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Indeed 3d printers are pretty sweet! There are a couple of people already offering this service around Sydney and assume they are making a fairly good return.

As for printing costs, there would be in excess of 10 methods of 3d printing including Fused filament, SLA, SLS, metal bot type machines, cell based machines etc which each have their pros and cons. I am using the cheapest (fused filament) process, which builds up layers of melted plastic but only has a resolution of about 100 microns (.1mm) and can leave some z banding. The most popular of these machines is the makerbot replicator 2 (about $2500), though semi-industrial large build volume machines cost around $5000 (e.g. gigabot or 3d monstr) while high resolution (SLA) resin based machines cost between $2000 – $5000 (e.g. pegasus touch and Form 1).

The machines I am considering are the rigidbot ($1400), gmax ($1500) and the phoenix 3d printer. These use spools of extruded plastic which cost between $20 – $30 a pound (a little under 500g), though you can get the prices down to $3-4 by using an extruder like the filastruder. Also, because you can use a bunch of plastics like PLA, ABS, Nylon and HIPS you have a lot of flexibility (e.g. HIPS is dissolvable and Nylons are chemically resistant).