Ah, SolidWorks World 2011 has come to an end. Yet, the superbly pungent taste of a three day SolidWorks shellacking and a San Antonio Riverwalk feasting still lingers.

Here are a few of the highlights which encapsulate a wee bit of what made up the General Session at SolidWorks World 2011. Add hours of talking with like-minded people and staying within the confines of a large conference hall the majority of a day with plenty of after hour parties and you’ll get a sense of what you may have missed.

The path to the General Session was littered with footfalls of thousands of people. No one was harmed… badly.

A pensive, well-behaved audience awaits the start of the General session.

A view of how the general session started every morning. There were no screams, but there was clapping and I believe a few people experience involuntary loss of bladder control.

On Day 1 of the SolidWorks World General Session, Jeff Ray gave props to Schramm, Center Rock and Oakley for helping with the Chilean Mine rescue.

Jeff introduces the NeoNurture – the car parts incubator and Firefly – Infant Phototherapy – from product developers Design that matters.

Jeff Ray, former Dassault SolidWorks CEO, hands over the Bertrand Sicot, new CEO of Dassault SolidWorks.

Bertrand lets the people know 300,000 have downloaded DraftSight. Some call their wives and children to pass on the exciting news.

The new CEO starts off with some clarification about the SolidWorks V6 cloud techamajigger shown at SolidWorks World 2010 addressing the concerns many have had about SolidWorks being ported to an entirely web-based solution. He states, “SolidWorks will always offer a desktop application.”

Bernard Charles, CEO Dassault Systemes, and Jeremy Luchini, Let’s Go Design superstar, demonstrate Post3D. [coverage here.]

Apollo 13’s Gene Kranz, Flight Control Director, and Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 Commander, tell the riveting story of how the Apollo 13 mission.

On Day 2, Bill Townsend, first SolidWorks customer and founder/CEO of Barrett Technology told about the design and repackaging of a PCB switch from a structure the size of a small building to a device the size of a stack of quarters.

Mike Pisani of Local Motors let people in on the secret of collaborative design and how it’s being used to successfully crowdsource a vehicle design. The Rally Fighter.

Casey Pieretti and Bill Spracher, hosts of the Discovery Channel series, Bionic Builders, show how they’ve strapped propellers, rocket launchers and rock climbing implements to Casey and others who have lost an appendage. Casey wins it for quote of the event, “I don’t want to be enabled, I want to be super-enabled.”

On Day 3, Matt Perez rocks the stage honored as CSWE who has made free tutorials for people and helps in the forums. More at his site SolidWorksLessons.info.

Kevin Bacon, friend of Casey Pieretti, showed up to tell a little about his charity, sixdegrees.org. His band, The Bacon Bros, played that night at the SolidWorks reseller event.

Neil Cooke, Product Marketing Manager, demonstrates SolidWorks Live Buildings, SolidWorks’ entry into the AEC market. [Coverage here.]

Fielder Hiss, VP of Product Management, demonstrates SolidWorks n!Fuze, a product which uses the ENOVIA V6 platform to allow management, sharing and collaboration of models online. [Coverage here.]

DraftSight for iPad will soon be made available.

New features for SolidWorks 2012 include – Feature Freeze, Clear memory when a file is closed, Complete Uninstall, and Dual monitor support (span two displays). You’ll also see features inspired by 3DVIA Composer like magic guides for balloons and tab through visibility display of SolidWorks Assemblies.

The top 10 requested enhancements. 2 of 4 of these will already be in the next version.

Riley Lewis, a 13 year old who uses SolidWorks to do failure analysis and design unpickable locks.

Bertrand introduces Ben Gulak and his company BPG Werks. Ben is Popular Science Invention of the Year winner using SolidWorks to design the DTV Shredder and Uni-Bike.

Next year, SolidWorks World 2012 will be held in San Diego, California – February 12th-15th – Happy Valentine’s Day.

Enough for your brain to absorb? There’s always a lot more that happens. SolidWorks quelled some concerns for a few and raised some questions for others, but there’s no doubting the direction and intention of their product development. Does the news from SolidWorks World bode better with you this year? Have your say in the comments!

Thanks to SolidWorks and all the people making this possible. Disclosure: Hotel and conference fees were paid for by Dassault SolidWorks. The extra serving of corn tortillas however, was not.
Some photos courtesy of Ricky Jordan’s Flickr stream.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.