Although they occasionally overlap, 3D printing services and rapid prototyping services exist in separate categories in the directory. While the former focus primarily on the actual 3D printing and manufacturing phase, the latter provide the entire product development cycle. Here 3D printing is mainly a digital tool to accelerate time to market.
This category of the 3D Printing Business Directory includes studios and companies that specialize in product development support. This definition extends to product design studios that focus on the concept and CAD digital rendering aspects of product development. These companies use 3D printing marginally as an additional development tool.
On the other side of the spectrum are the engineering support service businesses which provide advanced expertise and knowledge of CAE software and part topological optimization. Such companies specifically leverage the new materials and extensive geometric capabilities possible through additive manufacturing technologies.