Autodesk, Dassault and Free CAD Options?

It is almost two years passed since I put on my blog a question about FREE as a best future CAD/PLM. Navigate to the following link to read my PLM Prompt: Is Free the Future of PLM? I’m monitoring ideas coming of this FREE space. There are few interesting events that happen in this space, that caught me to think again about that.


Last year, Dassault Systems released DraftSight, a free CAD Software for your DWG files. In addition to that, Dassault introduced an idea of community where people can exchange ideas. Dassault introduced the platform called 3DSwYm (See What You Mean). Draft Sight community is one of available communities on the 3DSwYm. The following video gives you some information and feeling about what Dassault sees behind the DraftSight.

You can see a new CEO of SolidWorks, Bertrand Sicot is talking about the level of DraftSight adoption: 300000 downloads, 66000 activations, 16000 members of DraftSight community.

Autodesk 123dapp

A couple of weeks ago, Autodesk CEO, Carl Bass attended Wierd Business Conference. You can read an interview with Carl Bass by navigating to the following link. At this conference Carl Bass announced the launch of a new consumer product called 123dapp. Here is my favorite passage from Car’s interview:

A free, downloadable design tool, 123D allows anyone to design 3-D models, and then turn them into real-life products.“It usedthat in order to make things you needed these big expensive machines,” Bass said. “Now you can produce things at highquality, at relatively low volume and relatively low cost.”

You can see a fragment of the interview with Carl Bass on the following video.

What is my take on this? I think we can see a very interesting dynamic. Both Autodesk and Dassault are playing with the power of free options on the competitor’s side. Known as a strong provider of 3D CAD (both CATIA and SolidWorks), Dassault released 2D CAD for DWG files for free to attract AutoCAD users. On the other side, the introduction of 3D CAD free downloadable 3D design tool, by Autodesk – a king of 2D draft package (AutoCAD) is another interesting step, which is probably has an intent to disrupt 3D CAD business on the low end. I hope to learn more about 123dabc as well as about future Free CAD products in 2d and 3d. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

6 Responses to Autodesk, Dassault and Free CAD Options?

  1. Gal Raz says:

    I find it frustrating that after a decade of innovations, the industry once again forget the mainstream cad users. Focusing on providing a better, faster and easy to use CAD systems is a demanding effort. The big players grab more money selling PLM solutions and solving the major account problems.
    Free CAD for the people is a nice idea and so is Google docs. But, to get the job done, you still need MS Word. More free CAD at the market meaning less motivation to invested and to develop a better CAD software.

  2. Gal, thanks for your comment. I can imagine where your frustration is coming from. Mainstream CADs (i.e. SolidWorks) became more complicated. I don’t think, the fact Google provides Google Docs for free is actually meaning less motivation. As you can see, Microsoft released Office 365 (for free) to answer Google. So now, you have MS Word (almost) for free. Kinda good result… what is your take? Best, Oleg

  3. Java says:

    I think the 3d concept of manufacturing by autodesk is really powerful !
    They are 1 bringing easy 3d for free but more impotantly building a community and an ecosystem to build and manufacture those design.
    I think we are just scratching the surface on what things will be in 5 to 10 years
    Network of interconnected RP companies, Machine Shops, logistics providers, engineering
    companies, why not investors in breakthru ideas zo bring prototypes to next levels etc…
    The idea behind Autodesk is really creating a Blue Ocean a completely new concept rather than competing on similar products and services.

  4. Java, yes, I agree- Autodesk is shouting for a long targets. In my view, next 5-10 years can change a lot… Best, Oleg

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