Every month you make me want a 3d printer!
Where are the best places to buy one? I doubt it'll happen any time soon, but it would be good to know where to start looking.
I have a Micro3D, the version I have is the pre-revision, which is what I've made everything on, and with a coupon code that's $199 right now, or you can get the revised version that prints faster and has some other improvements for $299.
It has a lot of advantages. It's super user-friendly for one. Most people are used to the idea of 3d printers that are designed to be used by tinkerers and techs, but this one has the difficulty curve of an injet printer. The software is easy to use and the spools of filament have codes on them you put in and the printer auto-sets to their use (you can use other people's filament too, with manual settings)
The only thing I had to finagle was a mount for the spools, since the printer can only hold a 250ft spool inside its auto-feeder, and the auto-feeder doesn't work with flexible filaments. I just put a dowel through a cardboard box and use that to hold the spools while the print feeds. You have to watch your first couple of prints because until you use the filament to a certain level its prone to popping out out of the spool. The only other drawback I've found is that it doesn't use a heated print bed (M3d's larger one does) so instead there's replaceable textured sheets that stick onto the base plate. When the sheet wears out you replace it, so that is another consumable to deal with, but I've heard of people using blue painters tape in place of the textured sheets with no issues.
Filament costs from $15-25 per 250ft spool depending on the material, double that for a 500ft spool. Printing Big FleaKid (2" by 2" wide, by about 1.5" deep) at high quality with a heavy fill, you'd get about 16 of him out of a 250-ft spool.
I've found that with my willingness to drop sizable chunks on indie toys and short-run boutique figures that the 3d printer was a good investment for the price. I've spent more than $300 on individual Transformers before, and even if you can't 3d model, there's my service, 3d model sites, and even toy-building apps from Autodesk that let you print stikfa/Xevoz style stuff.
Hope that helps!