Keeping traditional CAD relevant in a CAD cloud world

Here’s an interesting topic I wanted to get all of your opinions on. There’s a enormous effort today being put behind “CAD in the cloud”. Autodesk is heavily investing in development and marketing of Fusion 360 and newcomer, OnShape is rapidly gaining momentum. With their low cost and ease of use, CAD in the cloud is gaining users at a rapid pace. The makers movement only accelerates the pace of adoption further.

So what If you own your own business or are part of a larger company that uses traditional CAD software such as Inventor, Solidworks, Creo, etc. and are feeling left out? Are you worried years from now that you won’t be able to find enough qualified people to hire for your company that is entrenched with your traditional CAD software? What if you’ve already decided using CAD in the cloud is not a good fit for your company due to government regulations, missing features or another reason? How do you stay relevant?

The worst thing you could do is put your head in the sand and ignore the CAD cloud movement. This doesn’t mean you have to switch off your current traditional CAD application for a CAD in the cloud application. But it does mean you shouldn’t limit yourself or your company to your traditional CAD applications.

Consider first, polling your engineers, designers and drafters on what other CAD in the cloud applications they may use at home and in their free time. You might be surprised on how many of them are using something already for their hobbies or home projects.

Think about how you might be able to leverage in a cloud based application into your design cycle. Can you use the powerful collaboration features of Fusion 360 or OnShape for product concepts or sales demonstrations? Even if you already know the detailed design efforts will remain with your traditional CAD applications, there is so many opportunities to reduce the overall design cycle by harnessing the modern cloud tools being developed today.

I would love to hear what you all think. Post a comment, find me on Twitter at @cadtoolbox or like me on Facebook.


You can also check out these other posts regarding concept design with cloud based CAD applications:

GrabCAD: Fusion 360 Key For Concept Design: An Interview With Aurel Estidial

Synergis CAD Blog: Autodesk Fusion 360, The New Kid On the Block

So am I trying to convince you to drop your current CAD application and start using Autodesk Fusion 360? The answer is NO!!!!   The point I want to make, Autodesk Fusion 360 should be viewed as an extension of your current CAD tools and not as a replacement. – Mark Lancaster @ Synergis


Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

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  1. That’s a great question Thomas.

    What is it that makes you fear your current system becoming ‘irrelevant’ How would a new CAD sysrem prevent your current CAD system from performing?.

    (I am asking contentious questions deliberately!)


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    1. It’s not the software but the people that use it from two perspectives. Think about 5 years from now if the push is for CAD in the cloud, how are you going to find people that still know and understand traditional CAD.
      Also, if your current employees keep hearing enough about it and you shut them out from it, it may be one more thing that makes them start looking for another job.

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