This is indeed an issue for the emerging 3D print services: people want to make things, but few are experienced 3D modelers capable of designing anything, let alone something terrific.
Some companies have gone about solving this problem by having a wide selection of different professionally designed items, such as Ponoko or more recently Shapeways. But today we bumped into a rather unique solution: boxing gloves!
No, we're definitely not kidding. Fluid-forms provides a real punching bag, presumably fitted with a ton of sensors. The "designer", wearing actual boxing gloves, simply hits the bag in any manner desired - or even kicks it with their feet if a certified Karate master. The bag's sensor results are then transferred to a sophisticated computer model that gradually accumulates the effects of the punches on a digital model. Eventually a unique shape is created, and this 3D model can then be printed into reality.
How does the punching bag get into your living room? Well, it doesn't actually. Fluid-Forms provides a mouse-click interface to simulate the boxing match. Not quite as fun as doing it live, but still interesting.
One wonders what other haptic design solutions might emerge.