DEVELOP3D LIVE 2017 Show Report

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Martyn Day welcoming attendees to DEVELOP3D LIVE 2017 in the opening session, Dustin Brown, senior industrial lead at Microsoft followed by Sandy Boyes, chief designer – Interiors at Jaguar Design

When we started our product design magazine, we never had the intention of moving to doing conferences. In fact, we had to be cajoled into it by industry friends to address the void that had been created by software vendors pursuing singular tribal conferences, based around product, as opposed to open multi-vendor, industry and process events.

Now in its sixth year, our annual celebration of all things in the design technology world continues to grow and reach new audiences. Combined with a new national and political focus on manufacturing and engineering, we are glad to be doing our bit to promote the amazing and inspiring product creativity, industrial design and engineering that happens in the UK and abroad.

DEVELOP3D LIVE is like a big firework, it spends months in development – organising the 70 exhibitors, 43 speakers, 4 tracks and hands on areas, let alone the more mundane organisation such as video, IT infrastructure, travel, bags, badges, web and catering requirements – and then it explodes, and sparkles for over 8 hours!

However, unlike a firework, DEVELOP3D LIVE always lives on, with all the connections to be made face to face at the show and it generates over 20 hours of video presentations covering a wide range of topics, which we upload for all to see and use as reference.

We now have well over 100 videos online that can be viewed here.


Engaged visitors at the VERO stand – SolidWorks CEO Gian Paolo Bassi on the main stage discussing Computer Augmented Design – Artec 3D had a busy day exhibiting its 3D scanners

Main stage

This year’s main stage offered its usual eclectic mix of speakers, headlined by Jaguar Land Rover and Microsoft – the software company that now makes beautiful hardware. Both speakers gave fascinating insights into their design experiences, their processes and tools.

Next up were the key CAD vendors – PTC, Siemens, Autodesk, SolidWorks and Onshape. There is no other conference where you will find these competitors speaking back to back about their planned key product developments and how they see product design changing and adopting new capabilities.

If you want a snapshot of the CAD market in a morning, this is the session to attend.

The afternoon sessions tend to be more eclectic and this year we had a great talk about on-demand engineering learning from Andy Rahden of Plurasight, and a talk on how simulation can benefit 3D printing strategies.

Fun with VR headsets – Andy Rahden of Pluralsight took to the main stage in the afternoon

With digitisation, the construction industry is becoming slowly more like the manufacturing industry and we had Dr Jonathan Ingram on hand, a civil engineer and computer scientist who created the first true 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems – Sonata and Reflex – for the construction industry and contributed in varying degrees to subsequent systems.

Tony Grey of SolidThinking gets the DEVELOP3D purple heart for making it through his talk despite having the dreaded lurgy and very little voice to spare!

Last but not least on the main stage was Chris Cheung of Mighty Mouse who brought his boundless energy, observation and some fabulous unique commissioned artwork to his thought provoking presentation on scale and the dynamic market for accessing highly skilled people.

Focussed sessions

After the keynote speakers in the morning, all hell breaks loose, as we have four rooms running parallel sessions, plus the busy exhibition.

The morning featured a stream on Product Development and then another on 3D Print / Materials, with the afternoon carrying on with more product design related topics and a very lively Start-Up session, hosted by Chris Cheung.

Where else could you hear from JCB, Kickstarter, Speedo, Markforged, Renishaw, an international IP lawyer, Innovate UK, Stratasys, Foundry, a satellite designer and someone that adds smells to VR experiences? Only at DEVELOP3D!

The other track that ran all day was Design Visualisation / VR / AR, which we admit was an especially packed schedule, with 14 speakers in the day – including HTC, Microsoft, Porsche from Germany , AMD, GravitySketch, Zerolight, Chaos Group, Soluis, Lightworks, Rapid Images – and it was standing room only for most of the them.

This year Siemens PLM Software gave its stand over to the Greenpower Education Trust, which showcased the Greenpower Electric Car Challenge -The VR panel discussion at the end of the day – Chris Cheung, founder of Mighty Dynamo, rounded the day off with an inspiring and thought provoking talk

Virtual Reality

Our final panel session on the main stage reflected what had become an obviously emerging theme as we planned the 2017 event.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are quickly becoming design reality. With relatively low cost entry and the fact that we already have years of 3D models, it’s a natural adoption for firms looking to review and experience their products on a large scale, prior to prototyping.

As we had so much talent from across the planet at Warwick that day, it would have been a wasted opportunity not to get some of the speakers from the Design Visualisation /VR / AR together for a discussion at the end. Unlike 3D printing, which captured the imagination of the masses and created a fake bubble that everyone would like a personal 3D printer, VR/ AR has already gone through that hype process and under-delivered in the 80s. This technology is now ripe for use in all sorts of design processes.

Additionally, throughout the exhibition area, there were many hands-on VR experiences with Dell/ Siemens even combining their technologies to enable visitors to experience immediately what they had designed – a possible world first.

Develop3D Live 2017 exhibition halls – Warwick Arts Centre


We are uploading some of the videos from the event to the Develop3D Live site currently. There were 18 at last count, more will follow over the coming months.

Those that registered will be notified when content is added. If you haven’t done so, you can here.:

In the opening to this article I talked about how we want to popularise engineering and product design, and the capturing and storing of these videos is an essential part of that. However, we also broadcast the main stage live, and on delays for our global readers.

This year we had an increase in viewing of 15 times, with more than 25,000 people logging in, with over 3,500 online watching at any one time. We can only take from this that there is massive interest in product creation and that big brands such as Microsoft and Jaguar Land Rover appeal to the masses, just as Ikea did last year.

Develop3D Live 2017 exhibition halls – Warwick Arts Centre

Next year

We have a venue and a date! We will be back at Warwick Arts Centre on 20 March 2018 and planning has started, so please add the date to your diary.

For those of you that came and found there were issues finding parking, logistics is our top priority for next year. A survey will be going out shortly to get more feedback to somehow make 2018 event better.

Chaos Group has a number of give aways for some lucky delegates

A rendering of a bicycle using V-Ray by Chaos Group

Chaos Group gave away a one year licence of V-Ray renderer with a VRscans library licence, together with five 1-year VRscans licences plus subscription.

We didn’t have time at the show to announce the winners, so we are announcing them here.

First Prize of a 1-year V-Ray license of Choice and 1-year VRscans license + Subscription goes to Ben Hurst, Meshcanics

Runners-up get a 1-year VRscans license + Subscription. They are:
Gary Manns, Swift Leisure
Rob Mitchell, Visario
Raymond NG, Alloy Ltd
Sam Lowery, DW Windsor
Paul Deakin, Eye Site View

We look back at our biggest, most exciting live event yet

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