Okay, so I've been hugely interested in the concept of 3D printing ever since I first heard about it. The possibilities of what you could make with a 3D printer are almost limitless, even if in some cases it wouldn't be the most efficient method. It was like someone finally invented the Star Trek replicator machine. I want one.
Then I realized that a home 3D printer would be perfect for producing gaming miniatures. You could buy 3D files of the miniatures (or create your own if you're talented) and print as many or as few as you wanted. With 3D software you could easily modify figures by cutting and pasting optional equipment and clothing. Or you could buy unclothed simple 3D figures in an array of poses and add "skins" with facial expressions, hair styles, and whatever. Currently 3D printers are still a bit too expensive for general home use ($1500-2000), but just within the reach of a dedicated hobbyist/tinkerer.
Just today I came across the Thingiverse.com web site which has 3D files for printing. And, yes, there are gaming figures available now. Several good examples are available from "dutchmogul" (http://www.thingiverse.com/dutchmogul/things/page:1) and "garin" (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:29544). I was thrilled, but secretly a bit annoyed. I have toyed with the idea the idea of a business involving setting up a small workshop full of 3D printers, commissioning unique 3D models from artists, then printing figures on demand for customers. It wouldn't produce enough income to live on, but be a great way to have hobbyist fun with gaming and 3D printing technology while recouping the costs. Also, as a "business model" it has some serious holes in it, but that's for another post some day.