I was a physical chemist before transitioning to instructional technology management at a top tier university. I bought and assembled a Makerbot TOM for proof-of-concept pieces across disciplines. More recently, we've purchased a Solidoodle printer and are using the printers with courses in art and biology. I've also been fortunate enough to present a session on 3D printing at Educause 2012, a large educational conference (see http://www.educause.edu/annual-conference/2012/low-cost-3d-printing-hands-course-use ). Our 3D printing blog is at http://blog.richmond.edu/ti3d .
At home I'm a big DIYer and had designed my children's 2-tower playset in Sketchup and ended up using it for construction plans as well.