These low-cost fabrication tools - both open-source and commercial - promise to make the ability to manufacture almost anything available to anyone.
A recent article in Forbes, of all places, looks at some interesting developments in technology that promise to make the ability to manufacture almost anything available to anyone. The article, "How to Make Anything," discusses a DIY 3D printer and, in an accompanying slide show ("In Pictures: Eight Tools That Let You Make Anything"), highlights other fabrication tools and software that are becoming affordable for small businesses and even individuals:
The Fab@Home 3D printer that, for $3,000 in parts, can - over several days - build an object by injecting plastics and metals that harden in minute streams (see video (1:41) below):
3D printers from ZCorp - starting at around $20,000 - that can build practically any solid object from the ground up, printing about one and a half vertical inches per hour (see video (3:49) below).