Getting personal: How was DEVELOP3D LIVE for you?

28 April 2015

From delegates and exhibitors to sponsors and speakers, eight attendees share their personal experiences of DEVELOP3D LIVE

Adam Green - SolidWorks User Group Network - North West

The event was very well run. I was interested to see the wide variety of CAD packages and supporting products and services available.

The speakers were fantastic; I found it particularly interesting listening to Dominic Wilcox and seeing his approach to design. I also enjoyed the talk from Richard Varvill at Reaction Engines and hearing how they have overcome design obstacles for their Sabre Engine.

Highs: For me the highs were meeting SolidWorks CEO Gian Paolo Bassi and watching Jon Hirschtick present his latest product OnShape. It was also particularly interesting to hear from all of the different CAD packages and listen to how they plan to tackle the inevitable move away from the desktop to the cloud.

Lows: As the event is growing, and more and more exhibitors are represented, navigating the various rooms and floors made the event seem a bit disjointed. I guess this is a good problem to have for a growing event.

Most surreal moment: Just before lunch I had the privilege of meeting Gian Paolo Bassi. I was accepting a drone on behalf of one of the UK SolidWorks User Group NW members, who won it at our last meeting.


Clare Phythian - Renishaw

My colleague Robin Weston and I joined the event on the Wednesday evening for the pre-conference get together.

The D3D Live team were perfect hosts, we were introduced to and chatted with MAS Design Products, Carbon3D, IPF and Onshape.

Staying on site really helped maximise our time. Even just walking over to the Arts Centre, on the Thursday morning, allowed the good fortune for us to be joined by Sarah Giblin, RiutBag creator.

Six of the Renishaw team attended the conference and I believe we all came away with a positive experience, from being inspired by intelligent and informative talks to seeing the latest exhibits and making valuable contacts.

Prior to and throughout, the D3D team were there and straight on it with answers to queries and solutions for any changes we required as sponsors. Great collaboration and an all-round excellent 24hrs. The 31st March 2016 is fixed in my diary.

Highs: Rising star and amazing creative talent, Dominic Wilcox’s inspirational and captivating talk, Martyn Day’s witty opening welcome with the Renishaw/Empire bike and then watching colleague David Ewing take the stage and nail Q&As.

Lows: What lows?

Most surreal moment: Being introduced to inventor and engineering legend Mark Sanders having studied his work.


Mark Sanders - MAS Design Products

As previous D3D Lives, this is one of my design ‘brain feeds’ of the year: there is almost too much fascinating information to feed on.

Thank goodness the talks are all video’ed for later snacks. The overall impression I got is that the CAD industry is finally waking up to realise that user experience is king – gone are the days when users were grateful for simple improvements to their CAD systems (such as the ability to draw a line from its centre).

Today, just as we aim to make our product designs state-of-the-art and a total delight for our end users, we want our CAD design tools to do the same. And not just for big auto and aero with thousands of seats, but for every user.

This year’s exciting new and disruptive CAD products such as OnShape are showing the rest of the industry that end users expect more. Such competition will mean that one man bands such as myself may finally get all the tools that big auto and aero use at a fair price and with interfaces that don’t make ‘a monkey’ of us.

Highs: Mingling with CAD legends such as Jon Hirschtick, Mike Payne, Carl Bass and Gian Paolo Bassi.

Lows: Having to miss some overlapping talks.

Most surreal moment: Unexpected offer to ask a question during the panel session. I asked “Why are CAD companion products not included in main CAD?” and then watched some squirming.


Mike Watkins - Autodesk

This was my fourth year at DEVELOP3D Live and I can honestly say that this event has grown into something huge.

Where else can you go and see everyone in our industry all in the same place and the respective CEO’s sharing the main stage? “Epic”, as my kids would say.

Even though Autodesk had a stand, it’s unlike any other conference in that we all still found time to share ideas and network with all other vendors at the show. It’s amazing really what you can learn just by doing one circuit of the exhibition halls.

The highlight for me is the quality of presenters. There is no ‘death by powerpoint’ – they are always informative and on the money. I’m looking forward to next year.

Highs: ‘Accidentally’ handing out free Fusion 360 Ultimate subscriptions to everyone in the Onshape room.

Lows: Realising that most of the Onshape team did not find it funny.

Most surreal moment: Being sober for the actual conference and having a grown up conversation with Al over coffee.


Kevin Quigley - Quigley Design

This was my fourth Develop3D Live, but the first time I had stayed the night before for the networking event – and what a great night it was, finally meeting so many people I’ve “known” for years via social media.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dominic Wilcox’s opening keynote – very different to previous years, and very entertaining. I spent the morning in the keynote track, which was particularly strong this year, then hopped around the exhibition area and different tracks in the afternoon.

One of the joys of DEVELOP3D Live is that you get side tracked into conversations you didn’t anticipate.

Mark Shayler’s blockbuster finale (always entertaining, always thought provoking and always in great shoes) and the welcome return of the panel discussion, which I have to say was the best yet, completed another fantastic event at a great venue.

Highs: Witnessing two CEOs at the very top of their game, Carl Bass and Jon Hirschtick, outlining future plans..

Lows: Missing Mark Sanders’ talk.

Most surreal moment: Walking back from the networking event at 1am and being approached by a guy in a dark pathway. “Tell me how to get to Liverpool”, he said. “Go up there, then right, then left, then straight on”, I said. And off he staggered. I wonder if he made it.


Sarah Giblin - Riut

I was invited to talk to some of the most experienced designers on the planet about…design.

The design of my creation – the RiutBag rucksack – to be exact. Yes, my heart was thumping when I went up on stage.

Highs: It feels like there’s a real desire to get strategy right in your industry, even radically, so a desire to win long term battles and yet respond to new directions that are breaking out in the short term too.

There was a serious buzz of friendly rivalry, competition, knowledge and care. It was a pleasure to behold.

I told everyone who came to the start-up theatre that they need to revolve their thinking around the user. This might just lead to the production of radically different products. Revolution in user thinking (Riut) is my mantra. It also describes my first ever creation, the RiutBag.

The audience was fantastic. They had so many great questions and interest in the project. It’s been a party on social media ever since!

Lows: No lows.

Most surreal moment: When asked during my talk how I modelled my creation, I said I just wore it myself. Confusion reigned until we realised what was going on.

I didn’t use software to design the RiutBag. The sketches I drew have been PDFed but that’s as far as it’s gone. I’ve blogged about my design process on the website www.riut.co.uk/blog/ to prove that I’m not kidding.


Jon Hirschtick - Onshape

The DEVELOP3D team did it again! A fantastic event.

The main reason is the quality and energy of the attendees. That’s why we chose DEVELOP3D Live as the first live event to show Onshape publicly and we could not have dreamed of a better response.

We were talking CAD nonstop from the day before the show until the drive away. It’s also great to talk to people about their product design process, 3D printing, design education, and all sorts of topics beyond CAD.

I managed to squeeze in time to catch some of the other speakers. Dominic Wilcox – wow! What a creative guy and in true DEVELOP3D style, not just informative but highly entertaining.

The DEVELOP3D sense of humour and fun seems to pervade everything at the event from the keynote speeches to the bar.

Highs: Opening up our exhibit in the morning and showing Onshape live for the first time ever. Having crowds visiting with us all day.

Lows: Could not possibly see all the speakers and exhibits I would have wanted to. Only having time for brief hellos with old friends.

Most surreal moment:
After many years of work I finally did my first-ever Onshape live demo in front of a crowd during my keynote, CADing in a browser and on my iPhone using the event’s wi-fi.


Mike Harvey - Amalgam Modelmaking

I have attended all four Develop3D Live events and each has exceeded the last in both size and quality, so much so that I wonder how long before it out-grows the existing venue – which would be a shame as the Warwick Arts Centre is just the right size to give an intimate feeling while being big enough to include a lot of relevant and interesting content.

I’m never the first to arrive, which does make parking a problem, however, once that frustration is overcome, a cup of free coffee while deciding where to start allows me to gather my thoughts while nodding to a few familiar faces.

Half an hour in, and a lot more information later, off to find Lloyd Pennington who was sadly there without his new CNC machine as he had made the wise if difficult decision not to rush things. Then a catch-up with SYS, who supplied our Objet system, followed by a chance to see Markforged’s Mark One Composite printer – and some sample parts.

Then lunch, a very good presentation by Mark Sanders and a tour of the trade stands saying hi to old friends and making some new acquaintances. And before I knew it another D3D Live was over.

Highs: Why catching up with Tanya Weaver of course.

Lows: Getting parked.

Most surreal moment: Listening to Mark Sanders’ thoughts on IP and realising we were in total (almost word for word) agreement.

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