Autodesk’s cloud service, known as Forge, is free for developers for the next 90 days, the company announced at its inaugural conference for application programming interface developers. Also at the conference, held on June 15-16 in San Francisco, the company announced new investment in three start-ups.

Speaking about the end goal of the Forge platform, Scott Reese, vice president of cloud products at San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk, says, “All the intellectual property we’ve built since 1982 and the applications will be, ultimately, accessible to the outside world.”

Forge connects third-party developers to the Autodesk "brain," a bundle of cloud services, application programming interfaces and software development kits. The platform allows software developers from myriad industries to leverage Autodesk’s code.

“We’re removing all the risk and barriers for folks to get started,” says Reese, referring to the free trial period. After 90 days, the model will switch to a subscription basis and rise with customer consumption. However, developers can build upon capabilities that Autodesk has developed over 24 years, says Reese, adding that the 1,300 attendees at its first developer conference attest to the high interest.

Drone manufacturer 3D Robotics is one of three new companies to receive an undisclosed portion of Autodesk’s $100-million fund allotted for building relationships with promising software developers.

Another funding recipient is Seebo, which connects Autodesk’s design apps to its current "internet of things" platform, Fusion Connect, to incorporate engineering data into a product-design framework.

The third new partner is Make Time, which connects computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine suppliers with customers worldwide. Reese says its service is especially helpful for smaller companies, as the company schedules time in a CNC shop between the jobs of higher-priority clients. Further, it also helps to keep the CNC machines running as much as possible, says Reese.