As often is the case, and experiment leads to a hobby, leads to a business and sometimes to a multinational corporation. In this case the experiment was Vernon Effalo's effort to build a dome. He required a large number of dodecahedrons and simply outsourced it to other makers, which eventually enabled him to complete the dome. According to Michael Felix, MakerFactory principal:
We had a release party in one of the domes and it collapsed due to rain weight. no one was hurt, thankfully!
Effalo's successful experiment has now led to the formalization of this approach in his venture, MakerFactory. MakerFactory seems to be somewhere between the hobby and business stage. From the site:
MAKERFACTORY is a free service for connecting the emerging network of localized fabrication technologies with people like you who need stuff 3d printed, CNC’ed, or otherwise made.
Here's how it works: you post a "job" and then makers worldwide bid on producing the item or portions thereof. The poster then accepts a bid and objects emerge from fabrication devices.
We think this is a necessary service to fit on top of the hugely growing 3D print community, as more and more people find themselves equipped with MakerBots, RepRaps, Up!s and Fab@Homes. The sweet spot for MakerFactory seems to be the case where a large quantity of prints are required, so long as the build time for printed objects remains long.
Congrats to MakerFactory and the Effalo team for making it happen!