Recap: SolidWorks World 2018, L.A.

SolidWorks World 2018 kicked off last week in Los Angeles, and Ultimaker was excited to be a part of the show. Featuring over 5,000 attendees and over 200 sessions with industry leaders, the event was bustling with SolidWorks users, tech-focused brands, entrepreneurs, educators, and designers of all experience levels.

Over the course of the 3-day event, CAD engineers, designers, vendors, and industry experts converged in the Los Angeles Convention Center for the 20th year of Solidworks World. The Ultimaker team welcomed an array of visitors to booth #729 in the Partner Pavilion who were eager to see our innovative solutions and materials options.

Kirk and Peter at Ultimaker booth
Ultimaker team members at the SOLIDWORKS World 2018 booth

While some booth visitors were unfamiliar with 3D printing, many were experienced and understood the value that additive manufacturing can bring to product design and development. Ultimaker Application Engineer Peter Ho recognized that a lot of the booth guests were already familiar with the reliability and ease of use Ultimaker brings to the table. “Many visitors to our booth currently have a different type of FDM 3D printer that they were not happy with and were interested in upgrading to an Ultimaker,” he said.

Standing out with quality samples

Ultimaker was also featured in one of the opening keynote speeches and had a presence in a few partner booths. “Ultimaker stood out in a sea of vendors at SolidWorks World because of our solid presence,” Peter explained, “and because of visitors seeking us out from good word-of-mouth recognition throughout the event.”

3D printed samples
3D printed samples at the Ultimaker booth

While sample prints grabbed the attention of wandering visitors, guests were particularly excited to see the different materials that Ultimaker offers, such as TPU95A and Polypropylene. Many were also intrigued by examples of complex geometry made possible by water-soluble PVA support material and the clean surfaces left behind when using Breakaway support material in dual extrusion. Always impressive, the quality of the higher resolution prints on display in our booth caught the eye of those interested in printing production-ready parts and prototypes.

Matt Griffin, Director of Community at Ultimaker North America, was on hand with copies of his helpful SolidWorks reference sheet. Created by Matt in early 2017, the reference sheet is a collection of best practices from SolidWorks users for mesh export, tips and tricks for Ultimaker Cura operation, Ultimaker materials technical data, and also introduces the Ultimaker Cura SolidWorks plugin.

SOLIDWORKS reference sheets
SOLIDWORKS reference sheets

“SolidWorks World brings together the best and the brightest of the professional CAD community for exchanging new ideas, techniques, and tools,” Matt says. “For some of these experts who visited our booth, desktop 3D printing has just now reached a level of precision, reliability, and usefulness thanks to the rapid evolution of Ultimaker Cura, a range of Ultimaker 3 print cores, engineering materials, and in particular water-soluble and breakaway support material."

These tools give designers and creators the freedom to create a physical snapshot of their work in progress without requiring ‘design for desktop 3D printing’ mastery of overhangs, orientation, and slicing.

The rise of digital manufacturing in 3D printing

President of Ultimaker North America, John Kawola, was featured in a breakout session about the “Rise of Digital Manufacturing in 3D Printing and New Roles for Professional Desktop 3D Printing within Manufacturing.” John presented SolidWorks World attendees with customer case studies that explored the relationship between 3D printing, manufacturing, and assembly, such as Volkswagen Autoeuropa’s usage of Ultimaker 3D printers to create time and money-saving tools, jigs, and fixtures. John’s session within the SolidWorks Additive Manufacturing Symposium intrigued a number of attendees who were able to grab a copy of our Volkswagen brochure, as well as learn about other case studies from Honeybee Robotics and Farmshelf.

John Kawola speaking
John speaking at SolidWorks World 2018

“We are big believers that from an adoption and disruption point of view, there are lots of great technologies that are being developed, lots of new materials, lots of interesting things," John said in his talk. "But we think cost and access are the real drivers here.” He delved further into the importance of delivering accessible, cost-efficient 3D printing solutions for prototyping and manufacturing, underscoring the strides being made in technology today.

On day three of the event, Ultimaker was announced as one of three machines featured in the new SolidWorks World Wide Certification Program, announced by Senior Manager Michael Puckett. "The new Additive Manufacturing Associate exam is meant to be an introductory certification for makers and professionals," Michael said during his General Session presentation. The 3D printing program covers the basics of 3D printer hardware, printing methods, materials, and software tools, and will be available in early April.

Ultimaker printers at SOLIDWORKS World
Ultimaker printers at SolidWorks World 2018

Over the course of SolidWorks World 2018, guests were excited to learn how our comprehensive offerings—Ultimaker Cura software, engineering materials with pre-configured printing profiles, and highly-responsive technical support services—might help them do more with desktop 3D printing. The possibilities offered by engineering materials, particularly support material options, were among the most frequent topics of visitor questions and conversations in the Ultimaker booth. We’re excited to see what SolidWorks World 2019 has in store for conversations and future partnerships!