What I tell people who are thinking about 3d printing is: if you have a specific project, that needs 3d printing, for which going through shapeways or something is either uneconomical (because you're going to need six tries to get your widget dimensioned correctly) or too slow (you're going to be making a ton of different prototype widgets) then a home 3d printer may be a good idea for you. Otherwise, you'll get it, print an octopus and a tardis, and then it'll gather dust and you'll kick yourself for having spent the money.
With that said, if you do have a specific project, and you use the printer for that, you will get enough time on it, and more specifically on using the software to make models, that you will have basically mastered the learning curve, and suddenly you'll be printing a lot of other things, that you didn't ever even think about making.
I'm co-owner of a plus-size mendelmax 2. We got it to print prototype circuit board adapters so we could stick x board on y piece of hardware. Once we'd gotten that hammered out, the other guy who owns it has printed a plug for his sewer drain, a rat trap for live-catch, buckets for a tiny pelton wheel generator, and I've printed lathe-holding tools, lcd bezels, automated printed circuit board test fixtures, and most of a fuel injection intake manifold for my car. We use it for everything.
But you need to have that first big complicated project that you have to get finished, to get to the point where it is a reliable tool, rather than a gadget.
With all THAT said, you'll always want a larger printer. But if the printer you have can cover 95% of your jobs, that's a whole lot better than none at all. Based on the stuff I've made, this printer could handle 95% of the demands I have, and there's always shapeways for the other 5%.