Right when you think everyone gave up on putting parametric 3D CAD software on an iPad, a small, rebellious group of software developers launches an app that puts those large, money-laden software companies to shame. When we first saw Shapr3D, it was well on its way to cracking the CAD app conundrum – How do you put functional parametric 3D modeling on an iPad? Well, they’ve doneit, and just released Shapr3D 2.0 that brings a few things it was missing.

With powerful laptops and 2-in-1s flooding the market, why put CAD on iOS now? I thought as much, giving up on ever seeing ‘SolidWorks for iPad’, but with the big CAD companies losing interest in the same and the iPad Pro + Pencil just out, it was a perfect time for others to pick of the task, and Istvan Csanady, founder of Shapr3D, believes their app to be a huge step forward in the life of the first truly mobile CAD software.


Six month ago, they launched the first version of the app with basic sketching, solid modeling and freeform surfacing features. To their surprise, it was hugely popular. They received loads of praise, even more feedback and many suggestions for improvements. “We thought people would just use it as a 3D sketching app,” Istvan says. “We were totally blown away when people started showing how they used it across different industries: architecture, jewelry design, engineering, industrial design, interior design and more.”

Constraints and Dimensions

In Shapr3D 2.0, they’ve refined the workflow and Apple Pencil interface, but the main focus has been on sketching and constraints. If you us any constraint-based CAD software, it’s going to look extremely familiar. Using your Apple Pencil, you can sketch lines, arcs, circles and splines (without pressing a single button or using ridiculous key combos). It work just like you would expect. Have a look.

YouTube video

The constraints even work with splines.

YouTube video


The Shapr3D team is serious about getting their app into the hands of new users, announcing that Shapr3D will be free for students, professors, and educational institutions. “Shapr3D is a great tool to learn 3D modeling. This is why we decided to launch our educational program: all the pro features of Shapr3D will be free for educational purposes, without any limitations.”


Along with all of this, they’ve redesigned how layers and groups work and have improved the extrusion method by allowing a sketch, shape or face to be pulled directly. New in-app tutorial videos have also been added. Native CAD formats have not been added, but you can export as .STEP and .IGES and .STL.

Shapr3D 2.0 is currently available on the iTunes App Store as a free download with in-app subscription purchase options: Shapr3D ($19/month),  Shapr3D PRO ($99/year) and Shapr3D EDU (Free). An Apple Pencil is required for using all Shapr3D features.

When I bought a 1st-gen iPad in 2010, my first thoughts turned to the possibilities of using 3D CAD on the super mobile, touch-screen device. Waaaaay back then, I was still using a massive desktop for major CAD tasks. I have a smaller computer now, and a small mobile laptop capable of running any 3D CAD software, but I’ve already planned to purchase an iPad Pro and Shapr3D is the first app I will install.

Have you used Shapr3D 2.0? What features do they need to add next?



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.