For less than a thousand dollars, you can now buy a 3D printer. That's about 124,000 dollars less than they used to cost. Makerbot started putting its DIY printers up for sale last year, and have gotten so many orders that they can no longer keep up with production. So they hired out a bunch of the Makerbots they'd already sold, and had them make more Makerbots. Creepy, and awesome. They send you the kit, you put it together, feed it some plastic, load a 3D file, and the machine will make it while you watch. The makerbot phenomenon has spawned a site, Thingiverse, dedicated to open source 3D files, and a large community who are only beginning to unravel what having a machine like this will mean for the future of manufacturing. Want a new toy for your kids? Print it. Need a new lathe for your workshop? Print it. Want a sculpture of Walt Disney's head for your living room? Print it.
Cory Doctorow is, of course, all over this, and put out a new book last year titled Makers, that takes as its very premise a near future where devices like this are omnipresent. As with all Doctorow books, you can buy it on Amazon, or download the ebook for free from the link above.
Read more on this and the DIY revolution at Wired Magazine.