3D printing has many applications which includes prop making. 3D models suitable for such applications made today can later be placed in a public repository or sold to those who want to print out the model. Such examples include Shapeways where people can buy a printed version of the published 3D model. A great opportunity thing to get in on now. 3D printing, aka Rapid Prototyping, is also a great way for visual effects artists to create practical props. One can design the prop in 3D and go through an approval process before printing.
Eventually desktop manufacturing and affordable home 3D printers may allow us to select objects from a repository of 3D models and print the object. Need a new set of kitchen ware? Print it out.
Scott Summit explains the current state and future potential of 3D printing.