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Do Consumers Really Matter for 3-D Printing Companies?

The mainstream media has latched on to the 3-D printing phenomenon and with that can come disillusionment. Talk of printing out your own shoes or a door knob at home may have caused the public and investors to have unclear views of companies like 3D Systems  (NYSE: DDD  ) , Stratasys  (NASDAQ: SSYS  ) , and Ex One  (NASDAQ: XONE  ) . In the video below, analysts Blake Bos and Isaac Pino talk about just how important consumer-focused 3-D printing is to the companies, and how investors should view them. Be sure to weigh in below if you think consumer-oriented printers are the key to the future of the companies.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (2)

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  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2013, at 9:05 PM, TangoXray7 wrote:

    I for one agree with the commentators, I don't see 3D printing in the garage (or home office) this year. But I do see an expansion of service bureaus, like Kinko's, in this space very soon. What the home user will have long before a personal printer will be a personal scanner along the lines of a NextEngine machine. That will allow a person to put a broken part on the scanner, copy it and eMail it to a service company for reproduction. I think that will happen long before we see mass market printers.

    Where is the sweet spot for industrial 3D printing? It's in the warehousing and distribution of parts. Let's do a thought experiment.

    You're a parts distributor for a major auto manufacturer. This means you are essentially a warehouse manager . You have a very large real estate footprint in some location where land is cheap, the weather is mild and you're close to interstate freeways. For example, if you were a parts distributor for VW/Porsche/Audi serving a western US market, you might have a large warehouse in Reno Nevada.

    Now, Reno is cheap, but it's not free. Buildings cost money even when they're built on cheap dirt. Reno is a long way from Stuttgart. All these things contribute to your overhead when your real business is getting parts to customers as cheaply as you can so as to maintain the highest profit margin you can. Follow me?

    What happens when you can take 100,000 square feet of warehouse space and convert it to 10,000 square feet of fabrication space? Instead of stocking 5 forged magnesium upper A arms for a 1985 Porsche 928 that you shipped from Germany and have had on hand for the past 10 years, you have a machine that can print one for you in 6 hours. Where's the money going? Follow it :)

    Just some food for thought.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2013, at 9:43 PM, NickD wrote:

    Save money charge less no.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2013, at 12:10 AM, Rocketstocks wrote:

    I dont think the mainstream media has picked up on this hot sector at all yet. Its just beginning. Most people i talk to have no clue about it and they are active investors.

    No doubt the big part of the sector is prototyping and mass production applications.... and with space tourism beginning, 3D print is the key to advancing this massive future sector...

    Stocking raw powdered materials in space and being able to pull up a cad file of any part/item and print it on demand is significant.... and one day we will discover materials that can be swiftly broken back down to raw material (from a solid object), allowing you to rebuild with it.

    Same goes for rebuilding parts ON a Navy ship, etc, which imo will one day be possible.... Seen this Exone case study?

    The future of 3D printing materials will most likely be a carbon allotrope, like Graphene, because it can take any shape, from the molecular level on up... even human organs...

    This sector is much bigger than most are visualizing it as, yet. 3D printing is the lynchpin that will accelerate many other industries.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2013, at 12:16 AM, Rocketstocks wrote:

    Heres another Exone case study for the Navy

    Exone might not have the sales yet, but their ability to work with various powdered metals is a major advantage.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2013, at 1:29 AM, skat5 wrote:

    Getting a little replacement part for your appliance, often made of plastic, often costs more than replacing the appliance. Along with this absurdity often comes disproportionate shipping charges. Convenience is also simply not there. You are not going to get a part that fits by simply scanning it. The game changing combination is combining the database of all parts printable with a database of printing instructions. What company would and could do that ahead of any other? Starts with G. Who is going to know exactly what you bought online from them in detail down to the parts in it, print and deliver the part same-day service, if they choose to store that data and decide this is more profitable than selling you a new one? Starts with A.

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