I didn't see a thread on this, and GW general seems like the right place to discuss 3D printing and its implications for GW and every other miniatures manufacturer.
Short version: 3d models are now at the level of detail that can trigger a DMCA response from GW's US arm. It's just happened.
Here's the Wired story: http://www.wired.com/design/2012/05/...ing-patent-law
If first saw this on ICv2 here: http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/23026.html
Here's my very brief write up written for my gaming club if you're interested: http://qlegs.wordpress.com/2012/06/0...-print-a-like/
This is going to be complex. As a consumer I feel little other than optimism at the way this technology is coming along. The idea of being able to design, swap and build items including terrain seems great to me.
Obviously a company like Privateer Press or Games Workshop would feel differently. My first thought is that the bigger threat is to makers of historical miniatures, since you can copyright your own specific figures, but not a viking, WW2 German, or whatever. For the likes of GW this opens up another front where they have to be vigilant. It also opens up a massive opportunity, but we'll see if they feel the same way.