Over recent weeks, I've enjoyed reading about the adventures of Bilal Ghalib and Alex Hornstein who's Pocket Factory project I first learned about on the Make blog; two makers who are taking 3D printing on the road, travelling around the US as they run their 3D printers in the back of their Prius, selling the wears that they create.
For anyone not familiar with the 3D printing movement, it is about relatively inexpensive machines that print extruded plastics from computer-designed models. It essentially allows an individual to create plastic parts that, even a decade ago, could be made only on machines that cost tens of thousands of dollars. 3D printing enthusiasts tend to be very excited about the possibilities of this technology, but at the same time the community tends to be a bit insular. The Pocket Factory project takes the technology out to flea markets and public spaces, to people who often have no idea that such a technology is possible. Bilal and Alex started out not knowing exactly what the reception would be (it's been everywhere from wildy excited to apathetic to a little hostile), or what ideas and business models would actually allow them to make money. It's been fascinating to follow their blog and read about their adventures.