Develop3D Live 2014 report

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It’s hard to believe that DEVELOP3D LIVE is only in its third year. As soon as one is completed, the next is being planned.

It has become something that is ever-present in the minds of the DEVELOP3D editorial team, as we travel about to industry events noting the best, most interesting speakers and ensuring we have their details to try and get them to talk at our event held at the Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University.

DEVELOP3D LIVE was conceived in a lunchtime discussion with industry perennials, Rob Jamieson of AMD FirePro and Richard Thwaites of DELL Workstations; lamenting the days of the big CAD shows back in the 80s and 90s, where there was faceto-face contact and a chance to get hands on with the technology.

To be honest we needed some convincing, as we thought that people would be too busy to spend a day at a conference and exhibition. How wrong we were.

Our first year attracted under 500, our third year, well over 1,000. It has grown from around 30 exhibitors to over 60 and we still cram in Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) tours, training and 30 plus speakers in the seven hours of the conference day.

The packed morning session


I can honestly say that DEVELOP3D LIVE is like no other event on the planet, it’s an intense experience, celebrating all aspects of design technology with opinions from expert customers and innovations from the tool developers.


So far, with each event we have tried to change the day’s schedule to offer the broadest range of topics in our four simultaneous tracks. Our first year admittedly did seem more scatter-gun in planning.

Lots of 3D printed goodies around

The second year we thought that by grouping similar presentations in one hour sessions we would limit the need for delegates to move about so much but this didn’t prove to help that.

So for 2014 we decided to simplify and hold a day long product design session and a similar day long make/3D print session. These were backed up with a morning of high-end design visualisation, and an afternoon of hardware.

From early feedback these simplified tracks were appreciated by the delegates – with many firms bringing multiple people to cover all the simultaneous rooms.


As usual, we kicked off DEVELOP3D LIVE with a dual keynote session, with all delegates in the main stage.

This year we had Daniel Simon of Cosmic Motors and Al Peasland of Infiniti Red Bull racing. A double bill which certainly excited our automotive readers, bringing in a fantastic spread of designers and engineers from UK automotive firms.

Daniel Simon book signing

Simon is probably one of the best known concept vehicle designers who rarely gets anything actually built, however you are guaranteed to have seen some of his designs if you have visited a cinema in the last five years. His credits include Tron: Legacy, Oblivion and Captain America.

As our first speaker, Simon blew the audience away with his incredible renderings and designs. We also hosted a book signing, which was scheduled to last an hour – but it went on for over five and we sold all of the ‘Timeless Racer’ books that were in stock in the UK!

While Simon would have been a hard act to follow for anyone, Al Peasland didn’t disappoint. The sheer pace of design and quality of engineering left you gasping. The Infiniti Red Bull Team are at the cutting edge of automotive technology and have to completely redesign a car each year to stringent rules, requiring innovation and impressive use of 3D design tools.

Topic-based talks

The event splits into four simultaneous rooms the keynote mainstage is where where delegates can learn what the mainstream tool developers are up to.

In 2014 we had another stellar lineup featuring Bertrand Sicot, CEO of SolidWorks, followed by Robert Kross, senior VP of design, lifecycle and simulation at Autodesk, and Andy Rhodes, executive director worldwide of DELL Precision Workstations.

Autodesk’s Robert Kross

In the afternoon Justin Hendrickson, SpaceClaim’s head of product management, stood in for Chris Randles who could not make the event at the last minute – the news that Ansys had just acquired them, we now understand was probably the reason for the change!

Next up was Karsten Newbury, SVP of mainstream engineering at Siemens PLM Software, then Jim Hassberger, president of SolidThinking, and lastly Hardi Meybaum, CEO of GrabCAD – for whom we also held a book signing of his book – The Art of Product Design: Changing How Things Get Made – which also proved exceptionally popular.

GrabCAD’s Hardi Meybaum signs his book

We held a joint end session and had Dr Ben Wood of WMG give a talk looking at funding for SMEs and how WMG can help with access to research funding. Judging from the delegates that queued up to exchange contact details, his talk certainly struck a chord.

Finally it was prize time, where we gave away graphics cards and a trip for two to the Monza F1.

My task that morning was to chair the design visualiszation sessions. We had Paul Siodmok of Integer, Keith Jeffery of Taylor James, Dave Forrester of Lightworks and Thiago de Costa of Lagoa. All provided great eye candy and the Q&A ended with Thiago talking in-depth about nuclear power plant simulation with one of our delegates, as you do!


DEVELOP3D LIVE would not be complete without the exhibition area which has expanded to overtake the whole of the Warwick Arts Centre.

This year we added a new Studio room, where we housed a massive Virtalis immersive VR wall and Fuel3D face scanning.

Virtalis immersive VR

As this is the year of the 3D printer, we had Envisontec and Stratysys demonstrating some giant new 3D printers and in the Mead Gallery, Dell and Autodesk had Makerbot 3D printers running all day.

On the Mezzanine Ansys proved a real crowd pleaser with a competitive F1 driving game and Daniel Simon managed to keep things busy with a five hour book signing queue. Everyone got a personal drawing, signature and selfie with the man.


We have asked a few of those who came (click here to view) for the day to give us their views on what they saw and heard at the event.

The DELL/AMD video wall

In general it seems to have been the most appreciated DEVELOP3D LIVE to date. We certainly had an unbeatable line up.

Work has already started on 2015, which looks at the moment to be towards the end of March next year. Now I am left thinking how on earth can we top this year? We aren’t sure, but we sure will try!

Speaker videos online

As is always the case, you can’t be everywhere at DEVELOP3D LIVE, so like so many attendees I will have to wait for the videos of the talks to be uploaded to the website, which should be happening in the next few weeks.

We will not be able to show all of the presentations, as many had company confidential information but keep checking back as we load them over the summer. We will be announcing each upload on both the and websites as well as via twitter.

We look back at DEVELOP3D Live, an event that grew again and delivered the goods

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