Toby’s Takeaways from SOLIDWORKS World 2019

SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2019 took place Feb. 10-13 in Dallas. I was honored to attend and wanted to share some thoughts and takeaways. I honestly wish I could have attended every single session, and I wish I could report to you on the hundreds (possibly thousands) of time-saving tips and tricks I was able to learn from the sessions I did attend. But this article would become much too long, so I’ve decided to focus on one main takeaway I heard and saw during the general sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

The theme of SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2019 was “Where Possibility Takes Form.”

The theme of SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2019 was “Where Possibility Takes Form.” The organizers of the event did a terrific job of working this theme into just about every presentation during the general sessions.

Day 1 – Welcome to SOLIDWORKS WORLD

Monday morning started with a warm welcome from SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi.

SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi welcomes the crowd of enthusiastic SOLIDWORKS users.

Bassi opened with a terrific presentation describing an electric vehicle that was designed in SOLIDWORKS by a mechanical engineer who had been injured in a sporting accident in 1996.

Christian Bagg and his electric off-road mountain bike, the Icon Explore.

Christian Bagg was always an avid outdoorsman and wanted to get back into the world of rugged terrain mountain biking after an accident left him without the use of his legs. He was able to accomplish his goal with the creation of his electric off-road mountain bike, the Icon Explore. This invention is now available for consumer purchase, and several units have been made available as “loaners” at national parks across Canada. By bringing his invention to the public, Bagg has allowed other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy an experience they may have thought was no longer possible due to injury or disease.

Using SOLIDWORKS to design the Icon Explore.

I thought this was a great way to introduce the conference, and it definitely stuck to the theme of “Where Possibility Takes Form.”

For more info on Christian Bagg’s story, take a look at this short video:

Day 2 – Design to Profit General Session

This year the team at SOLIDWORKS WORLD decided to do something new. They gave attendees a choice of three different general sessions on Day 2. The sessions were R&D Futures, Design to Profit and New Horizons. All three sessions sounded enticing, but I decided to attend Design to Profit.

The Design to Profit session hosted by Igal Kaptsan, SOLIDWORKS vice president of Product Management.

The Design to Profit session was hosted by SOLIDWORKS Vice President of Product Management Igal Kaptsan. He took us through the journey of a typical project, starting from the initial idea and going all the way through the final step of marketing and selling the product. He illustrated that for every step of the process, Dassault Systèmes offers a solution. During each step of the process, Kaptsan welcomed a guest to discuss which solution they use. These guests each shared an actual project they are working on as part of their story.

One of the coolest parts of this presentation was phase 3 – Engineering.

Marie Planchard, SOLIDWORKS director of Early Engagement, introduces the Engineering phase of the Design for Profit general session.

The Engineering phase was introduced by Marie Planchard, SOLIDWORKS director of Early Engagement. She explained that part of her job allows her to work with young college and high school students, helping enable them to pursue their interest in engineering.

SOLIDWORKS xDesign challenge is announced.

Planchard described how in November 2018, SOLIDWORKS challenged any First Robotics Club teams to tackle an xDesign challenge.The challenge was simple:use xDesign to design a moon lander.

Teams from across the country only had four weeks to complete this challenge. The winning team would receive an impressive prize of $10,000.Teams were instructed to use the new xDesign cloud-based 3D CAD software, along with a number of social collaboration tools, to work together to accomplish this task.

Forty-one design submissions were received. The winning team was announced Dec. 21: Team 1902 – Exploding Bacon.

The xDesign challenge winning design was submitted by team 1902.

Planchard welcomed two of the winning team members to the stage to discuss how they were able to use xDesign and the cloud-based collaboration tools to both communicate within their team and share ideas amongst the entire community of teams participating in the contest.

Two members of team 1902 attend SOLIDWORKS WORLD and were welcomed on stage by Marie Planchard.

Nick, a high school junior, and Trent, a high school senior, received a massive ovation as they took the stage. Part of the contest was judged on creativity. Nick and Trent explained that they wanted to find some motivation for going to the moon—beyond general exploration—so they created a story where in their lead designer was captured by aliens. Thus they needed to send a vessel to the moon to pay a ransom and get him back. Very creative indeed.

Nick and Trent explained that their team had a fairly complicated assembly of over 50 parts and 10 sub-assemblies. They used the 3D experience platform for the entire project to create and manage all the files and revisions, as well as continuously share design ideas and inspiration amongst the team. They completed the entire project in the four weeks. This was another great example of sticking to the theme of “Where Possibility Takes Form.”

Day 3 – Artists, Students, Makers

Day 3 is always bittersweet. SOLIDWORKS often invites an outstanding keynote speaker to Day 3, and this year was again terrific. The speaker was NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin. He shared the amazing story of his life and the various challenges he faced throughout his career, which ultimately led him to the international space station. It was really good stuff.

But Day 3 is also the final day, which means everyone is going home. Sometimes the general session is the last time we get to see all our SOLIDWORKS World friends until next year, hence the bittersweet element.

Suchit Jain, SOLIDWORKS vice president of Strategy and Business Development, introduces Day 3.

This year Day 3 started with an introduction by Suchi Jain, vice president of Strategy and Business Development. Jain used a theme of “Artists, Students, Makers” for his presentation.

Artists, Students, Makers was the theme for the Day 3 general session.

I really enjoyed this format and found myself getting more and more interested as the session went on. I liked the section on Artists. I really liked the section on students. I LOVED the section on makers.

During the last section, Jain introduced Joel Telling, shown above on the far right in the Makers section. Telling has a YouTube channel called the 3D Printing Nerd where he takes on various 3D-printing challenges and shares tips and tricks with other 3D-printing enthusiasts.

Joel Telling, the 3D Printing Nerd, using xDesign.

Telling recently started using xDesign as his 3D-modeling software. One of his first challenges using xDesign was to recreate the required part to fix a baseball practice net. In the video, Telling was able to show how easily SOLIDWORKS xDesign can be used to quickly create solid models to be output to a 3D printer.

I am a big time 3D-printing guy, so I’m sure my opinion is biased here, but I really liked this section of the general session. I was excited to get home and watch the full video. Of course, this one again sticks to the theme of “Where Possibility Takes Form.” He had an idea of how re-create a broken part and turned it into a reality using SOLIDWORKS xDesign and a 3D printer.


The annual conference for SOLIDWORKS USERS is a great place to catch up on the latest news and technology going around the industry. The three days of breakout sessions are a great place to pickup some nice time-saving tips.But the morning general session is where the overall tone for the conference is set. The organizers of the conference did a terrific job of sticking to this year’s theme, “Where Possibility Takes Form,” throughout the entire event.

About the Author

Toby Schnaars is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert from Philadelphia, Pa. He has been working with SOLIDWORKS software since 1998 and has been providing training, technical support, and tips and tricks since 2001.

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