A significant part of what I do for a living is keeping my eyes open for game changers in technology, processes, culture, etc. At the Austin, TX Maker Faire I came across one that got my attention. It is AllForge (http://allforge.com/ ) and it is to 3D printers as movable type printing press was to hand written documents. Here is why.
The ability to scan or create and then print on a 3D printer is incredible, and if you have not been around one or watched one work, you owe it to yourself to do a little hands-on experimentation. As remarkable as 3D printers are, they have the limitation of speed. It takes time to turn your carefully crafted electrons into physical atoms. Even when you have the final perfect design and you print it, it will take just as long to make the next copy, and this is where AllForge is a breakthrough.
AllForge is a desktop plastic or metal extruding system. This means that once you have your perfect final design you can create a mold of the design and then have an AllForge unit begin to extrude copies of the design quickly and efficiently.
On a parallel track, FormBox (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1094489804/formbox-a-desktop-vacuum-former-that-makes-beautif ) is a desktop vacuum forming system that allows the rapid mass production of anything that can be vacuum-formed. If you are old enough to remember, both these products were pre-imaged as toys for kids in the 60s. It is a wonder we survived.
Mattel Creepy Crawlers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepy_Crawlers )
Mattel Vacuum Former (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vac-u-form )