Autodesk and GrabCAD partnership extends CAD’s reach in the cloud

Both AutoCAD 360 and the new Fusion 360 3D modeler will be available for real-time drawing and editing of drawings and models inside the GrabCAD Workbench environment.

illustration-autodesk-60b6d5c78700a966ad33364f5730a4f4Autodesk and GrabCAD today announced a partnership that integrates Autodesk cloud-based  CAD tools with the GrabCAD Workbench online product design collaboration site. The partnership provides both 2D and 3D CAD tools to the Workbench environment.

The partnership was announced in a live webcast on Livestream by Autodesk CEO Carl Bass and GrabCAD CEO and co-founder Hardi Meybaum.

Effective immediately GrabCAD users can open a DWG or DFX 2D drawing in GrabCAD Workbench, using AutoCAD 360. The drawing may be edited in the online environment, and changes may be saved back to the Workbench environment where they are immediately available for anyone with access to the Workbench.

In a few weeks Autodesk’s new Fusion 360 cloud-based 3D modeler for industrial design and engineering will also be available for use in the Workbench environment. AutoCAD 360 is a free product, but after the initial launch period this summer Fusion 360 will be a subscription-based product. Neither Autodesk or GrabCAD provided details on how pricing or subscription will work when Fusion 360 is used within GrabCAD Workbench.

Our take

This partnership is a slap in the face to everyone in the CAD industry who says cloud CAD will never work. Yes, we understand it won’t be as fast as using CAD on the desktop, and the tools are not currently as robust, but using AutoCAD 360 or Fusion 360 inside Workbench bypasses an annoying sequence of steps required to work with others on projects. Once the original drawing or model is uploaded into GrabCAD Workbench, all project participants have access to review, comment, and now edit project data.

GrabCAD currently has about 700,000 members; they will top the million mark very quickly thanks to this new partnership. Good thing it’s all hosted in the cloud, where expansion is simply a matter of renting more capability.