Newbie question: I don't own a 3D Printer yet,

Newbie question: I don’t own a 3D Printer yet, but I noted that the controller on the Makerbot Rep 2 that it has a “pause” feature. Is this something that’s just a software driven command that is easily done with other printers?

All of the open printer host projects I’m aware of include a pause button for when you are running a print over USB. The popular firmwares also can be paused while running an SD card print by sending an M25 code.

If you’re not using an SD card to print but hook your printer up to a PC or Mac via USB, your host software which controls the printer (e.g. the popular Printrun / pronterface) will have a pause / resume button that you can press anytime during a print.