“It’s a waste of time to keep what you’ve learned to yourself; today is about sharing and collaboration.”
– Hardi Maybaum, co-founder and CEO of GrabCAD
Young, bright and fresh out of engineering school, Hardi Maybaum was sure of two things—the engineering process was too slow and complicated, and the only way around it is with more collaboration in the engineering community.
These two core beliefs have grown into GrabCAD—one of the largest online mechanical engineering communities in the world. Founded in 2010, GrabCAD now has over 106,000 members worldwide and over 27,000 free and open-sourced CAD designs stored in its online library.
The community encourages CAD designers and engineers to share their CAD ideas, designs, and knowledge with others—based on the philosophy that collaboration is the best tool for innovation.
I asked Hardi a few questions to better understand how GrabCAD is working to improve the engineering process and increase collaboration in the field.
Interview with Hardi Maybaum—co-founder and CEO of GrabCAD
What are some examples of the most typical CAD models in GrabCAD’s library?
Hardi: Our library has over 27,000 free CAD designs, so there is really no typical type of CAD model in our library. Our community of CAD engineers shares all sorts of models, from full assemblies of custom motorcycles to the smallest components. You could say our library is as diverse as the interests of the engineers who contribute to it.
Why would an engineer want to contribute to GrabCAD?
Hardi: It’s a waste of time to keep what you’ve learned to yourself or lock it down; today is about sharing and collaboration. After all, someone might see your design and come up with something entirely new. Innovation happens when people share content and ideas, because we don’t all have the same design needs, interests or talents.
Engineers can get a lot out of open engineering—an opportunity to express their talent through their designs, attract potential employers and give back to the community.
Does GrabCAD help prospective customers determine which engineers to use for a project?
Hardi: GrabCAD is an open platform for people to communicate, so we don't directly connect customers with engineering talent. We’ve discussed the possibility of doing more in the future, but for now, we direct people looking to hire engineering talent to the GrabCAD website.
If you hope GrabCAD achieves one thing, as both a business and an engineering community, what would it be?
Hardi: Our goal is to make the engineering process more open and faster than it is today. If you think about it, successful companies in the web industry are very focused on the speed with which they can bring new products to market. This accelerated pace can be tough on companies, but it benefits customers by encouraging new and innovative products.
The manufacturing industry seems to have the opposite view—we talk about the importance of time-to-market, but sometimes it’s just talk.
I hope that the tools being built in GrabCAD help innovative companies and engineers bring great ideas to life faster, so that both the consumer and company benefit.
With all this exciting momentum, what’s next for GrabCAD?
Hardi: We have enjoyed our momentum, and are working on a variety of different products in the upcoming year to take GrabCAD to the next level. We look forward to sharing our plans with the world later this year.