The Rise of "Big Make"
More big news in the continuing industrialization of the Maker Movement: Autodesk has bought Instructibles. What you can now see emerging are several vertically-integrated "making chains", which go from authoring tools to design houses to service bureaus to communities to 3D printers--all aimed at the new consumer/Maker side of the business.
Here are the two biggest players with some examples of their lineups, including recent acquisitions and investments:
--3D Systems: Alibra (authoring), Freedom of Creation (design), 3Dproparts (service bureau) the Z Corp printers and scanners, RapMan 3D printers, Vidar Scanners. No big community site yet.
--Autodesk: 123D (authoring), Ponoko/Techshop (service bureau), Instructibles (community). Lots of design strength already in part due to big Hollywood/game presence with their Maya and Alias product ecosystems. Haven't bought a 3D printer company yet (it's interesting to think what they could do with Makerbot).
Others in the wings include PTC and Dassault. Both have been focused on professional design and engineering, but are starting to move into the consumer space, too. (PTC just released the free Cleo Elements authoring tool, for example, and Dassault owns Solidworks, which is a leader in this space but doesn't have a really free consumer option yet)