I worked very hard on my PhD thesis, and I think it would be cool to have a nicely bound physical copy of it. I’m simply wondering if obtaining one is a common thing to do.
I had three personal copies made, although at my own expense, but it was offered as a normal option during the thesis submission paperwork with the graduate division.
In fact, at least one colleague from another university was required to have multiple copies made and submitted to the university library.
Once all three readers approved my Ph.D. thesis, my university required me to submit 3 loose-leaf hardcopies printed on heavy-weight archival-grade (e.g., acid-free) paper. I voluntarily had four additional bound hardcopies made of the thesis: One each for myself, my parents, my parents-in-law, and my main advisor. If I remember correctly, the bound copies were typeset on regular-weight regular-quality paper.
It's a pretty common thing to do, go for it.
It's also a pretty common thing to then never look at it, and throw it away when you're downsizing your house 15 years later.
It's also not unusual to not be able to find it that one time you could actually use it, and therefore have to refer to your electronic version.
Source: my and spouse's personal experience.
Facetiousness aside, you should do whatever you feel like, and enjoy the pride that comes from the accomplishment. And if you do print it out for yourself or others, it's far from being strange!
The requirements depend on the University. In my case, I was only required to submit a single hardcopy as well as a version in pdf.
Any additional copies were a personal choice. At the time I was getting frustrated and only the library copy was bound according to the university's specification. However I had additional copies bound for less (I think about 10£ cheaper a copy) at my former undergraduate university which were given to my supervisors and family. Did I have a copy for myself? I don't even remember anymore... Though I know it would be meaningless given that I have the pdf and can also always get a copy of my own pdf from the "White Rose Grid" where the electronic copy is publicly accessible.
It can be noted, that the custom of publishing a thesis with a proper ISBN as would be done in Germany does NOT exist in the UK. So this is country specific.
It is (or maybe was, definitely still in 2006) also possible in the UK to have a thesis that is not accessible to the public as it is labelled "commercially sensitive". As a result the library will not give you a copy, however the former supervisor may if they have a copy. (And whether it is truly commercially sensitive is a different discussion.)
So to sum it up: To get the degree you need only fulfil the requirements of the university. (For me this was pass the viva, have corrections approved is necessary, 1 hard copy submitted according to university specifications plus the pdf.0
For yourself you can do whatever you want. Print them personally, have them bound as the university copy - differently. Have gilder pages, have no copy - whatever you like. It is your choice. In addition, easily accessible computer storage was not standard just a few decades ago. Some people would have a copy of their thesis because that was the only way they could easily retain a good copy of it. Today, the digital version is possibly of greater use to the majority of people, so whether you retain a hard copy for yourself is truly your own choice today. (In my case I also believe I have better books to put on a bookshelf... But hey, nobody can tear a thesis apart better than the original author and life has, unfortunately, carried me out of the academic sphere into industry. Still, I am at present happy with my job so I shouldn't complain and who knows what the future holds. Anyway, I'm rambling now and should better stop ;))
By the time I got around to defending, my university and program only required electronic submission (this had changed in the final year or two of my program). I was a lazy and cheap grad student who was already working a full-time job, and so I never got around to having hardbound copies produced. I was rude, so nobody got a hardbound version. Everybody got a review copy on paper that I bound myself using that plastic comb binding system, which I could do because my job had one of the machines and the supplies and was happy to supply them if it meant I graduated sooner. I still feel a bit guilty about not doing it whenever the subject comes up. Not even my advisor got a properly bound one.
UMI/ProQuest should have a copy of my dissertation online if somebody wants it, and I can still build it from LaTeX and image sources if someone asks me directly. I'd be happy to just give someone a copy if they asked since I think the build procedure Just Works™. It's also, supposedly, in the Library of Congress, because UMI put a copy on file there as part of the copyright registration. I don't know if you can get a copy from the LoC.