Illustrator is a commonly used program to create logos, icons, typograpgy, and various other vector art forms. It can be really useful when coming up with a concept or producing an early concept rendering. CAD however stands for computer aided design and is an engineering software used to produce drafting, technical, or engineering drawings where materials, tolerances, and dimensions can be defined.
There are several CAD files commonly used however the most common are .STEP, .IGS, and Parasolid formats. They typically can be opened by any CAD software including Solidworks, Siemens NX, Catia, and many more.
3D printers have come a long way in their utilization however most advancements have been made in what materials they can print. Materials are now available that can simulate ABS, poly carbonate, and rubbers. Larger printers are capable or printing metals such as steel, titanium, and even gold. Application will determine if 3D printing is correct however if quick one-off prototypes are required 3D printing may be the way to go.
We do not manufacture any products in house. At present we only produce prototypes. We do however have a large network of manufacturers that we keep in contact with to direct clients to when their product is ready for early manufacturing estimates and optimization. Additionally we provide full manufacturing consultation of the design as it proceeds through manufacturing.
Pricing can vary depending on what material the product will be made of. It also depends on the number of steps or logistical processes it takes in order to have the final product assembled. Furthermore if electronics are integrated into the system, this is another step that must be added into the final cost of the assembly.
To date we have not taken any equity in projects only because each project requires full time attention, and it would be very difficult to give each project the proper amount of attention it needs to grow.