GrabCAD flicks the monetization switch, launches marketplace

GrabCAD, the open source CAD (computer aided design) library and engineering community, has flicked the monetization switch with the launch of its CAD services marketplace.

Harvesting the talent of its 1,000 engineer-strong community, the marketplace connects those engineers with anyone in need of technical drawings and CAD-related services, promising a 24-hour turnaround and a flat fee of $30 for all “simple projects”. These can be things like technical drawings, photo-realistic images and 3D models. For those commissioning CAD services, the marketplace aims to solve the problem of finding a reliable outsource partner and to take away the hassle related to payments, workflow and confidentiality. While, of course, CAD engineers get a place to sell their skills.

However, the broader idea behind GrabCAD, which the newly launched marketplace is riding the coattails of, is to let CAD engineers share 3D models, solving the problem in which they spend too much time designing products or components that already exist elsewhere in the form of drawings. In particular, says GrabCAD, the site’s “Request a Model” feature, which lets users place a free ‘wanted’ ad for a particular model or drawing, is proving very popular with users asking for help with “anything from TV stands to funeral vehicles”.

In July, GrabCAD, which is a product of the Estonian Development Fund’s international business incubator SeedBooster, secured a €256k round of angel funding from the the fund, along with telecommunication technology company Astrec Baltic (owner of