DEVELOP3D LIVE 2012 – event report

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It is not every day that we get to write about our own event, perhaps not surprisingly given this was our first!

To generate the monthly editorial that you read in the magazine we spend a lot of our time attending other firm’s events all over the globe and we meet great speakers and hear interesting opinions.

DEVELOP3D LIVE came out of an observation that the UK doesn’t have many free or open design-centric or CAD-based engineering events anymore.

Given that manufacturing is in the ascendency, both in terms of GDP contribution and in the government’s agenda, friends at Dell and AMD felt that our standing in the industry put us in a good position to pull together some great speakers. And thus, last year our journey started!


Warwick University was chosen for many reasons i) it was in the Midlands, ii) it had great facilities iii) it had exemplary manufacturing credentials and iv) it had capacity for the numbers we were expecting.

In the course of producing the magazine we befriend lots of inspirational designers and engineers and know a good story when we hear one.

We weren’t short on possible speakers and, from the length of our initial list, we probably could have held the event over a week! We were overwhelmed with support from firms like PTC (David Blair, VP of product management) Autodesk (Kevin Schneider, senior product line manager, emerging product and technology) and SpaceClaim (co-founder Blake Courter) that were willing to fly out top executives from their head offices in the USA.

Siemens PLM also brought European expertise (Mark Barrow, NX business development) and liaised with space-research expert Piyal Samara-Rana from the University of Leicester.

With 3D printing now really exploding at the low-end and rapid manufacture much more of a reality we also asked a number of key players to talk, together with users who have successfully deployed 3D printers, as well as 5-axis machining, into their workflows.

While the tools are important, we get inspired by the people who use them to create wonderful designs, so we were elated to persuade an eclectic bunch of speakers to present, covering everything from toys to satellites.

Our day had two rooms for talks, although there were no specific themed tracks as such. This led to a diverse mix of talks happening in both auditoriums.

Jason Lopes from Legacy Effects in Hollywood started the event with a brilliant presentation on how his firm uses design technology and rapid manufacturing to conceptualise and deliver stunning effects, as seen in films like Iron Man, Terminator and Avatar. He brought the Iron Man mask, which went down well with the crowd.

Kevin Schneider of Autodesk then lifted the lid on Autodesk development work on its direct modeller, Fusion, giving attendees an exclusive preview of what kinds of tools are coming in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, in the other stream, AMD’s Rob Jamieson shared his experiences of workstation tuning and optimisation with plenty of practical tips.

MakieLab’s CEO, Alice Taylor, gave a masterclass in innovative design and mass customisation with her company’s forthcoming 3D printed doll, which was featured on the cover of DEVELOP3D March.

Harnessing the power of CAD and engineers, Hardi Meybaum of GrabCAD explained how, through his website, engineers are able to advertise their skills, enter competitions, share models, find jobs and even make money.

Described as ‘the designer’s designer’, it was a thrill to welcome Mark Sanders of MAS to the stage, with a slew of folding bikes and kitchen products. Mark’s experiences in commercialising his ideas and combating Chinese copies was a real eye-opener.

New DEVELOP3D contributor and head of sustainability at design guru Seymourpowell, Chris Sherwin, then gave an insight into what sustainability really means to designers.

Long time friend of Develop3D, the irreverent and highly talented Gustavo Fontana of Bose presented on how he uses a whole range of tools to create multiple variants of designs. Using whatever means to get the best results.

Late afternoon, we rounded up a number of our speakers — Rob Jamieson (AMD), Brad Peebler (Luxology), Blake Courter (SpaceClaim), Steve Rosendale (PTC) and Kevin Schneider (Autodesk) for a panel discussion on a selection of topics — direct modelling, moving from Windows XP, the Cloud and this convergence of technologies that are bringing exciting new tools and capabilities to designers today.

And then to close the event, AMD’s Mark Andrews and Dell’s Rik Thwaites presented some fantastic prizes to five lucky attendees.

DEVELOP3D Live online

We had many emails from people that had registered but couldn’t make it, or those that did make it and wondered if the materials would be available online.

We have recorded all the sessions and plan to make these available on in the coming weeks.

During the event our editorial team were also digging a little deeper with some one-on-one interviews with the speakers, which will be also added to the site.

We are also looking forward to seeing these, as we had such a busy time that we didn’t get to see as many of the presentations as we would have liked!

Closing thoughts

The immediate positivity that the day generated from delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors really blew us away.

There was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the day, particularly in the exhibition space, where delegates were getting hands on with lots of exciting new technologies.

We really appreciate everyone making such long journeys to get to the event.

And a big thank you to our key sponsors Dell and AMD for having faith in us to pull it off , plus our Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors for helping make it possible.

Also the Warwick Manufacturing Group for putting on such a fantastic tour and accommodating all those extra people last minute.

The great news is that DEVELOP3D LIVE 2013 is already being planned! Bigger and better! And we’ve already had some excellent feedback on how we can do that.

As it was our first event we were bound to make some mistakes, our first being that we gave ourselves too much to do on the day so there wasn’t as much time to meet everyone or see all the presentations.

We will also look into offering low cost accommodation for delegates who need to travel far or want to attend an evening event before the main day. Also, one of our speakers, Tom Kurke of Geomagic pulled out two days before the event due to unforeseen circumstances. Apologies to those that wanted to see his presentation.

The good news is that Tom has offered to video his talk and send it to us. This will also appear next month on

As a team we would like to thank everyone that made the effort to come along and all those that wrote to us telling what a great time they had. We did too and now it’s official — see you next year!

A celebration of design and engineering

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