The internet is all about communicating, connecting, and interacting with others. It’s an incredibly enabling tool, and many have seized the opportunity to use the internet to remove the boundaries of proximity between people, like the website couchsurfing.com and the CLOO app, which allow people to let others sleep on their couches and use their restrooms, respectively (it’s important to not get the services confused). Now makers have joined the community of sharing the resources in their homes with total strangers, through the website makexyz.com.
This service connects those that need something printed with those that have 3D printers, and vice versa. Sure, there are already print services like Ponoko, i.materialise, and Shapeways, and if you need a really high-quality print, then you should probably use one of them. But if regular FDM printing will suit your needs, then why not pay less for someone local to do it? You might even get the job done the same day.
To make your printer available it’s as simple as creating a profile and listing your printer. This is what people mean when they say that 3D printing will democratize manufacturing.