When you are planning to produce a physical product from your initial idea, it is vital to understand the full cycle of this process. It begins with a sketch, to a 3D model, to rapid prototyping, and finally to full production.
The process starts with a basic sketch that can be sent to companies who provide CAD services. These CAD service providers will make a 3D model from the sketch you provided, basically implementing 2D to 3D conversion using CAD. After 2D to 3D conversion you have native CAD files that can be used to modify 3D model or convert the native CAD files into STL files that are necessary for rapid prototyping.
Rapid prototyping is the construction of physical objects using manufacturing technology. With a rapid prototype constructed from your 3D model, you are on your way to achieving your goal of full product production. With the prototyped 3D model based on your sketch, you can hold and examine the product. In physical form, it becomes easier to identify potential problems with the current design before you proceed to mass production. Rapid prototyping is a necessary first step for inventors as it helps identify potential weaknesses of a product before production begins, minimize the possibility that the product will be defective, and allows the inventor to improve upon his original design.
After prototyping your product you may work with your CAD service suppliers until the desirable outcome is reached. When you confirm the design with the company that provides CAD services and are happy with the 3D model of your idea, the 3D model of your idea can be modified to meet manufacturing criteria.
When modifying the 3D model, the CAD service provider will consider the technology to be used in producing the final product. When all the revisions have been made and the model is finalized, the customer can send the CAD files to a CNC (computer numerical control) machine. This CNC machine will produce the completed final product.