Let’s Profit From the Birth of This Brand New Industry

19 | By Michael A. Robinson

When I first started writing about 3D printing, most investors viewed it as a futuristic “gee-whiz” concept – and had no idea it was actually a “here-and-now” technology they could make money on.

And the mainstream news media didn’t seem to know that this 3D technology even existed.

Today, as you know, many of the 3D stocks (including some that I’ve identified) have soared … and then fallen back to earth. Some pundits claim this was nothing but hype – or another tech bubble that now has burst.

Still others are writing this off as little more than a novelty niche.

Don’t make that mistake.

With 3D printing, we’re in the earliest stages of what’s destined to become an entire new industry.

And, as I’m going to show you today, the profit potential is massive.

So massive, in fact, that even toy companies are making a play for market share.

Wobble Works LLC, a toy and robotics maker, has unveiled a pen called the “3Doodler” that allows you to “draw” three-dimensional forms (in a demo video, the user draws a tiny desktop model of the Eiffel Tower … it’s awesome!).

Even though 3Doodler was created by a toymaker, the fast-developing 3D printing world opens the door to some serious business potential, as well.

3Doodler makes it possible for all kinds of creative types to “draw” such 3D designs as bridges, towers and cars – making it a great potential tool for engineers, architects and designers who want to quickly transform an idea into a basic prototype. All you have to do is draw out your idea on a piece of paper.

Or even in the air for that matter…

What 3Doodler has done is to lay a foundation for a new 3D printing segment – low-cost, portable machines that will unshackle these creative users. Laptops had the same effect when they were introduced in the 1980s: Office-workers were no longer shackled to their desks … or their desktop PCs. They were able to work wherever they wanted.

Tablets and smartphones have furthered that trend.

The same will happen with low-cost 3D printer/prototyping devices. They will allow “creative” work to be done anywhere at any time.

3Doodler’s debut is important to investors for three main reasons.

First, as a proof of business concept, Wobble Works has raised nearly $2 million on “crowdsourcing” site, where you can view a video of the pen in action here.

Second, it will help open the lower-end of the market to a whole new group of buyers who might be put off by the price of today’s $1,300 entry-level printers.

And finally, 3Doodler shows how quickly this market is moving in a trend that is destined to bring us lots more profit plays.

Earlier this week, I told you how a new alliance between software leader Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) and tiny bioprinting firm Organovo Holdings Inc. (OTC: ONVO) will transform drug discovery and organ transplants.

In the past, I’ve also have told you about the huge success and massive stock gains for industry leader 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) as well its arch rival Stratasys Ltd. (NasdaqGS: SSYS).

Today, I want to tell you about three more ways you can play the 3D printing market.

ExOne IPO Pops 25%

Right now, The ExOne Co. (NasdaqGM: XONE) is probably best known for its recent successful IPO. Priced at $18, shares rose 25% on the first day of trading Feb. 7.

Since then, the company’s top brass has gotten more serious about proving it’s not just a “me-too” company.

Indeed, CEO Kent Rockwell recently told Investors Business Daily he see sharp differences between ExOne and the two biggest firms in the market, 3D Systems and Stratasys. (Until a recent correction, both had been among the market’s top-performing stocks.)

Unlike those bigger firms, ExOne focuses exclusively on large industrial firms such as aerospace, automotive and heavy-equipment makers. More importantly, Rockwell says, ExOne’s printers can handle a wider range of materials.

These tougher materials allow ExOne printers to make production-grade objects and castings from stainless steel, bronze, glass, and ceramics.

ExOne is also working on ways to use titanium, tungsten carbide, aluminum and magnesium – stock-in-trade materials for heavy industry.

Proto Labs Focuses on Fast Product Production

For its part, Proto Labs Inc. (NYSE: PRLB) doesn’t flash its 3D printing credentials. Instead, the firm bills itself as a high-speed provider of prototypes … and small batch runs of the injection-molded plastic parts that are integral to a wide range of modern products and components.

It’s a unique view. Where 3D Systems and Stratasys see themselves as printer companies, Proto Labs believes it’s selling “solutions” to customer problems. It’s selling fast-delivery times – a service that designers and engineers can use to quickly transform their three-dimensional designs into actual parts.

Proto Labs turns out those parts using a process known as computer numerical code. It uses engineering-grade resins as well as metals. The firm’s “Protomold” plastic injection service offers designers hundreds of materials to choose from.

The firm went public in February 2012. It says its strategy or philosophy works particularly well for such markets as medical devices, electronics, appliances, automotive and consumer products.

iRobot Wants to Transform 3D Manufacturing

Even though it’s a household name, iRobot Corp. (NasdaqGS: IRBT), remains the most speculative 3D printing play.

That’s because it’s still in the early stages of making its move into the sector. The firm is best known for its range of military and home-cleaning robots.

But it does have a unique idea that could have a huge impact on how a wide range of products are made – not to mention a new source of sales for this small-cap leader.

Simply stated, it wants to automate the entire 3D printing process. iRobot says that’s the idea behind a new “Robotic Fabricator” for which the firm recently filed for patent protection.

As iRobot sees it, 3D printing still involves too much human input which is inefficient.

It also represents opportunity.

iRobot still hasn’t said if it will sell the fabricators to other firms or simply use them to boost profits.

As I said at the outset, 3D printing stocks have come under pressure after enjoying quite a run.

Don’t let that deter you.

Here in the Era of Radical Change, we’re watching the birth of a crucial new industry.

That doesn’t happen often. But when it does, the profit opportunities are massive.

We’ll continue to steer you toward the most-bullish opportunities, and will help you avoid the bearish traps.

And we’ll provide the detailed progress reports that you’ve come to expect from us… all along the way.

19 Responses to Let’s Profit From the Birth of This Brand New Industry

    • Herman Kurth says:

      I have been a tool and die maker since 1961. 3 D printing
      will make my profession obsolete. I am taking courses to program
      3D printers and ;probably make a fortune by getting in on the
      ground floor of 3D printing. My grandson works at Flight services
      in Marysville Washington. They are all ready 3D printing trim for some
      of there products. Sincerely Herman Kurth.

      • William Patalon III says:

        Dear Herman:

        My name is William Patalon, and I’m the executive editor here at Money Map Press. I work very closely with Michael Robinson, who is a truly gifted tech expert … and a great colleague.

        I saw your note, and was so impressed that I wanted to answer your note personally.

        First, kudos to you. You’re a very wise man. Not only that, but also allow me to say that you deserve a great deal of our respect … not only were you wise enough to see a shift …. you’re courageous enough to react to it.

        If more folks had your “intangibles,” our economy would be in much better shape today. That’s one thing that’s great about Money Map Press, however. Our readers are generally very sharp folks …. they keep us on our toes … but at the same time they’re a pleasure to write for.

        Your note resonated with me for several reasons. First, my late grandfather — my Dad’s father — was a machinist for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Scranton. So I grew up having a great respect for folks that were able to make things.

        My Dad has that skill. Even though he’s a retired engineer, and has two degrees in Physics (one from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh), he’s very much a “hands-on” guy who has helped me with my plumbing, remodel rooms in my house and, when I was younger, build (and rebuild) hot rods.

        My best friend (other than my Dad and my wife), is a high school friend named Harry, who I’ve mentioned in many Private Briefing columns. He’s tremendously gifted, and can make just about anything from a block of metal.

        We both graduated from High School in 1979. I’ve had to watch him make multiple adjustments in his career, and move from one company to the next as employers folded, jobs were eliminated, and industries restructured.

        Because of those experiences watching my grandfather (seeing the railroads become less and less important) and my best friend, I have a great understanding for what you are dealing with.

        But you have made the decision to deal with it, and in doing so have displayed great insight, wisdom and courage. And for that, I cannot convey any more sincerely than this how much respect you deserve, and have earned.

        I hope we hear from you again.

        William Patalon III
        Executive Editor
        Money Morning & Private Briefing

  1. Mark Hinkel says:

    I beleive what all these ingenious products have in in common is the need for resinence fields, electro-magnetic resinence fields in order for the device to make objects more accurately. These will need to pre-programed into a computer as the medium for memory, and accualization, of substance into the 3rd Demension. Dig?

  2. Michael Vaughan says:

    I’m really excited as to how this will develope over the next decade. Eventually this type of printing will become an everyday household item just like the smart phone. I personally can’t wait to buy my first printer:-)

  3. C. Michael Mercincavage says:

    Thank you for a comprehensive snapshot of what’s out there in comercially available in 3-D printing and “rapid prototyping” applications. These applications combined with the availability of many robust 3-D solid modellers, application interface capabilities and coupled with an ever-growing availability of printing and prototyping materials (metallic compounds and polymers) makes it much more likely for growth in this, important industry segment. How much and how rapid the growth ?
    Initial investment, on-going expense, end-user efficiency and friendliness and the quality of parts produced will drive the answer. My hopes are high.

  4. Jimmy says:

    In term of company fundament and products, which company will present the greatest opportunity? Thanks.

  5. Jill Smith says:

    great article. I’ve been learning more about this as it fascinates me. Was telling people about it at a lunch..

    You can put me on your mailing list.

  6. Jeanna says:

    I bought both DDD & SSYS when I first read about them! It is the way of the future but picking out the next from those you just discussed it hard All a great new world and exciting. Thanks for keeping me interested and so informed!!

  7. Marvin says:

    As a child in the early fifties I remember going to my first movie in Technicolor. It was “Alice in Wonderland”.

    After scrolling through the newsreels in black and white the lights went out. There was a moment of silence and darkness. My heart was pounding in anticipation.

    A drumroll began and light began to appear. Low and behold I thought God must be getting ready to appear in person. The most vivid imagery imaginable came to life on the big screen. I was thrilled.

    What is next . . . 3-D printing . . . in technicolor?

  8. Frank says:

    I’m old enough to remember the term ”computers” in the early 70’s. Being uneducated about them, I wondered if a friend was making a mistake going to school and changing jobs to a ”computer” company. I have been reading more and more about 3D printing and it made me remember my thinking regarding ”computers” in the 70’s and if they would ever work. The applications in all fields of replication are tremendous.I bought some DDD last week, am still looking at SSYS and other 3D companies but I didn’t think of the businesses related to 3D printing. Back to more research. A great article – thanks.

  9. Steve Graves says:

    Should I sell out my SSYS holdings to jump into the newer players in the industry. I’m down nearly 26% with SSYS at the moment.

  10. Norma R. says:

    I’m fascinated with this new field of technology.. I’ve been following DDD from early times all the way to where it is now… Now I think it might be at a height and so I still watch it and have missed it’s growth… but I would like to know more about the field..

    Thank you for your information.. I appreciate anything related to this…….


  11. Ronnie Deniger says:

    I have been using a 3D printer for 5 years not even knowing it. I am a Dentist and we have this technology for making crowns, onlays , inlays and custom abutments. The company is Sirona and the machine is known as the Cerec system. We take digital pictures using a small camera of the prepared tooth and that data is used to make a crown. The crown shape appears on a computor screen and then I have total control of customizing it digitally. After I finish then that information is sent to the milling unit( the printer) which then takes a compressed block of porcelain and within 10 minutes I have a crown ready to place in the patiet’s mouth. So my patients do not have to wear a temporary crown for two weeks and have to return to have the lab crown delivered. Cerec crowns are far superior in strength and precision of fit than regular PFM crowns. I believe this 3D printing will be huge for other industries as well.

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