Micro 3D printer - and inspired by finally getting a driving lesson on work's 3D printer.
Thinking back, I remember when my wife was doing her final year VetMB project, and I was basically doing the DTP for it - we used my then employer's Apple LaserWriter, which was pretty much the first consumer laser printer...
It cost (according to Wikipedia) around about £4000, and (I vividly recall this) there was one diagram - simple black and white with a number of curves - that took literally twenty minutes to print.
This is Moore's Law in action, which basically says that the density of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every two years with advances in technology. By extension, most measures of bang per buck in technology (for want of a better term) also double every two years. Hence the contrast between my inkjet, and that LaserWriter, and (for example) the rate at which computers are getting more powerful, hard disk is getting cheaper and (ironically) software is getting more bloated - although you could make a case for the latter being an adaptation of Parkinson's Law. :)
More relevant to the hobby this blog is about, is the fact that 3D printers are already quite a way down that curve - the analogue to the expensive business LaserWriter happened about 5 or 6 years ago, and we're now at the 'Maplin will sell you a basic 3D printer for £600' stage. It's only going to get cheaper, as this Kickstarter suggests. People are already 3D printing tanks and starships for wargames, and it's not going to be long (pace Moore's Law) before the printing resolution improves, and the price drops, to the point where 3D figures in at least 28mm are affordable. The cheaper end of the market is already capable of 0.3mm resolution (not yet good enough for, say, facial detail on a 28mm) but the top end of the market is already at 1/10th of that or better.
It's coming, folks.