A Montreal-based startup is about to shake the world of design automation. Vention, a new browser-based machine builder platform, launched in beta today. They provide a social marketplace of industrial equipment for purchase and a 3D machine builder with library of components to construct your own equipment.

The platform and 3D machine builder is 100% free to use. (The company relies on the sales of the products for revenue generation.) You can log in, immediately start adding parts from a library of pre-defined structural, motion, control, and hardware parts and components. The interface allows a drag-drop-and-snap in place method of assembling any type of structure through an AI-enabled 3D constraint system. As parts are added, all cost and weight is calculated in real-time and shown on the screen with fastener requirement calculated automatically.

On top of this, designs published to the public can be used as a starting point, modified or re-configured. New assembly designs can be started collaboratively, invitations set to additional collaborators or private groups set up. Download of the 3D part or 3D drawing file is available for offline design and download of the 3D assembly is available from within the machine builder.

The Vention 3D Machine Builder interface with drag-and-drop library of parts and components.

When talking with Etienne Lacroix, CEO of Vention, he explained that this isn’t 3D modeling software, but a whole new way of building assemblies for both professional CAD users and non-professionals alike.

“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. 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 5-fold.”

Inside of this is a complete elimination of any 2D drawings or manual BOM management–it all happens automatically–and Vention is driving it all with a heavy focus on artificial intelligence both in the builder and the marketplace, a system built to constantly learn.  Here’s what the beta version of Vention platform includes:

  • 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.
  • Personalized assembly instructions with purchase orders.

The company received an unspecified pre-seed round of funding led by Bolt and Real Ventures, along with some familiar names in the 3D software scene, Jon Stevenson, former exec at PTC and GrabCAD, and Rob Stevens, former exec at GrabCAD and Amazon Robotics.

I’m fascinated by the 3D machine builder and the technology behind it. It’s the most advanced 3D product assembly interface I’ve seen and, I believe, is a great example of the shift we’ll see in 3D product development over the coming years. The applications for this spread far beyond machine design, but Vention has started out with a focus that hits a wide set of industries where custom equipment builds are constantly needed in a sector no one else is thinking about. Keep an eye on this company and the tech they’re developing.

Library part with ability to add to your own design, purchase, download and comment on.
Library part with ability to add to your own design, purchase, download and comment on.




Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, 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.