I did buy the 3d printer Prusa i3 mk2. (In US I think Makerbot is more common?)
I haven't had time to fiddle so much, but I did find a working chain from design to finished robot, and you probably dig this since there are loads of free programs to work in. Cheap electronics and free controllerprograms.
What you probably want to print a character in would be a liquid printer and not an extruder. The liquid fluid printer has a very high resolution compared to extruded prints. I understand that a liquid printers cost several thousand dollars, but apparently you could build them yourself cheap. My brother is building one liquid printer right now and mechanically they are not that difficult compared to a regular 3d printer. The fluid however has its own ecosystem, smells, and is quite expensive.
Every menu in these 3d model/print programs seem to have a button for online 3d print, so if you just want to print a single model, that should be very easy.
Personally I would model a character in clay, thats more fun
This is a successful gear test with a stepper motor and 3d printed parts combined with bearings and threaded rods.