Rise of the Machines

Consider these guidelines before purchasing a 3-D printerThe Star Trek–esque promise of conjuring objects out of thin air in some distant future remains, sadly, out of reach. But 3-D printing, when executed at its highest levels, harnesses at least a smidgen of that sci-fi magic. And for jewelry retailers, the technology of so-called additive manufacturing offers opportunities galore: from creating an in-house collection to adding a custom design studio to the business. “The 3-D printers are changing the way a consumer can interact with ­jewelry,” says Bill Letwin, manager for 3-D printer brand EnvisionTEC’s ­jewelry division. “And you can be a little guy in Nome, Alaska, and make international designs at a caliber that would compete with any major [brand].” If you’re thinking of investing in a 3-D printer, know that prices are dropping as machine makers are meet

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