@Caleb: ...and several for under $500. Check out Solidoodle for that price range.
Oooh!!! That does look REALLY tasty!!!
When I was in Norway I saw a 3D printer at the university of Oslo that allowed you to print with two materials -- one could be easily disolved away -- this let you create things like interwined parts -- I'm guessing the Solidoodle doesn't have this capability?
Another thought is that you could find a local hackerspace or 3d printer club. Most hackerspaces have a 3d printer now and many offer daily rates for equipment use (as opposed to a monthly membership). The advantage here is that there is probably a knowledgeable person to walk you through the nuances of the machine.
Max- Kickstarter is your best bet. Just start a campaign to buy a 3D printer and give each contributor a small % of time on the machine. You host it in your lab and provide access to it over the web. You probably need to add the cost of an 'intern' to manage the hosting but I bet you could get a good deal from a manufacturer as part of the campaign. Try it! (Or find a volunteer to do it for you...)
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