I've been reading about 3D printing since, I dunno, 2002 or 2003, but not seriously considering it for real-life projects until I saw it growing in popularity, mentioned in DIY/tinkering magazines and web sites, and popping up in business and economics news sources. This is not a fad but a new area of literacy, a new outlet for creativity and an affordable means for inventors and problem-solvers to come up with new solutions. Or new problems, what the heck, we high-IQ creative types need more to solve! Born in Michigan with a science teacher dad and substitute teacher mom, I had lots of science toys, electronics kits, and mechanical toys to take apart and put back together. Later I got into computer graphics, 3D ray tracing, physics simulations and more - anything involving electrons, photons, pixels, spacetime and bits. Thinking in 3D just comes natural to me. One item I'd like to make is an artsy mechanical contraption inspired by a paper on theoretical physics I saw back in 1981. I'm not saying any more, since it's hard to describe in words. With 3D printing, it's possible to make this thing. In the past it would have been too expensive to find a machinist or woodworker, especially not knowing if it would actually work as I envisioned, and too much trouble for a flimsy model if I tried to make something with cardboard, straws, and other cheap things. I have yet to submit my first object mesh for making, but getting close. I have half-baked notions for lamps, water fountains, etc but am no genius at designing such things. Still, I gotta try. At least, make reduced size models of things that a craftsman could make with other materials full-size later. Imagine what interior decorators could do, having any desired shape made rather than hunting all over for something already existing suitable for use in some situation. A woodworker I know makes wooden toys for kids with a team of volunteers - a real life Santa with a staff of elves! We use drilling guides, holding jigs and other homebrew tools for certain steps of the process. Wood is fine for many of these guides and holders, but not everything desired can be made with wood. 3D printing with the appropriate material would do the trick. For 3D solids design, I use Blender. I started learning it, whoa, way back when it was available for BeOS and cost some money (though not much). I've put it aside, life keeps me busy, but started getting serious about mastering Blender in 2009. I've created illustrations of physics concepts for physics.stackexchange.com, illustrations of experimental apparatus at work, and dabble in architectural visualization and animation experiments. Blender looks like a great tool for 3D printing - just gotta remember to finish the mesh as airtight, all triangles and meet minimum wall and wire sizes. 3D print technology is clearly young (yet not so young) with lots of room to grow on many fronts. Today there may be limitations in durability, water or chemical resistance, food safety, which I expect to be pushed away year by year, so we'll find in the future more choices of material for any object for any purpose. I also play saxophone.