Posts Tagged "CAD"

The Benefits of a Provisional Patent Application for Your Hardware Startup

patent IPA provisional patent application early-on can be very beneficial for a hardware startup if your business goal is to either license your invention or proceed with a patent filing. Before we delve into the benefits of filing a provisional application let’s first define what a “Provisional Patent Application” is—According to the USPTO it is, “A provisional application provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a later filed nonprovisional patent application filed under 35 U.S.C. §111(a). It also allows the term ‘Patent Pending’ to be applied in connection with the description of the invention.”

It is important to note that a “provisional application for patent has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed. The 12-month pendency period cannot be extended. Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding nonprovisional application for patent (nonprovisional application) during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application.” Once you file a provisional application the countdown clock starts ticking and your next move must be decided within the 12 month period.

As with any patent application, your application needs to be as complete as possible to be truly beneficial—this means that you must describe and document all variations, alternatives and permutations to your invention in detail. The best way of obtaining this critical information is by turning your idea into a functional prototype. A prototype will allow you to hold the invention in your hands, and make any necessary modifications to your final design. 3D CAD renderings and simulations will also help define the limits of your invention.

Below we discuss the two main benefits of a provisional patent application for your hardware startup:

Your Invention is Legally Protected

In the early-stage of product development inventors understand the importance of confidentiality and protecting their idea. While a confidentiality agreement will suffice when talking about your idea with engineering firms and licensing firms, investors can be slightly weary of signing one—and this can make things very difficult if you are seeking outside funding.

“Investors get proposals from many people and if they sign a confidentiality agreement with you, and another who has a similar idea, that could lead to liability on their part where there was no liability present absent them signing an agreement. (IP Watchdog)” Thus, if you want to show someone your invention without any legal protection, the pros and cons must be heavily weighed. If you have a provisional patent application pending though, you have defined your invention and it has a legal filing date, which makes discussing the invention with outside parties much less risky.

The “Patent Pending” Terms Can Be Used

“Patent Pending” is a term that is not only legally beneficial, but it gives your invention and your startup credibility. You are creating “perceived ownership” while defining the details of your idea. An idea that has been turned into a tangible invention (i.e. with a functional prototype) is more valuable when discussing potential licensing agreements and funding with outside investors.

The earlier you file a provisional patent application, the quicker you limit your exposure and prevent others from cutting off your rights (i.e. by filing for a similar invention before you do). The “Patent Pending” term shows that you have established priority for the idea/invention.

Developing a product should be viewed as a marathon and not a sprint. Taking your time early in the product development process to protect your invention will be immensely beneficial for your hardware startup later on.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Three Areas Where 3D Printing Shines

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is one of the most buzzed about technologies of the past five years. The hype around the technology has certainly diminished since its fever pitch in 2014, in which Forbes published, “3-D Printing Is About To Change The World Forever”—and now the genuine potential of the technology is emerging. Certain industries have taken to the technology quicker than others and have been able to successfully implement it into their supply chain. Below we discuss three areas in which 3D printing technology really shines.

Customer Customization

3D printingIt’s no secret that customers are evolving and their preferences are changing. Where once customers were happy with the “Big Box” store approach, this mentality is starting to shift and customers are looking for more customizable products that meet their specific needs and preferences.

Customization is one of the major benefits of 3D printing. Companies are able to print one-of-a-kind products. One industry that has had great success implementing 3D printing for customization purposes is the designing of prosthetics. Companies and patients have found that they are able to create custom prosthetics at a fraction of the cost with the use of 3D modeling and 3D printing technology.

Designing New Structures

Like anything, traditional manufacturing has its limitations. Until recently certain designs could not be manufactured simply because they were deemed “not possible” or the expense was too exorbitant to be justifiable. However, 3D printing allows for greater design flexibility.

Biomimicry has grown in popularity among product designers and architects, however, these designs are usually manufacturing headaches. “The purpose of biomimicry is to learn from the way nature has optimized structures, designs and objects for maximum performance so that we can use them to create better solutions.” The curvature and delicate nature of the designs are very organic, which poses a challenge when it comes time for production. 3D printing has enabled designers to step out of the traditional way of designing and focus more on what makes the most sense for the product.

Specialty Manufacturing

High variability, low demand products cannot be effectively served by traditional manufacturing methods. If you are a collector of any type of vintage item, then you understand the issues that arise if something breaks or you need to restore a piece. “3-D printing readily solves the challenge of manufacturing rare replacement parts, while also overcoming the obstacle of distribution: a plant exists wherever a printer does.”

Certain components cannot simply be bought, and this is where 3D printing comes into play. With a 3D digital design and a 3D printer, a piece that once was impossible to find can now be produced and put into use in record time.

3D printing technology has found its place in the business landscape. With the continued developments of the technology, it is poised to continue to grow and become even more valuable to businesses.

 

References:

Lessons Engineers and Architects Should Learn from Nature and Topology Optimization

Four Areas Where 3-D Printing Could Flourish

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D Academy: Incorporating 3D Printing into the Classroom

Our second ‘3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO’ Camp of the summer is a little over a month away and in honor of it, we wanted to share ways in which 3D printing technology can be incorporated in the classroom. By now, people understand the practical uses of the technology in a business setting and the benefits of designing and prototyping with 3D printing, but what might be a bit more abstract is how this technology can transform a variety of subjects in the classroom for both students and teachers.

Many K-12 schools and higher education institutions are adding 3D printers to their classrooms and incorporating the technology into lesson plans. 3D printing allows students and teachers to explore, invent and innovate together while promoting a growth mindset. In every step of the 3D printing process students must push the boundaries of traditional thinking and create something entirely new. Critical analysis, critical thinking, design, sketching, prototyping with physical objects, creating a prototype in a CAD software and creating the correct file formats to transfer the finished file into the 3D printing slicer software are the skills students develop and hone when learning to use 3D printing technology.

As noted by the University of Pittsburgh, “3D printing empowers more authentic exploration of objects that may not be readily available. For example, students can print and handle objects such as fossils, prototypes of extinct animals, prosthetics, hardware, buildings and architecture, drones and much more. Students can improve physical objects by 3D scanning the item, uploading the file in a CAD program and tweaking certain aspects to re-invent an object. Flexible filament or filament infused with conductive metals, magnetic metals, or wood allows for more specific applications for certain projects. The possibilities are endless.”

Below are ideas on how to start incorporating 3D printing into the classroom by subject.
  • Engineering and Design: students can print out prototypes of their own creations.
  • Chemistry: students can print out molecules to study.
  • Biology: students can study cross sections of organs and print out entire structures to learn about the intricate details of each organ.
  • History: students can print out historical artifacts for closer examination. This can also be done with the use of a 3D scanner to create an exact replica.
  • Graphic Design: students can create 3D versions of their work.
  • Geography: students could print out maps showing the topography, population or demographics of an area.
  • Architecture: students can print 3D models of their own design.
  • Cooking: students could design intricate molds for ice and gelatin. Or go one step further with 3D printed chocolate creations.
3D printing technology in the classroom

(Image: Creatz 3D)

These are just a few ways in which 3D printing can bring hands-on learning to traditional subjects. If you are interested in learning more about 3D printing in the classroom and how to get started, we are happy to help. Our 3D Academy can get you up to speed on 3D printing technology and help devise a lesson plan to integrate the technology.

If you have further question or would like to learn more about 3D printing in the classroom, please send us an email, info@3d-innovations.com or give us a call at 1.808.722.8667.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Three Technologies Transforming the Hardware Startup Landscape

Over the last five years hardware startups have found it easier to find their footing, reach customers and develop a product without “breaking the bank”. The transforming business landscape for hardware startups can be attributed to advances in technology. Where it once took thousands of dollars for a digital design and prototyping alone, today it can be completed at a fraction of the cost. Below are three technologies that have increased in usability and popularity, and in doing so, transformed the way startups are built.

Digital Designs

3D digital designs are allowing startups the freedom of testing and design validation before building a prototype. While designing a product is a trial-and-error process, digital designs allow you to quickly navigate this stage and settle on a final design that meets both your customers’ needs and manufacturing requirements.

Digital designs speed up the product design process, and ensure a smooth transition into the manufacturing phase. With DFM (design for manufacturability) in mind you can design a product that will increase your manufacturing efficiency while saving you both time and money.

Additive Manufacturing

3D printingNo list related to technology would be complete without the mention of 3D printing. This technology is the “golden boy” of engineering and product design at the moment—and rightfully so. This single technology has shifted supply chains, disrupted the traditional manufacturing process and has allowed startups the freedom of iteration at a reasonable cost.

What exactly is 3D printing? It is defined as, “the action or process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession.” As the material selection continues to expand, so does the application use for additive manufacturing. 3D printing at one time was used specifically for prototyping, and while this is still where it is the most popular, it is moving into the manufacturing domain with short-run production.

Crowdfunding

Starting a business once required bootstrapping or venture capital investment; however, crowdfunding has changed all of this. A well designed product, coupled with a carefully curated crowdfunding campaign, can garnish unprecedented funding to launch your business. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have helped launch some of the most innovative startups.

Crowdfunding might not be the right fit for every startup or every product, but if your idea is a nice fit for this type of funding support, you could be looking at significant help in manufacturing and commercializing your product idea.

The cost prohibitive nature of starting a business has been on the decline and now more than ever, people with an innovative idea can make their product dream a reality.

“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” — Josh James, Omniture CEO and co-founder

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D CAD: Exploration & Iteration

At its most simple level, the engineering discipline is about exploration and iteration—which are the two principles computer-aided design (CAD) is built upon. CAD has come a long way from the time when its primary use was to document finalized drawings. Where once CAD was a final step in the design process—today, it is a valuable first step. If you are not using CAD from the initial design stage, you are missing out on some of the most helpful aspects of the program.

Design Iterations

When it comes to designing, iterations are both helpful and inevitable. How often does our first design actually become the final design? Many inventors have an idea of what they want their final product to look like, but often times this initial design idea has to be modified to account for usability and manufacturing. With 3D CAD you can explore a seemingly endless array of design options without the need of “starting from scratch” for each iteration.

Explore the Design Possibilities

Coming up with the best possible design of a product is a trial-and-error process. You try one approach, when it fails, you try a different approach, and so forth until you come up with the best possible design. The features many CAD programs have today allow you to quickly navigate this trial and error stage while honing in on a final design that will meet all needed specifications.

By using a 3D digital design process, we are able to create designs and validate them with up to 95% certainty that they will work before even building a prototype. -Collin Kobayashi, President & Chief 3D Officer of 3D Innovations

Two valuable CAD features are parametric design and direct modeling, as detailed below by Autodesk:

“Parametric modeling allows users to build intelligent and reactive sequences of geometries in which engineers gradually capture their design intent. In this case, intelligent and reactive means the capability to create geometric objects that react to each other and behave as they would in the real world, rather than just on a computer. So as you iterate and change your model, the software’s parametric modeling capability maintains consistent relationships between elements.”

“With direct modeling, you manipulate a model’s geometry by pushing, pulling or twisting it. This allows you to focus initially on creating geometry rather than thinking about building features, constraints and design intent into models. You add features and constraints when editing the model, so you don’t have to edit the interim model stages.”

3D CAD lets you get a real sense for the product you are developing. Not only does it speed up product development, but it brings ideas to life at the fraction of the cost of what it takes to prototype. By shifting CAD to the start of the design process, you are opening the door to an array of design possibilities.

Need assistance creating a 3D Digital Design for your product idea? Contact us! Email us at info@3d-innovations.com or give us a call at 808.722.8667. We look forward to talking with you!

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D Academy: 3D Printing & Design Summer Camps

3D Academy, a division of 3D Innovations, has teamed up with Play-Well TEKnologies to host two ‘3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO’ summer enrichment camps for students.

“We need to embrace technology to make learning more engaging. Because when students are engaged and they are interested, that’s where learning takes place.” -Unknown

This camp is a perfect introduction to design and engineering. For the design aspect of the camp, students will have the opportunity to create their own LEGO component, and in the second half of the camp, they will hone their engineering skills by creating motorized and architectural projects with LEGOS. This hands-on approach is not only fun and interactive, it also makes the abstract design and engineering concepts come to life.

*View photos from the Spring 2017 3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO camp on our Facebook page.

About Our ‘3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO’ Camp

3D Academy and Play-Well TEKnologies team up to host two 3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO summer camps.Everyday students will learn the fundamentals of 3D Printing, CAD Design and Spatial Environments to create their own custom and one-of-a-kind LEGO component to take home. In the other half of camp, students will take part in Play-Well’s LEGO Engineering program and have access to over 20,000 pieces of LEGO while creating motorized and architectural projects such as Steerable Motorized Gear Cars, Pneumatic Claws, Mechanized Battle Walkers, Conveyor Belt Systems, and Towering Skyscrapers. Students will be introduced to the world of 3D Printing, CAD Design, Engineering, Physics, Architecture and prototyping all while having fun in a LEGO-centric camp environment.

  • Age Range: Grades 2nd-6th
  • Location: Manoa Innovation Center (2800 Woodlawn Drive Honolulu, HI)
  • Dates: June 5-9th and July 31-August 4th / 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Price: $295 for 5 day Camp

Register for the Camp at www.play-well.org/hawaii

Note: We keep class sizes small, so they do fill up quickly.

About 3D Academy

3D Academy, a division of 3D Innovations, specializes in developing and integrating industry technologies with STEM Education. 3D Academy promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs that integrate 3D Technology into K–12, as well as university classrooms. Using hands-on and project-based learning strategies, we have been effective in providing students with opportunities to excel in the areas of STEM and to integrate industry applications into their learning experiences. Learn more about 3D Academy on our website.

If you have an upcoming camp and would like to inquire about the educational resources and hands-on activities we provide, please send an e-mail to info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D Academy Event: 3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO (March 20-24th)

3-d-academy-pw-spring-2017-page-001

Our 3D Academy and Play-Well TEKnologies have teamed up once again to host a 3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO enrichment camp for students. This camp is a perfect introduction to design and engineering. For the design aspect of the camp, students will have the opportunity to create their own LEGO component, and in the second half of the camp they will hone their engineering skills by creating motorized and architectural projects with LEGOS. This hands-on approach is not only fun and interactive, it also makes the abstract design and engineering concepts come to life.

View photos from our last 3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO camp on our Facebook page.

About Our ‘3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO’ Camp

Everyday students will learn the fundamentals of 3D Printing, CAD Design and Spatial Environments to create their own custom and one-of-a-kind LEGO component to take home. In the other half of camp, students will take part in Play-Well’s LEGO Engineering program and have access to over 20,000 pieces of LEGO while creating motorized and architectural projects such as Steerable Motorized Gear Cars, Pneumatic Claws, Mechanized Battle Walkers, Conveyor Belt Systems, and Towering Skyscrapers. Students will be introduced to the world of 3D Printing, CAD Design, Engineering, Physics, Architecture and prototyping all while having fun in a LEGO-centric camp environment.

  • Age Range: Grades 2nd-6th
  • Location: Manoa Innovation Center (2800 Woodlawn Drive Honolulu, HI)
  • Date: March 20-24th (M-F, Spring Break) / 9:00am-4:00pm
  • Price: $290 for 5 day Camp

Register for the Camp at www.play-well.org/hawaii

Have additional questions? Please contact Wrenn Okada at 808.221.4870 or wrenn@play-well.org for more information.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D Academy: Drone Technology Takes Flight

Drones have been a staple of maker communities for years, however as their popularity grows they are quickly becoming a widespread tool used in both the workplace and schools as well. In an education setting, drones are being used as a hands-on tool to teach STEM subjects; while in the workplace, drones are used as a tool to gather and analyze data. As drones gain in popularity the industry around drone technology is taking shape. For example, last weekend the World Drone Racing Championship took place here in Hawaii and it was the first international drone event held, with over thirty countries represented.

Drone__250mmWhat industries are using drones?

While numerous industries are experimenting with drone technology, the three main industries using drones on a daily basis are: construction, agriculture and real estate. These industries use drones to inspect, survey and photograph. The data collected by drones is allowing businesses to better manage their operations. “From inspecting pipelines and surveying bridges to filming movies and providing farmers with aerial views of their crops, the applications of UAS are virtually limitless and offer a superior way to see what needs to be seen, in less time and at less expense,” said, Brian Wynne, president and CEO of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

How are drones used in a school setting?

In an education setting, drone technology is being used to teach a range of subjects while giving students the chance to get hands-on with the technology. Drones are certainly used to teach a variety of engineering principles, however the technology is also used to teach programming, physics (aerodynamics and push/pull lift of rotor), theoretical math concepts and engaging students in discussions about the ethics and the future of drone technology.

How can I learn more about drones?

Our 3D Academy is now offering a ‘Drone Design & Building Workshop’. In our workshop you will learn about the various design aspects of creating your own drone.

Utilizing 3D Design software, create a digital design of the frame and assembly of components. Once designed, the frame can be 3D printed for evaluation and test flights. Each Drone kit comes with all the basic components required to build and fly a drone. Workshop is open to students, teachers, and anyone who wants to learn about designing and building drones.

Interested in learning more about our Drone Workshop? Please contact us at info@3d-innovations.com or by phone at 808.722.8667.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D Academy Event: 3D Printing & CAD Design Using LEGO (October 10-14th)

October 10, 2016
3D Innovations

3D Printing and CAD CampToday marks the first day of our collaborative “3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO” event with Play-Well TEKnologies. Our 3D Academy team is excited to kickoff this event and to teach engineering and design principals to students through interactive play.

This is a week-long camp where students will learn the fundamentals of 3D Printing, CAD Design and Spatial Environments to create their own custom and one-of-a-kind LEGO component to take home.

What is Play-Well TEKnologies?

Play-Well TEKnologies hosts LEGO-inspired engineering classes for kids (Kindergarten through 8th grade).

A little more about Play-Well TEKnologies:

  • We teach approximately 100,000 students per year. We run our engineering programs in approximately 23 states, as well as in France.
  • We have outstanding instructors. They teach year-round and make the curriculum their own, so that each program is a uniquely fun experience.
  • We bring A LOT of LEGO®. With over 20,000 pieces in each class/camp, and hundreds of projects, there is no limit to what you can build.
  • We teach through play, explore, solve problems, and express ourselves through LEGO. Our curriculum is designed by engineers and refined by teachers, but the kids just think it’s fun!
What is 3D Academy?

Our 3D Academy is a division of 3D Innovations and specializes in developing and integrating industry technologies with STEM education.

3D Academy promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs that integrate 3D Technology into K–12, as well as university classrooms. Using hands-on and project based learning strategies, we have been effective in providing students with opportunities to excel in the areas of STEM and to integrate industry applications into their learning experiences.

We will be sharing event updates and photos throughout the week on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Also, keep up-to-date on future events by checking out our 3D Academy website.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D Academy: Bridging The Gap Between Education & Industry

October 5, 2016
3D Innovations

We have been hard at work revamping our 3D Academy website and invite you to check it out. As an engineering and product development firm we understand the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and want to help students actively engage with these subjects while fostering a love of learning.

Meet Lulu! The introductory video on the 3D Academy website follows Lulu’s journey from high school student to mechanical engineer. Learn about the programs she participated in and how 3D Academy helped her harness her talent and realize her dreams.

What is 3D Academy?

Our 3D Academy is a division of 3D Innovations and specializes in developing and integrating industry technologies with STEM education.

drone academy 3D3D Academy promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs that integrate 3D Technology into K–12, as well as university classrooms. Using hands-on and project based learning strategies, we have been effective in providing students with opportunities to excel in the areas of STEM and to integrate industry applications into their learning experiences.

Our core program utilizes 3D CAD and takes students through the entire design process (design, prototyping and manufacturing). When integrated into school curriculum, our STEM education programs provides students with opportunities to solve real world design problems, engage with industry standard technology, and transform concepts into reality. Our education programs have been integrated with many robotics programs such as FIRST, UROV, BotBall, and First Lego League. Programs are both customizable and scalable to meet various applications and grade levels.

Education Programs We Provide

The programs we offer bridge the gap between education and industry. Our hands on learning approach invite students to tackle a real-world problem, test theories, build upon these theories and design their own solutions. We teach them the skills needed to succeed and watch as they put these skills to use in their everyday activities.

  • Digital Media + IET + Engineering Academies: Learn 3D modeling programs such as SketchUp, Solidworks, and Autodesk products to design, develop, and build digital designs.  Transform digital designs into engineering projects to further develop STEM skills.
  • Robotics + Project Based Learning + Drones: Utilize the Engineering Design Process to design custom robotics systems for competitions such as Vex/FIRST Robotics, and others.  Learn about electro-mechanical system design using Drones and other Project Based Learning activities.
  • 3D Printing + K-12 Programs + 3D Printing Curriculum: Get students excited about STEM.  Use 3D Printing technologies to integrate with new or existing projects that let students develop their own parts.  Our projects can be integrated for a wide range of grade levels and topics or use our specific curriculum to focus on 3D Printing.
  • Custom Program: We are also available to help in the development of a custom program to meet the needs of your students and teachers.

Experience the benefits of STEM education and see what 3D Academy can do for you. Contact us today at info@3d-innovations.com or by phone at 808.722.8667

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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