at their companies - millions of dollars on that alone). The PDM/management issues OnShape solves are very significant as well. Competition is always good for users, new approaches stimulate the market and fuel innovation. Anyone remember Lotus 123?

Mark Biasotti

I think Bass is being unfair. Lightning striking twice is very hard to do, and while Onshape doesn't have the unique opportunity that SW had in '95, it is a bold step forward. If I could attribute the slow growth of Onshape it would, in my mind, be one of two factors; A) the pricing model is not competitive, given that it cost around the same as SW standard over a 5 year period, yet SW has so much more modeling and simulation and documentation functionality (23 yrs. worth) it is not comparable in value... yet. B) as I talk to most of my colleagues in my industry, they come to the same barrier that I have come to; Onshape requires internet connect in order to use it. Onshape seems to be in denial that this is a problem and/or they just admit that if this is an issue, that user is not their customer. It seems odd in the 21st century that we are not always "connected" but even here in the great Silicon Valley, we are not always connected. I do a lot of my work away from our studio and there is more times than just occasional, that I loose or do not have internet connection. Onshape should face this challenge head-on if they want to gain more traction with the industry. I realize it is not in their interest, because of PLM, to create a download, even a small one (like Fusion360) but it would be extremely useful that if loosing connection Onshape would be able to go into a temporary (data-encrypted) syncing state (thru a local app designed only for this purpose) where the user could continue to work until connection was restored.

Sunith Babu L

The Future of CAD is not Cloud CAD by AI, how AI will play a significant role in CAD is worth watching and worth the wait.

Dave Snyder

Casting Onshape off as just “CAD in the cloud” is very superficial analysis. Data/PDM is really Onshape’s long term play, and having CAD built into the PDM gives the platform a ton of unique potential. It will play well with bigger companies that integrate CAD data to PLM, ERP, etc. because it removes at least one layer of complexity, if not more. And as other business tools are moving to cloud (more quickly than CAD), cloud-to-cloud tool integration will be way cheaper and have more potential than traditional client-server integrations. Not necessarily meat for griseled CAD jockeys, but that will drive major investment decisions. Expecting it will catch on with students and start ups too. Device agnostic, quick to get going, etc.


Onshape seems like the makings of a classic disruptive innovation. "The technological changes that damage established companies are usually not radically new or difficult from a technological point of view. They do, however, have two important characteristics: First, they typically present a different package of performance attributes—ones that, at least at the outset, are not valued by existing customers. Second, the performance attributes that existing customers do value improve at such a rapid rate that the new technology can later invade those established markets."

Having used SW almost daily since 2008, it's clear to me that this market leader is in need of a major cleanup but seems unlikely to initiate one until it's too late. While each annual release boasts of nifty new features, I waste many hours each day working around bugs in its basic functionality (e.g. brittle solver performance due to over- (i.e. 3 planes) or under-constrained (i.e. perpendicular) mates, and ballooning configurations to accommodate product customizations) that have not been addressed in at least a decade.

In contrast, Onshape seems to be starting from a clean slate and can roll out fixes and enhancements in real time. I've seen it attracting mostly users who can't afford SW but want access to 3D printing, but I can't wait for the day that I can stop cursing SW.

Mark Padmer

Devon I assume you are more of a hobbyist or maker?

I can give you some perspective. I just attended the latest Onshape Roadshow. Standing room only. It seemed most in attendance were former SolidWorks users, like my company. Seemed to me clear that So Cal SolidWorks users are moving to Onshape. Although, maybe San Diego is different than the rest of So Cal?

I have noticed that Onshape seems to be a product of choice for professional CAD users. We had looked at other tools in the past. Lots of low end tools like Alibre CAD is a good choice, or Inventor Fusion. You can still learn how to model and user 3D CAD. We just found for professional industrial strength reliability they are just not in the same league as Onshape or SolidWorks.

As for the pricing, My company spent far more than that using SolidWorks. All I can tell us is we have not looked back. and the room of other Onshape users seemed very happy to me.

Bob Konczal

It is kinda funny reading these comments about Onshape and Jon’s team. This is almost exactly what the Pro/E folks and others said about SolidWorks in 1995. I find that respect is a wiser approach. Just sayin’. I would never bet against Jon and Da Team. No pun intended!

Devon Sowell

Here in San Diego, Onshape has no traction whatsoever, and with their recent price increases, Onshape Enterprise $20,000.00!!, they're shooting themselves in the foot.


I really can't argue with him. Other than pricing models, improvement in things like rendering, and 3D tools, little or nothing new has really come out of the major CADD vendors. While some people may consider "on-line" CADD new and groundbreaking I would put it in the category of software delivery, not as some seem to think the next evolution of CADD. That's just one user's humble opinion.

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