Ponoko, one of the pioneers of distributed personal manufacturing and sales, has posted an interesting video that describes their methodology and cites two amazing examples of how people are succeeding with this new technology approach.
Alan Chao designed a beautiful coaster of letters and brought it through the idea, design and build stages to be on sale at Ponoko in only 16 days. After selling out his stock several times, he was picked up by a major design company only 8 weeks after he started.
Jess & Jesse made an amazing necklace (pictured) that quickly led them to a six-figure annual business.
Ponoko has published case studies and interviews available in which you can find out much more about how these and others have succeeded using the Ponoko platform.