Well I broke down and let my better half buy me a 3D printer - Printrbot Simple 2014 Kit with aluminum bed and metal extruder mechanism. Here are some pictures I took during unboxing and the build.
Unfortunately I will have to wait a week to test the printing as 1 bolt was missing. I did very much enjoy the actual building (5 hours straight thru). I guess the maker in me will find the total experience greater for having done the build and then knowing exactly what is happening as I start printing objects with it.