To sum it up. Basic investments: printer 445 Euro (WANHAO Duplicator i3 with minor customizing) 2017-08-19 edit: Finance office refunded the VAT to me (19%). I am a freelancer and run a mighty one-man-enterprise. So I paid 360 Euro only. CAD-software 850 Euro (Rhino 3D) same edit: means 689 Euro. 1300 Euro to start at the lower consumer area is okay for me. The results are not overwhelming but satisfying - as expected. The conclusion from nearly five years testing phase is: You should know what you want and how to realize it. Hard- and software doesn't matter that much. Knowledge and experiance count! The best way to check out the use of 3d-printing is to set up a meaningful goal. Once I saw a picture: And I thought by myself: "Wow yeah, that's pretty cool! I would like to have this babe sitting at the corner of my window." That was the basic idea. I had a real need to realize it. I own a 3d-printer and some software. Can I model this woman? No. I am a mechanical engineer. I can make rectangular and circular geometries. But I will fail with natural bodies. And here comes the tricky part: How to get a good 3d-model? I ordered it from an experianced modeler (Eugene Petrov, ZBrush). Costs: US$ 400. I called her Mallory according Mallory Kane in the movie Haywire. The goal is to get a photo of my printed and painted figure wich looks nearly like the original photo. I've made a first comparison in 3DS Max: Not perfect yet but acceptable for me so far. Eugene sent a splitted model to me: The reason for the splitting is simply a manufacturing issue. It's easier to paint single parts. Old Eugene made a very poor version of the Desert Eagle. So I decided to make my own version. I searched for an existing good free 3d-model, used it as base to build a new one wich was waterproof and merged it to model. Next important question: How big shall Mallory be? Half a meter seemed comfortable to me: Well, my printer's volume is 200x200x180 as shown in red in the picture: Not that big challenge, I think. I can split the model into smaller parts. But there are other challenges. How can I print the parts without or with less suspension? How can I fit the parts together? How can I stick the parts together? How can I make the figure stable? My printer uses PLA. There is no glue that helps with PLA. In difference to ABS wich can be sticked easy by Aceton. Vice versa: I'm afraid you can make a tank for Aceton from PLA. So what to do to connect parts. The idea is to print a holow part with locking device, thin wall (0,8 mm) and fill it half with nearly fluid gypsum. Then add the next part and fill it half again with gypsum. So the print is the outer hull only. It can be thin - fast to print. The gypsum will deliver connection, stability and weight. That's the theory and what I'm trying atm. Printing the upper body atm: The pink parts are the "connectors" wich will be printed seperately. They define the accurate positition. This is an important part of the story. The printer isn't very accurate. It squeezes all dimensions by 0,1 to 0,2 mm. Holes are smaller than the original model and shafts are bigger. Using seperate connectors offer the ability to change the connectors only if they don't work correctly and print them again quickly.