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Manufacturing Prototyping is the art and science of making physical models of manufactured products. Companies use these models, or "prototypes," to evaluate new product designs before investing in full-scale production.
Prototypes are traditionally sculpted by hand from clay, wood, or resin, or, are painstakingly milled from blocks of metal. Today, "rapid prototyping" machines linked to computers running prototype build software quickly sculpt special plastic or metallic compounds with lasers, leaving only fine finishing to human craftsmen.
This category lists resources for Manufacturing Prototyping machine builders, materials manufacturers, and service providers. It also provides links to prototyping tutorials, research information, and relevant publications.
Software resources in this directory are currently limited to programs for building, or preparing to build, products on rapid prototyping machines. The much broader class of "virtual prototyping" software for activities such as finite element analysis and solid modeling are found in the CAD CAM CAE category.