SpaceClaim 2011+

Last week SpaceClaim’s Blake Courter (Co-Founder and Director of Customer Development) and Justin Hendrickson (Product Manager) gave me a briefing on SpaceClaim 2011+. I don’t yet have access to this new version. So this blog post is merely about what they said and what I think about what they said.

This slide pretty much sums up the “What’s New” part of SpaceClaim 2011+

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These are the enhancements with respect to the SpaceClaim API which has reached version 8

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I have been following SpaceClaim ever since the company came into existence. Right from the start the company has been trying to position its product as a companion to other CAD systems. Back in 2007 in a post titled “SpaceClaim – Real Or Marketing Strategy?” I commented on a SpaceClaim white paper:

Spaceclaim seems to be targeting what they call the “extended development team”, who, according to the author, are “those responsible for downstream functions from manufacturing to field engineering, as well as upstream functions involved in conceptual design and engineering.” So that leaves out the “product designers” who, according to the author, are “highly-specialized CAD operators using a parametric modeling system like Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, CATIA, NX or Inventor.”


I have seen this happen earlier. When McNeel launched Rhinceros they started out by marketing Rhino as a “companion” product – companion to a user’s existing CAD system, mainly AutoCAD. I guess they realised at the start that asking someone to dump their existing CAD system all of a sudden and adopt theirs was not an easy things to do. The “companion” tag allowed them to slowly push Rhino into the user’s workflow.

It looks like SpaceClaim’s marketing has decided to finally let go of the “companion product” tag. Through this slide Blake tried to convince me that SpaceClaim is all over the place and it is actually displacing other CAD systems.

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For those who are interested in what the SpaceClaim customer cross section looks like here is a slide in Blake’s presentation that will give you an idea.

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I am extremely curious to know which kind of people fall in the “other” section. How many of them are from the DIY and Maker space? When Blake was at the slide above explaining how SpaceClaim was displacing other CAD systems, I mentioned to him that there was a fourth market segment to the left of the low-end. I asked him if SpaceClaim was interested in getting into that space like Autodesk is with 123D. He replied that his company was more interested in catering to engineers at the moment and would consider looking at that market if it found suitable partners.

Well, that’s a shame because in my opinion SpaceClaim is the perfect tool for people in that segment. And there are a lot of them out there. I can understand SpaceClaim’s hesitation to enter to that market because the people there are extremely price sensitive and if SpaceClaim releases a stripped down version of their direct modeler at a low price or give it away for free, they run the risk of cannibalizing their current offering. However, it is interesting that Autodesk doesn’t see things that way.