Yesterday, Autodesk gained the upper hand in the CAD industry by now being able to say, “Here’s how to bake a helicopter cake and a paper catapult with which to launch it into the air.” Autodesk has acquired DIY project site and passionate user community Instructables in an all out effort to seal their takeover of sites bringing food and engineering together, while at the same time extending the reach of their creative tool suite of software products and third-party service. Check it.

Step 1: Buy Instructables Step 2: Take over all things DIY

Making things you love from the comfort of that kitchen table with a broken leg – The home factory. Step-by-step Autodesk has taken on the idea of a software company bringing manufacturing to you… And they’ve done it in very little time. It started with creative consumer-level products like Sketchbook Mobile, Photofly, and Homestyler. Saw its revelation with the launch free 3D modeling software Autodesk 123D and has been capped off by relationships with rapid-prototyping companies 3D Systems, Ponoko and TechShop. The acquisitions sweeten it all a little more. First, when Autodesk acquired Pixlr web-based photo tools and now, with a community to spread the product love into and absorb the profits out of. It’s a fabulous plan and has potential of leaving communities like Google SketchUp and 3DVIA picking up the wire scraps of an unfinished effort.

Instructables, on the other hand, will be getting access to a lot more resources and a fair bit of promotion from the Autodesk side, along with the joy of remaining largely unaltered.

Instructables will still be the same site you love: we’ll keep the Instructables name and URL, the whole team is staying on, our policies haven’t changed, you still hold copyright to your projects, we’ll still run awesome contests, and the Robot isn’t going anywhere. However, we’ll now have the resources to make some improvements to the site I know our authors and community will love. Autodesk gives us the scale and support to grow and improve Instructables, build some great apps, and continue our mission of creating a positive impact on the world. Everyone on the Instructables team will become Autodesk employees, but we’ll still wear our Robot t-shirts with pride. Instructables

So, imagine if you could, i dunno, conceptualizing a corn peeler in Sketchbook, modelling it in 123D (or even Inventor), having it created via Ponoko and posting a guide to Instructables using Inventor Publisher. All possible really. What’s even more interesting is that Autodesk now has a very passionate DIY community to tap. Not only for selling apps to or even promoting their wares, but for engaging people who love making and are passionate enough about it to create a step-by-step guide and share their project with everyone. If you’ve not been to Instructables before or used it to create a variety of different items, it’s definitely worth checking out. My one hope? That being owned by Autodesk allows instructable to finally remove the excessive amount of ads around each tutorial.

Via Instructables


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.