You'll recall that 3D printer manufacturer eMaker recently ran an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to kickstart their company. The campaign was wildly successful, raising not their intended USD$30K, but instead well over USD$158K!
Today they've announced a change in their manufacturing strategy that permits them to produce not 150 machines as was originally intended, but instead 300 machines. How are they doing this? Evidently they're crowdsourcing the production of some parts by purchasing them from RepRap 3D printer owners. According to eMaker's Managing Director, Jean-Marc Giacalone:
We set up www.emakershop.com to let anyone sell their RepRap-printed parts to others for free. We have now applied this philosophy to our own RepRap production and bought many of the parts for the machines that we will sell from the same RepRap community.
Any RepRap owner, including our customers of course, can recoup some of their initial investment by selling printed parts back to us. We will do a quality check, then use those parts in future machines. So our customers can become our manufacturers, allowing us to supply more new customers.
This is perhaps the second instance of customers becoming suppliers we've seen, the first being MakerBot some two years ago. We haven't heard more from MakerBot on this since, so it should be interesting to see eMaker's results.