Getting personal

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David Burnett – David Burnett Design

Although this is only its second year, Develop3D Live is building quite a following.

The keynote speech by Ping Fu challenged the notion that 3D printing is hype – she said “How can it be when it has been around for nearly 30 years?” She illustrated her talk with examples that included personalised prosthetics and turbine blades, while wearing an elegant 3D printed shawl.

David Burnett

Later, Al Dean quickly dispelled the idea of the home 3D photocopier by showing us his entry level 3D printer. We then returned to the serious side of 3D printing reality – when is it going to have an impact on traditional manufacturing, or is traditional CNC better, or is individualisation the way forward for 3D printing?

I found the discussions informative and thought provoking. My conclusion: there are a ton of prototyping and rapid manufacturing options out there for designers, so it is best not to go the home 3D photocopier route, at least for now.

Highs: Bumping into friends I had not seen in a while.

Lows: I was hoping to see a Raspberry Pi, or eat a raspberry pie, but my hopes were dashed. Perhaps that is a different sort of conference.


Most surreal moment: During the sustainability lecture I felt as though I was back at university. I have been surprised by the lack of action in this area over the last decade so it was great to see new developments.

Gustavo Fontana – Designer

After having the privilege of attending twice now, Develop3D Live is really beginning to feel like a great community for designers, engineers and those patient people making tools and toys for our craft.

In this second time around not only was the event larger and more exciting but it was also a great chance to reconnect with folks again. I cannot think of any other conference where the worlds of design, product development and tools for our crafts are so well meshed together.


I found it refreshing to hear some of the discussions on the new-breed of CAD tools that are more focused on design. I feel like the software vendors are almost starting to get it. Being present, involved and in touch with us at events like these will definitely help them get there faster.

Highs: Hallway discussions with other folks in our industry, supported by pretty good coffee.

Lows: One day only is too short and being really picky, no gluten free food.

Most surreal moment: Talking in person and not being limited to 140 characters to many twitter-jerking friends. Always refreshing to see they are all super awesome in real life.

Hannah Devoy – Fourth Day PR

I get to visit lots of trade shows, exhibitions and conferences as part of my job, but I have rarely been to one that I personally found so interesting from start to finish! I can honestly say I enjoyed every second – from the pre-party the night before, right through to the end of the show.

It was a good size – without being overwhelming – with an impressive range of exhibitors and the industry’s best speakers.

The 3D printing and prototyping session was my personal favourite, particularly Phil Reeve’s talk, cutting through the hype and discussing what the future really holds for the technology.

Hanna Devoy

We met so many great people and there was a real sense of excitement, which was wonderful to be a part of. I can’t wait to see what the next Develop3D Live has in store – it’ll definitely be one not to miss.

Highs: Meeting everyone at the pre-party and the great opportunity for networking; the excellent range of speakers!

Lows: Crashing at around 5pm after not enough sleep and far too much coffee.

Most surreal moment: Getting a bit star struck in the bar, meeting people I’d only ever heard or read about before – all the more surreal when you’ve had a drink or two…

Laurence Marks – Strategic Simulation & Analysis

It was a full Develop3D Live package again this year as I was both speaking and exhibiting.

The first thing that was immediately evident was the increased scale this year – more exhibition space, more speakers and obviously more people. Its really getting into its stride and finding its own identity.

Apart from the opportunity to pick up leads, of which there were more than enough to justify the cost of the stand, the event was the best networking event I’ve been to for many years. As the supplier of what, to a greater or lesser extent, are niche software products and services, networking is a critical activity.

Lawrence Marks

And for the last couple of years my Develop3D talk has been a fantastic opportunity to work on what our message as a company is, and how to present it to an audience that may have a different world view from our own.

Highs: Jon Hirschtick using one of my animations in his presentation.

Lows: Jon Hirschtick and Carl Bass attracting all the potential attendees away from my presentation. Roland not selling me their new CNC paper cutter there and then – I even offered cash. Apparently it was the only one they had in the UK.

Most surreal moment: Asking Al Dean if he was really going to present in what looked, for all the world, like a Motorhead T shirt. He did…

Rob Jamieson – AMD FirePro

Learning my lesson from last year’s drinks reception the night before Develop3D Live and all the cheap white wine on sale, I took it easy this year as I knew I had to be up very early to set up a presentation laptop and make sure our stand was working.

On the day there was so much I wanted to see and people I needed to talk to. But before I knew it, I’d seen three bits of presentations, had four meetings and missed the lunch.

Greg Corke and I were presenting together next, a first time on stage for him.

We presented to a small but interested audience and Greg is great presenter. There were lots of questions, which is always good feedback that you have hit the right spot.

Rob Jamieson

I got to then see 15 minutes of another presentation, then another two meetings and it was all over. It felt a bit like speed dating. Although I missed most of it, I really did some good business and had a nice flavour of content, about real subjects and not too much corporate positioning. Success then!

Highs: Watching Martyn relax once it got going.

Lows: Missing my son’s first birthday.

Most surreal moment: Seeing Al sober at a drinks gathering!

Nick Harvey – Product Resolutions

Despite my best efforts, I unfortunately missed Ping Fu’s keynote (I’ll catch it online later) but thankfully there were still plenty of talks to be seen.

Very crafty of Al Dean to put his talk on at the same time as Tom Lawton’s, but I stuck to my guns and sat almost front row, for moral support of course, to hear him talk about his 3D printing trials and tribulations – we now have the Up! on loan.

Nick Harvey

Generally I thought the show was very well organised and there was lots to see and do. However, as a product designer I would like to see a bit more tailored for ‘me’ – more hands on sessions/equipment and more product design focused speakers/talks.

It was great to be able to catch up with my peers, something that’s usually reserved for Twitter, and meet some new ones – I don’t really do the trade show thing, but this event is a must.

Highs: Catching up with the D3D gang – what a great bunch of people they are! Oh and also listening, in between chuckling, at Brad Peebler’s talk.

Lows: Not being able to see all the talks I wanted to, whether due to them being on at the same time, others over running or just chatting to the D3D team or speakers. Plus NOT winning any competitions.

Most surreal moment: Turning up to the #D3DTweetup only to find myself, Mike Willshaw, Stephen Holmes and Captain Morgan [rum] – sadly I was driving!

Phil Reeves – Econolyst

Spending most of my life attending additive manufacturing and 3D printing conferences, Develop3D Live was a breath of much needed fresh air. It was great to see all that is new at the front end of the digital data supply chain, from new CAD and scanning technologies, through to amazing rendering and graphics.

Of course there was also a healthy smattering of those pesky 3D printing machines – they do get everywhere.

I loved the slightly anarchic organisation (no offence guys – you did great).

Phil Reeves

The exhibition was like an adult version of Lego land. You think you have seen everything, then you turn a corner, drop down a few steps and a whole new part of the theme park comes into view. What at first seemed like an odd venue – was in fact a great venue – roll on 2014.

Highs: I loved the presentation by Brad Peebler from The Foundry – anyone who can base a whole presentation on faeces gets my vote. It was entertaining and enlightening – not at all shit!

Lows: Parallel sessions – I hate them. They make conferences like busses, not much happens for a while then all of a sudden three things come along all at once.

Most surreal moment: I was the moderator for the session I spoke in. It’s pretty weird introducing yourself, but it’s downright surreal when you have to think about asking yourself questions at the end.

Al Dean – Develop3D

After last year’s event, I think the whole Develop3D team were on tenterhooks for the two months running up to this year’s event.

Would the same number of people show up and would they find it interesting or would we be sat around a table in a cavernous Warwick Arts Centre without much to do.

Turns out, more than twice the number of you lovely people came along, saw something interesting and hopefully fancy coming back.

Al Dean

We tried to get a good spread of speakers and it was gratifying to see so many folks, some who had travelled a fair old distance, turn up. Many are old friends we’d not seen in some time, but it’s always good to catch up with people, see what they’ve been up to.

Highs: Realising that no one walked out during the 3D printing and prototyping session, wangling in a Wu Tang Clan quote in my presentation and and I also greatly enjoyed people trying to work out where Gustavo is actually from. I first met him in the back of a cab in Mexico, so I’m none the wiser either. The man is an enigma.

Lows: Looking up before my presentation, seeing a lecture theatre full of expectant faces and wondering if I’d done the right thing.

Most surreal moment: Talking to Jon Hirschtick, Richard from Autodesk and Mark Sanders, all of whom are well over six feet tall, and feeling like I was in the headmaster’s office.

DEVELOP3D LIVE 2013 – how was it for you?

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