SolidWorks World, the expo for all things CAD (specifically, SolidWorks), will open its doors on January 26th. With the out and open marriage between 3D modelling and 3D printing more visible than ever, we’re likely to see some interesting developments in the world of additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping, including news from one of the industry’s top dogs.
Located in San Diego, CA, the expo will feature a number of companies that regularly use 3D printing, with presenters tying the technology more heavily to the modelling side of things. A representative from the biggest name in guitars, Fender, will explain how SolidWorks has been used for the design and subsequent 3D printing of prototypes of their world famous guitars. DriveWorks Ltd. has hinted at an interesting 3D printing application that will be on display at the event, saying, “We set up our very own custom 3D-printed and fully automated DriveWorks furniture project.” To most fans of 3D printing, the very mention of “automation” in the same breath as “3D printing” is music to their ears. How their lecture, titled “3D Printing and Design Automation—A Marriage Made in Heaven?” actually plays out, though, is another story.
We’ll also hear from Eric Flynn, of the College of Technology, who will tell the story of how he and his community college students created a low-cost prototype automobile in 12 weeks with the help of rapid prototyping. 3D scanning and 3D interfaces will likely show a good deal of 3D printing applications, including a talk from Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation that will discuss gesture-based control systems. Then, of course, there will be a long list of speakers on the topic of 3D modelling.
Aside from the various speakers at the event, 3D printing will have a small presence in the exhibition hall with Stratasys and MakerBot situating themselves next to 3D scanner vendor, Rapid Scan; scanner and miller manufacturer, Roland DGA; and a mysterious company called MarkForged. Stratasys has hinted that they have a big announcement coming at the event, specifically at their press conference on the 26th January. As it takes place at SolidWorks World, I wonder if it might involve modelling software… although Rachel has altogether different ideas about what it may be. I guess we’ll find out a week Sunday.