The Next Move In This “Ground Floor” Profit Opportunity Starts Now

54 | By Terry Weiss, Associate Publisher, Money Map Press

If you don’t know about 3D printing, you need to.

Just a few years ago – before most folks even knew what it was – Michael Robinson said the 3D printing market was experiencing scorching growth, and said it would very quickly turn into a trillion-dollar business.

But here’s the best part: Because of new technologies – not to mention all sorts of new uses that seem to be increasing by the day – Michael says that investors who move right now can get in on the “ground floor” of that trillion-dollar opportunity.

To talk about the profit opportunity that 3D printing poses, and to give you a rundown on some of the players, Michael sat down for a conversation this week with Money Map Press Executive Editor William Patalon. Here’s a transcript of their talk.

Take the time to peruse it: As Michael says, openings like this come along maybe one or two times in every investor’s lifetime …

Patalon (Q): Michael, we saw this week that auction site heavyweight eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) announced several initiatives involving the hot 3D printing market. Just what is 3D printing? Some analysts continue to say it’s a novelty … but you identified it very early on as a major investment opportunity. Just what are the growth prospects? What kind of upside are we looking at here … from a sector or business standpoint?

Michael (A): Bill, this field is anything but a novelty. Not long ago, one of the players in this space was able to 3D “print” human heart tissue and to get that artificial “organ” to beat like a real heart. That company is still in its earliest stages, but is now coming on strong and attracting a lot of investor interest.

The success of Organovo Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ONVO) is significant for a couple of reasons.

First, Organovo was formerly traded over the counter and just switched to the “Big Board” only days ago. The stock is up some 208% over the past year.

Second, biotech can greatly benefit from 3D printing. The technology can be used to print medical devices as well as implants like replacement knees and shoulders. A woman in Europe recently had her jaw replaced with an artificial one doctors “printed” using titanium powder.

Let me just add that the eBay announcement is further proof the 3D industry is about to go mainstream. It comes after big box retailer Staples Inc. (NasdaqGS: SPLS) said in May that it will soon begin selling an entry-level printer made by industry leader 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD). We’re just at the tipping point where this technology breaks big and has a huge impact throughout the global economic supply chain.

Patalon (Q): What’s the technology behind 3D printing? Is it fully developed – you know, “market ready?” Or is there still a ways to go?

Michael (A): I’ll explain just how it works in a moment, but first let me emphasize – and this is important to understand – that this technology is fully developed. In fact, we are now in the early phases of what I would consider to be “advanced uses.” For instance, aircraft manufacturers want to go from prototypes and making some parts to printing huge sections of wings and other critical components.

Now then, technically speaking, 3D “printing” doesn’t work like an ink-jet printer that shoots ink onto a page to form letters, words, sentences and images like pictures or charts. Instead, a 3D printer lays down successive layers of materials composed of special powders – like plastics and metals – and a binding agent.

Patalon (Q): I have to say – and I’m taking off my “serious journalist” hat here – that sounds very cool … very “the future is now.”

Michael (A): (Laughing) You know, you’re right. It is very cool. And it’s not just because of what it can make. It’s the fact that you can actually achieve productive objectives with this … as you said … very cool technology.

The printer simply follows a 3D blueprint or diagram. For that reason, the uses of 3D printing are nearly endless – and I truly mean endless. We’re talking, here, about finished products that span everything from custom-made guitars … to auto parts … to medical devices and implants … to novelty items. And that same technology can be used to make what is known as “rapid prototypes” of thousands of products, greatly saving money for a wide range of consumer product firms and manufacturers.

In terms of equipment, you can buy an entry-level, consumer-grade device for as little as $1,299. But manufacturers can buy huge, state-of-the-art machines that can run well over $100,000.

Patalon (Q): I know that you’ve said to me that this is like investing in a brand-new industry … that this is the chance to get in on the ground floor of something very special.

Michael (A): That’s just it, Bill. Even though the industry has been around for 20 years or so and is fully mature in some ways, the fact that we’re just now finding all these new potential uses … and that’s what has energized 3D printing and turned it into what is essentially an entirely “new” business.

It’s that rare situation where you have an established industry that’s still on the cutting edge that has been supercharged by new technologies and new uses.

Patalon (Q): All those new uses … and new technologies … including those created by things like new “home” printer … which has effectively created a new consumer market?

Michael (A): Yes, yes … exactly. That’s exactly right. I’m talking about those new uses for 3D technology.

If you can’t tell (laughing), I’m really jazzed about this. I’m a lover and user of technology myself, so I get excited when I see something like this taking hold. And you’re a gadget guy yourself, Bill, so I know you understand what I’m saying.

And this is doubly exciting for me … as the editor of both the Strategic Technology Investor and Radical Technology Profits services … I see big – and I mean BIG – profit opportunities for my people.

All of this … all of this together … is what makes this so exciting and potentially profitable for savvy investors who know how to play this sector.

Bill … the bottom line here … and I can’t underscore this enough … is that this kind of thing doesn’t happen that often – but when it does you need to jump on it.

Patalon (Q): Who are the big users – on the industrial side? Is there a mass commercial market here? And tell us more about the consumer-market potential, since that’s part of what seems to have brought this technology into the mainstream.

Michael (A): The list of users would run several pages at least. Organizations like Fender, the musical equipment firm, Bell + Howell, Adidas, NASA (Mars Rover), Logitech, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, and Xerox. Trust me on this: I’m barely scratching the surface of known users.

Having said that, there is a mass commercial market out there on the industrial side. That’s pretty much a given as 3D printing increases its penetration on an almost-weekly basis in just about every industry you can think of.

On the consumer side, no one really seems to know just how big that market is now and how far it will go. But the thing to keep in mind here is that there is a massive potential market of several million users on a global basis who are part of what’s called the “maker movement.”

Patalon (Q): That’s intriguing … what’s that?

Michael (A): These are folks who like building things on their own … you know, the hobbyists in many fields and creative types like designers and architects. Just think what it would be like to conceive – on your own – an idea for a radical new bicycle design … and then being able to “print” most of the parts yourself. And then sell it within weeks. It’s heady stuff.

Patalon (Q): It sure seems to be. So let’s try to flesh this out for the readers … and quantify, if we can a bit, what this really means. In terms of sector growth, what is the upside in terms of dollars, revenue, and similar metrics? How long will it take to achieve true critical mass? What are the catalysts here … you know, the global business drivers that can transform this picture that you’re sketching out into a true reality?

Michael (A): The basic number I’ve seen tossed around and have used myself is a total market value of roughly $1 trillion.

Patalon (Q): Wait, Michael … I’ve talked to you a lot about this over the past year or so … so I’ve heard your estimate before. But I want to make sure the folks who are reading this understand what you just said. You said “trillion” … trillion with a “t.” So we’re talking about a business with some real heft here. I mean … we’ve become so used to big numbers that they sometimes don’t make the impact that they should. At a trillion dollars, we’re talking about a market that’s roughly on par with … perhaps just a bit smaller than … the entire economy of the country of South Korea.

Michael (A): Yes. This is a big, big potential market. When I said that I get excited for my readers and subscribers, this is why. There’s the potential to make some serious money here.

Let’s break that down. It includes the dollar value of the printers, and supplies as well as the economic impact of getting this technology throughout the economic supply chain.

The actual industry’s sales will, of course, be much smaller. The market research firm Global Industry Analysts (GIA) estimates total sector sales of $3 billion by 2018, about a 3-fold increase from 2012. Forbes estimates sales of $5.2 billion by 2020.

Patalon (Q): And I saw where Lux Research just said $8.4 billion in 2025.

Michael (A): There you go … follow that trajectory and you see that this is, as you said, a business with some “heft.”

Within a decade, for instance, remote outposts like oil rigs and ships will be able to print replacement parts on the fly. Two months ago, a U.S. Navy expert wrote a commentary saying that 3D printing could transform the way Marines and sailors build and repair aircraft, design shelters, produce food, treat injuries – perhaps even printing their own ammo and drones.

Just the military ramifications alone could be worth several billion dollars a year. That same thing will happen in shipbuilding, car and aircraft manufacturing, plumbing and lighting fixtures, electrical components and more.

Patalon (Q): And it’s not just the size of the business – it’s the rate of growth … correct? I mean, high rates of growth are what translate into high rates of growth in share prices, and high Price/Earnings (P/E) multiples for the shares themselves.

Michael (A): When I say that “the road to wealth is paved by tech,” that’s why. High growth rates translate into high investment returns – especially when they are compounded over extended periods of time. I talk about turning $25,000 into $250,000 … over reasonable periods of time … well, you can’t do that investing in businesses that are growing at a few percentage points a year. But you can do it investing in good companies that are in high-growth businesses. I talk about focusing on stocks that can double your money … you can do that with some of the “special situations” that I’ve told my readers about. But they only come along once in a while. So you’re mostly looking to do that by investing in industries with high rates of growth. And by picking truly good companies in those industries.

Patalon (Q): What can we derive from the eBay announcement? What does this tell us?

Michael (A): The eBay news shows how global the industry has become. eBay says it will sell items printed on machines from companies based in Canada, France and the U.S. And the industry is going mobile – eBay users buy the products after downloading an app to their iPhones.

Right now, the app is currently limited to items like jewelry, iPhone cases and metal rings whose costs are limited to about $350. From that standpoint, the firm appears to be starting with low-cost novelty items – you know, items for an online “flea market.”

Patalon (Q): But it’s a start.

Michael (A): Exactly. This shows just how quickly the technology is going mainstream and is good for public awareness. There will be more … lots more, in fact. Ultimately, I think eBay will find itself getting involved in more robust products as the industry continues to grow.

Patalon (Q): What should we watch in order to see this develop? What indicators or developments should we be following?

Michael (A): Right now, I’m looking to see both of the industry’s bookends expand at once. By that, I mean, I want solid industry growth and profits and additional cutting-edge applications.

I believe the industry needs to show it still has strong fundamentals following the recent round of M&A activity. So, I’d like to see solid growth in sales and profits this year and next.

At the lab level, NASA is looking at ways to 3D print food for deep space missions. And a Harvard research team recently demonstrated the technology can be used to print batteries the size of grains of sand, which could power a wide range of miniaturized electronics.

So, I’m looking for continued proof that investors can make money today while scientists use 3D printing technology to have a major impact on the world of the near future.

Patalon (Q): And I’m sure you’ll keep your subscribers informed about any new developments and new opportunities that you see – as you see them …

Michael (A): You can count on that. We talk about a lot of things here at STI … my five rules for tech-investing wealth … the objective of finding double-your-money stocks … and most important of all the goal of helping my readers avoid the fate of so many “no-net-worth” Americans. These are all important concepts. They’re the foundation for everything what we do here.

Patalon (Q): Thanks, Michael.

[Editor’s Note: Your feedback is very important. As always, I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Post a comment below … I look forward to hearing from you.]

54 Responses to The Next Move In This “Ground Floor” Profit Opportunity Starts Now

  1. Mary Dale says:

    Thank you for your information. It is interesting on many levels – not just from a financial stand point but also to be aware of the trends for tomorrow’s living.

    I would appreciate you sending me more information and advise on how best to invest in the 3M development now.

    Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    Mary Dale

  2. Aristo Kiziroglou says:

    What specific companies do you recommend we consider investing in right now that promise to give us the exceptional growth and profits that you indicate in this article within a short period of time ??

  3. warren kapsner says:

    I am as excited about 3 D as you are. I do have some stock in 3D Systems, but there are not many recommendations for companies to invest in.

    • E. Marx says:

      I’ve been keeping tabs on the sector and there are several companies that deserve a look with good bus. profiles. The ones I’ve listed here have established markets: DDD, ONVO, SSYS, DASTY. In addition there is a plethora of smaller companies that will either get bought up by one of the above, or potentially move towards their own IPO. A site called Shapeways is a good place to go trolling as they are an open website presenting the various components on offer in this sector. Hope that helps but tread cautiously as some of these stocks can be volatile.

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Brendan,

      Thanks for contacting me. I appreciate your interest. Please keep in mind these columns are not intended to be specific buy recommendations. My goal is to share insights, tips, strategies and analyses that will help tech investors improve their net worths. I am working on releasing a newsletter which will offer specific buy and sell recommendations with instructions. I hope to release this very soon. I’ll certainly keep you informed!

      Having said that, I do like DDD and follow it regularly. However, you should know that at present the stock is a bit volatile but should do well over the long haul.



  4. dennis sullivan says:

    I’m still really confused about with whom and how to invest in this 3-D invention.
    Please provide some detailed information.

  5. Mary Jane Pagan says:

    Michael, I’ve been following 3-D printing for about a year. 3-D has had a major correction; the “big gun” Stratysys is said to be trading too high. What’s an investor to do; wait for a correction. Start with ONVO?

    Thanks, as always. Lots of information and great energy in your column.

  6. Gary Broderick says:

    Michael, for investors who do not have a whole lot of
    money to invest in 3-D firms like DDD, can you please advise which investment opportunities are best for the 3-D printing at this time? DDD is way too expensive for me. Thank you!

    Gary B.

  7. Steve Graves says:

    I wonder what the cost is to operate 3D printing? Will the cost of the composite materials sometimes be prohibitive? Why not print gold coins, diamonds etc.?

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for you comment. I enjoy hearing from readers. The topic of materials came up several times in the reader comments section. So, allow me to discuss it.

      Materials are essential for 3D printing. Now then, the cost varies based on the type of materials employed, which of course is a function of what it is you are trying to build. I can’t say that I know enough about the applications to state if you could make a gold coin on a cost-effective basis. Also, refining gold to the point that the powdered substance fits into the nozzles and works with a binding agent would take some doing from a technical standpoint.

      For that reason, I don’t think right now it’s practical to print gold coins. I’m no lawyer, but there may also be legal ramifications from printing coins as opposed to ingots. Hope that helps,


  8. Dax says:

    You mentioned ONVO and it seems to be gaining traction from the uplist to NYSE. The other one DDD seems to be more established. Which is the better one to bet on now? Are there any other movers in this new field?

    Thanks, Dax

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Dax,

      I generally don’t make specific buy recommendations in Strategic Tech Investor. No stock picker has crystal ball so it’s impossible for to say for certain that DDD will definitely outperform ONVO over the next six months to two years or vice versa. Here’s the thing. DDD is a respected company with solid cash flow and earnings growth. ONVO is still pretty early stage tech but the up list to the NYSE is a major liquidity event that should help the stock. Hope that helps.

      Cheers and best wishes,


  9. mark says:

    hi there it sound good how ever. I would like to know more in detail about this great opportinuty.that sound like a winner so there you have it sum up all in what need to be adress thank you.

    yours truly mark gilmore.

  10. Sally Maine says:

    Excellent article. I am excited to read your Strategic Tech Investor & Radical Tech Profits as to what new investments to make. But, need to know how to determin the stocks to sell in my small portfolo to get in on something as exciting as this new tech.

  11. sam says:

    do you have any recommendations that are just in the begining phase of their industry like Onvo?
    Thanks for all you do

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Sam,

      I am always on the look out for these promising small and micro-cap stocks. Will absolutely pass them along. Cheers and best wishes,


  12. nicholas kitt says:

    Dear Sir:
    Thank you for any further information.
    Nicholas Kitt

  13. HARRY BOLEN says:


  14. ed hanna says:

    want to complement both interviewer and the expert on informative and professional discourse. I fail to envision how a new design is created without the input of elements or material without going into preparatory processes. Thanks

  15. Bill says:

    As an industrial designer, I see whole structures, parts of structures, parts, asemblies and most other things being “Printed”. The real challenge will come in the form of “Material” from which to fabricate
    these New items. As well as how to make them as strong, if not stronger than if they were made the
    ‘good ole fashioned way’ or: even STRONGER!
    The most telling item here is; no longer required to have massive amounts of equipment, machinery,
    and tooling here to fore required.
    Proto types (as well as finikshed products) can be quickly & easily made at a vast reduction in start-up
    costs. Anyone with a machine, or access to one, can readily do what use to be very difficult & costly.
    This truly is a new dawn in creating “Things”! .

  16. Douglas John Williams says:

    Wow can you [Pease let me know about the listing this is fantastic news “MAKE What you Want”] please send me some more information and how much are the Shares .
    Best Regards
    DJ Williams

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi DJ,

      Thanks for your interest in Strategic Tech Investor. I don’t follow the Australian exchanges regularly, so I can’t tell you the symbols or prices for the stocks in that market (or even if they are traded there.) However, if you use the symbols listed in this column you can get a load of financial and technical information for free online at Yahoo or Google

      Cheers and best wishes,


  17. Allan H says:

    As a ‘past the use by date’ observer, I see two limitations. 1. On a broad ‘home use’ spectrum the need for 3D CAD ability, and 2. on an industrial use spectrum the limitation of product requirement for special ‘pure’ material, especially with metals. Binding Agents realastically seem out of the question in many products.
    Am I correct?

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Alan,

      Good questions. While I’m not a materials scientist nor an engineer, I do know that this sector is moving rapidly and finding lots of new uses for the technology, in part based on what’s happening with materials. You might check the websites for DDD and Stratasys to see if there are white papers on the topic. That give you the type of in-depth background you seek. Good luck,


  18. Walt Rusch says:

    This is going to open up a lot of suppliers to this technology such as software development, and new local printing centers that can make a critical part with just the code received from a manufacturer thousands of miles away. How about replacement parts from discontinued products or hard to get parts. Remanufactured parts upgrading a defective design. Because they are laying down layer by layer the final product can be designed stronger with less weight.. New base products are sure to follow.

  19. Albert Manning says:

    3D Printing seems to be the future way to go, so we need to be informed what
    Companies to invest in for maximum profits. I can imagine there will be starting
    up Companies galore, and there will be a lot of older giant Companies that will
    phase in on abilities to change to uses 3D has to offer them. I see this to be
    one of the lifetime opportunities, and I thank both of you to keep all of the folks
    that subscribed to what Money Map Press offers informed as 3D progresses..

  20. Mark Hinkel says:

    What I’m writing to you is about any more information on this technology and where would I look as far as companies to invest in. Companies that will continue to use this new technology. And also the companies who are supplying the actual shall we say, Ink?

    Your Truly

    Mark Hinkel

  21. Robert says:

    3D printing sounds wonderful but I have trouble understanding where all the basic materials to use in the printers will come from especially for someone at their home. What basic materials were used to print the man made ear and the heart tissue as examples? If I wanted to print a golf ball where would I source the basic materials I would need? Would they all be powders of some sort? What materials would I need to build a functioning car engine or a T.V or an apple and where would I source these? No one seems to talk about this aspect of the 3D printing technology.

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Robert,

      Several other readers also want to know more about the materials used. I can say it is a wide range of substances but I’m not a materials scientist. As I mentioned above, I would look for white papers on the topic.

      However, and this goes for the related query above, there is a materials science website you can check out. It’s called Materials Today dot com, all one word. Search for 3D printing and you will find articles about printing lithium ion batteries and making vascular networks out of sugar. I haven’t spent a lot of time on the site reading these articles so I can’t vouch for the level of technical details. However, this appears to be a good resource to at least get you (and the other readers concerned about materials) headed in the right direction.

      Cheers and best wishes,


  22. ROBERT says:

    what would the quality be for moving parts such as spherical ball bearings for an airplane or locomotive? Will it be able to make a cell phone?
    I get lost trying to figure the best way to invest.
    I am fairly new to your tech investment ideas , but what little time I have spent reading them, I am very satisfied and looking forward to becoming more involved.

  23. B.Smits says:

    Hello, I have been reading about this 3D printing for about 3 years now but I can not remember anyone bringing up the facts as to how the materials are to be manufactured and acquired by the end user. Is the user as is likely to buy good quality materials from one source and rubbish from another? I can see many of these machines laying in garages the same as the very early computers which
    mum and dads bought because ‘they just had to have one’ but had no idea how to use them .
    How are the different materials on the same ‘printed’ item to be combined etc. etc.
    All we hear about is the ‘marvellous’ machine it self.
    Does one need a different machine for each different material used ?
    You and your collegues are to my mind very irresponsible in the way you ‘hype’ your
    brilliant ideas without giving the public the full and proper information required.
    A disappointed reader.

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi B,

      I apologize for what is clearly a misunderstanding between us. The purpose of this column is to look at investment opportunities and to analyze potentially winning stocks. We’re trying to help folks improve their net worths.

      Now then, if you want to get a high level of technical detail, I suggest you download white papers on the topic and visit the website I listed above regarding 3D printing and materials science. However, I’d like to note that 3D Systems does in fact sell materials. I also suggest you phone them, check out their various printers and see which model will handle the materials you have in mind. Hope that helps,


  24. Jackie milijash says:

    I’m nearly finished reading a book by Eric Drexler, fascinating stuff!, explains Atomically Pricise Manuracturing (APM).
    Thrilled to see the industry finally about to take off!

  25. Ray Clemens says:

    Hi Michael;

    Like your comments. Have you suggested any stocks from any of those company’s that are involved with the 3 D development parts manufacturing and what have we? If so can you drop me an email with the symbols. I thank you.


    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Ray (and Jerry)

      Thanks for your interest in this topic. I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me. First, since I’m not a broker dealer I can’t send info to any one reader via email or even by phone for that matter. So, the information I provide has to go to every one at the same time. Having said that, the idea behind making this Q/A available was to provide you readers with some key background material involving a very exciting industry. At this point, those are the only stocks I mentioning for now. Of course, if I do a follow up column in the near future I’ll try to add more companies to the list. Hope that helps.



  26. Bob says:

    Great discussion on 3D printing. It seems to me that the suppliers of these printing materials need to be highly specialized and therefore, their numbers will be small,at least initially. They also warrant looking at for investment opportunities.

  27. Pat says:

    Michael has great information on all kinds of things. Looking at the 3D stocks it seems they are slowing down. Are they in a holding pattern? ONVO just came out. All are volatile. Is one better than another or buy some of each. Who knows where to go!!!!!!!!

  28. Norm says:

    I too am very interested in, as Aristo Kiziroglou says: “What specific companies do you recommend we consider investing in right now that promise to give us the exceptional growth and profits that you indicate in this article within a short period of time ??”

    I might add however, the longer horizon is also of interest!!!
    With sincere gratitude.
    P.S. What about the Blades to go with the Razor (Supplies)???

  29. Charlie D says:

    I worked in engineering for years and watched the old drafting boards give way to first 2D computer based drafting ie AutoCad to where we are today with high in 3D Computer design systems. We had our growing pains and really didn’t understand how those systems could and would be used in the future. I think you can see today everything is done on 3D systems. I personally see 3D printing doing the same thing. I believe it will be like 3D Design systems we don’t know yet how it will impact our lives but it will in ways we have not thought of.

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