A pretty exciting development in Rapid Prototyping is the combination of old and new technologies to give users even more materials choices. For example, RP company Shapeways announced yesterday that users can now order parts in silver, which should be a boon to jewelry designers, among others.
The part is not actually printed in silver, of course; a Shapeways user's design is printed in resin, and that resin is then cast the good ol' fashioned way in silver. Shapeways handles all of it and ships you the end product. The results in silver are fairly affordable: Roughly $40 for a ring-sized piece. One nice thing is that the company charges by the actual amount of material used—in this case, $40 per cubic centimeter—and not by the overall size, as some other RP companies charge by.