Browser-based 3D machine builder platform from Vention looks to democratise design

Published 22 February 2017

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: engineering, cad, design, manufacturing, industrial design, cloud, bolt, vention

The infrastructure is entirely cloud-based, enabling Vention to implement real-time collaboration features

A beta version of’s browser-based 3D machine builder platform has been launched, claiming that with its use of artificial intelligence it is paving the way for the ‘democratisation of mechanical engineering’.

With the aim enabling designers to design and order their custom industrial equipment in just a few days, the cloud-based 3D design platform has a library of ready-to-order industrial-grade components, suiting fixed and automated equipment in the fields of small business automation, lean manufacturing, product validation and research, and industrial design.

Vention CTO Max Windisch suggests that the use of artificial intelligence in such a way is paving the way for the democratisation of design, enabling those without CAD skills to build industrial machines and prototypes.

Usage of the platform is free and users can order their machine for next day shipment upon design completion, with Vention describing its ease of use philosophy as revolving around a “one-part, one-click” component insertion feature, enabling the 3D assembly of machines to mimic that of the physical world.

“It became obvious to us that the next frontier for faster machine design wasn’t better design tools or higher performance hardware, but rather the integration between the two,” said Etienne Lacroix, Vention founder and CEO.

“The launch of our beta program is a first step in enabling our partners to experience a novel design and build workflow that will accelerate the machine design process more than five-fold.”

The cloud-based 3D design platform has a library of ready-to-order industrial-grade components

Functionality of the beta version

Vention integrates part selection, 3D design, and component purchasing, eliminating the need for 2D drawings and manual bill of material management.

Integration between design software and industrial hardware is billed as the primary contributor to cycle-time improvement: The infrastructure is entirely cloud-based, enabling Vention to implement real-time collaboration features.

- A library of structural, motion, and control components.
- A free cloud-based 3D machine builder.
- Artificial intelligence-enabled 3D constraints
- Real-time cost and weight in the 3D Machine Builder environment.
- Automatic fasteners and bill of material management.
- Access to a library of user-generated public designs.
- Invitation of individual collaborators to a design.
- Ability to set up a private design group.
- Submission of new component ideas.
- Personalised assembly instructions with purchase orders.

To experience the platform, potential users are invited to sign up for free here.

Venture backing of
The company recently raised a pre-seed round led by Boston-based Bolt, a premier fund for startups at the intersection of hardware and software with significant expertise in CAD, and Canadian-based Real Ventures, Canada’s most active seed investor.

In addition, this round was joined by a group of prominent angels from the computer-aided design and the robotic industries. Prominent investors include Jon Stevenson, a former executive of PTC and GrabCAD, and Rob Stevens, a former executive of GrabCAD and Amazon Robotics.

Furthermore, Vention was announced as a part of the 2016-2017 cohort of the Creative Destruction Lab of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, one of Canada’s leading accelerators for the commercialization of science-based companies.


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