Fabbaloo managed to lay our hands on a sample 3D print from Solido, one of the major commercial 3D printer manufacturers. The print, in the image above, is a palm-sized horse. We were very impressed with the strength of the object - it's quite stiff to handle, and according to Solido's website, prints are suitable for direct use as moulds for silicon based materials. While the Z layers were detectable by eye and even by touch, they did not detract from the overall structure of the object. The material is quite translucent, as you can see.
Solido, if you don't know, has a unique method of 3D printing: the layers are not from powder or liquid, they instead use solid plastic sheets as build layers, literally. A sheet forms a layer, where the excess (non-object) portion is removed. Layers are fastened with a special cartridge-based glue. The unused build material may be sent back to Solido for recycling. A kit contains 7.5 Kg of material and costs approximately USD$385-407, depending on color. For some reason, Blue and Black are more expensive than Amber and Cream.
That leads us to one issue with this otherwise inexpensive approach: you can print only one color at a time, based on the material roll installed in the USD$15,000 Soldio SD300 3D printer. Of course, it's possible to paint the printed models afterwards.
This approach is a lot cleaner than dusty powder or sloppy liquid solutions used by other manufacturers and is likely quite suitable for use in office locations. And we like the horse, too.