SolidWorks World 2012 – Day 2 General Session Update #sww12

We kicked the day off with a recap of Monday night's final CSWP party on the USS Midway, followed by Richard Doyle handing out awards for the SolidWorks User Group Network.

According to Richard, 2011 was another really good year for SolidWorks User Groups with another 21 local chapters joining the network.  SolidWorks User Groups are now in 44 U.S states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 27 other countries around the world.  From Los Angeles California to Tangerang City Indonesia, the SolidWorks User Group Network extends to all corners of the world.

The award for the User Group of the Year went to the New Hampshire SolidWorks User Group, managed by Cindy Berend, John Blutt and Hoang Bao.


Rachel York of the Tech Valley SolidWorks User Group won the User Group Leader of the Year award.


And SolidWorks forum MVP Charles Culp won the Michelle Pillers SWUGN Community Award for achievement in the SolidWorks community above and beyond the call of duty. Congratulations to all of the winners.


We then had two special guests join us on stage. First, the Howe brothers, Mike and Geoff, (of Black Ops Brothers fame) came up and told the story of how they started their design careers at eight years old: with a four-foot-tall, handcrafted cabin in their backyard, built to top their friends’ forts. And this began their design philosophy of making everything they build bigger and badder, culminating in the Ripsaw. Ripsaw is a developmental light tank that can hit 60 mph in four seconds, and the brothers described design challenges resulting from the weight, size and speed of the vehicle, which they took on one by one until the design was perfected.

Howe & Howe’s latest project, a hydraulic arm designed for firefighters, was designed and rendered in SolidWorks in a single day. The project went from idea to fabrication in just nine days, proving that with the right approach, design can move incredibly quickly.

The key takeaways from the Howe brothers: solve problems one at a time and remember that design is about opportunity.


Next Ben Kaufman from Quirky gave us all a lesson in collaborative design. Ben pointed out that invention is a trait inherent to all people—even a reflex—rather than a learned skill, and one that we all need to nurture.  Quirky has chosen to nurture it through collaboration, and invites people to submit ideas for community feedback. Each week, two inventors are crowned to bring their product to fruition, and Quirky also introduces two new products to the market each week. This methodical, sustainable approach to building a pipeline of consumer products has paid off for Quirky, the inventors it supports and the members of the Quirky community, through Quirky’s unique business model.

Ben’s bottom line is that invention should be accessible, and collaboration is changing the face of design forever. Since community is such an important part of SolidWorks and the design process, we can’t wait to see what’s next.


That's it for today. Check back later for footage.

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.