Ideas Take Flight: a Recap of the APMM Conference

March 17, 2023 Admin Admin

2023 APMM Conference: From a Prototyper's Perspective

By: Daniel McKewen, & Owen Meyers

The Association of Professional Model Makers (APMM) Conference is a multiple-day event allowing model makers from all over the world to connect, share ideas, and provide insight into their own processes. This year the event was back in person for the first time since 2018, and our team was excited to be involved in more ways than one! Continue reading to jump into the shoes of two of our very own who had different, yet very impactful, experiences.

About a 5-minute read

ALL ABOARD! APMM Visits Priority Designs

Day one of the conference consisted of a charter bus tour to local model shops around Ohio, with Priority Designs as stop three.

APMM members were given a first-hand look into our world of prototyping, design, engineering, and research. As they walked in, they experienced the development process from start to finish.

The tour culminated in the Prototyping Lab, where visitors saw examples of our Prototype Specialists’ craftsmanship and skills. Providing samples that they can touch and feel really captivated the minds of our guests! Additionally, we turned off the machines to allow the group full access to view our downdraft paint booths, CNC areas, RP lab, Casting Lab, and scanning station, which opened opportunities for future collaboration!

Next Stop: Dayton, Ohio

Our Prototyping Intern, Owen Myers, attended the in-person conference in Dayton, which offered a different type of learning experience. The event allowed professionals and vendors from all over the world to come together for on-site education and collaboration. Groups joined in breakout sessions where they listened to different vendors speak on topics such as 3D printed mold making, photoplastic and photoelastic resins, specialty adhesives, and much more.

Soft Goods 101

On day two of the conference, our Sr. Soft Goods Developer, Daniel McKewen, shared a glimpse into the “black box” that is Soft Goods design. He explained the basics from terminology to techniques and sourcing to equipment needs.

“I was thrilled to see that APMM wanted to incorporate soft goods into their conference educational offerings. Soft goods are becoming increasingly popular, and it was great to see the industry getting the recognition it deserves.” – Daniel McKewen

Soft Goods is a complex field, and it can be challenging to know where to start, especially for those who are new to the industry. Daniel’s goal was to simplify the process and make soft goods design more accessible to everyone. He covered the fundamentals of soft goods design, including the primary material categories, how to know when to use them, and how to get started.

Meet Our Team

Daniel McKewen

With 20+ years of experience in soft goods design, development, and manufacturing, I bring a unique, experience-driven approach to my work. I have worked in various roles, from design to project management, gaining hands-on knowledge of every part of the process. As a seasoned professional who has founded and built several grassroots companies, I rely on my hands-on experience as my currency, allowing me to understand the intricacies of designing and manufacturing high-quality soft goods products.

Daniel McKewen

Sr. Soft Goods Developer

Owen Meyers

As a prototyping specialist, I utilize a diverse array of tools to create product models and preemptively address any issues before they are transferred to manufacturing. My aim is to create prototypes that are not only aesthetically accurate, but function seamlessly as well. By attending the APMM Conference with an open mind, I was eager to expand my knowledge by learning from the experiences of other model-making professionals and gaining valuable insights to enhance my own craft.

Owen Meyers

Prototyping Intern

Q: As a prototype specialist attending APMM, what area intrigued you the most at the conference?

  • Owen: There were countless insightful talks from an array of experienced model makers and vendors throughout. However, I was particularly drawn to the informative mold-making workshops. These sessions provided me with valuable knowledge of diverse techniques for creating efficient molds for a wide range of applications. I also enjoyed touring shops in the Columbus and Dayton area, learning about how they produce prototypes, and seeing their selection of equipment.

Q: What are your biggest takeaways?

  • Daniel: Attending APMM was an excellent opportunity to connect with other professionals in the field, learn about new trends, techniques, and technologies, and gain fresh insights that will help me approach soft goods design in a more innovative way. I look forward to attending APMM conferences in the future and continuing to learn and grow in the field of Soft Goods.


  • Owen: New knowledge! I had the opportunity to learn so many new things, and it was refreshing to be surrounded by professionals passionate about prototyping and model-making. My biggest takeaway was the new knowledge I gained from attending various workshops on mold making, adhesives, 3D printing, pressure vessels, and soft goods. Even though I work in a shop environment, there is always room to expand my knowledge and learn new techniques. In addition to workshops, I had the chance to network with other professionals in the field, which I know will be incredibly valuable for future problem-solving and collaboration opportunities. Overall, the APMM Conference was a fantastic opportunity to grow professionally and personally, and I’m grateful for the experience.


Prototyping possibilities are endless as the world of technology progresses. Attending the APMM conference was a great opportunity to expand on new knowledge and skills while holding onto the value of traditional model-making. We enjoyed learning and connecting while providing valuable information to our peers. All in all, the conference was an amazing opportunity to grow both professionally and individually, and we’re very grateful for the experience!

Want to receive new articles and updates? Join our email list.