Recently while I was browsing the web I ran across www.grabcad.com. I explored the site a bit, and thought it was unique and appealing, especially the open source part. It came to my mind that some of the people who visit my blog may find GrabCAD interesting, so I contacted them and asked if I could briefly email interview one of their founders. Indrek Narusk the CTO of GrabCAD graciously said yes, so here we go…
Interviewer: Your homepage leads off with the statement, “Free 3D CAD models from a community of mechanical engineers.” While on your site though, I noticed that there is also a place to order CAD services. It seems to me that GrabCAD is a place for 3D modelers to come, exchange resources, and also offer their services to prospective clients. Is this a fair summary, or is there more to GrabCAD?
Indrek Narusk: Yes, that is fairly well put. People have said that we are a mix of Facebook, LinkedIn, Odesk and Github for mechanical engineers and I think there is some truth there. We want to bee the nr1 content and community provider to all the mechanical engineers in the world. We are at the beginning of that journey.
Interviewer: So why start GrabCAD?
Indrek Narusk: Both founders of GrabCAD (me and Hardi) are mechanical engineers by background. We run a small engineering services office back in the days and as there was more work coming in than 2 of us could handle, we started thinking about how to expand. As everything around us is moving to the web, this seemed as the only option for us as well. So we started building the library as a first step.
Interviewer: How have people been responding to GrabCAD? – Both contributors and service seekers.
Indrek Narusk: I’m happy to tell you that the feedback so far has been super positive. Engineers really love the library and community side as you can see from the great content that we have there today. Service seekers wise it has been going great as well. Lot of different projects have gone through, some smaller some bigger. We have had some pumps in the road as well, but this is inevitable in the beginning and we use this experience for learning and . We are constantly improving everything to make GrabCAD as perfect as possible.
Interviewer: What do you think will be the key to GrabCAD’s growth?
Indrek Narusk: Keeping the engineers happy and engaged. Is all about our engineer, they are the top priority. They create the great content that we have today and the content drives new engineers to our site.
Interviewer: At what point will you be able to say to yourself, “GrabCAD is a success?”, or can you say that already?
Indrek Narusk: I must admit having 30 000 engineers signed up in just over a year is pretty awesome. But no we’re not happy yet. I think once we have at least10% of all the mech engineers in the world signed up as GrabCAD users then its time to celebrate:) Hopefully we’ll be having this “party” soon.
Interviewer: Any closing thoughts?
Indrek Narusk: Building and being a part of such a great creative and professional community is really something you don’t experience too often. I really like to thank all our really active top engineers or Powergrabbers as we call them for all the support and help they have and hopefully will be giving us- you guys are amazing.
I’d like to thank Indrek for taking the time to do this interview, and I hope GrabCAD becomes a great resource to the CAD community and those in need of 3D CAD services.