3D Systems Teams Up With Would-Be Asteroid Miner

3D Systems (NYSE: DDD  )  is pushing the boundaries of Star Trek-tech -- again.

Earlier this month, 3D's name showed up on a who's-who list of companies backing 3-D-printing-in-space company Made in Space, supporting the latter's efforts to bring the 3D printing of objects to a weightless environment. On Wednesday, 3D expanded its involvement in the space frontier with the announcement that it's collaborating with would-be asteroid miner Planetary Resources to try manufacturing actual spacecraft.

According to 3D, its machines will be used to develop and manufacture components for Planetary's ARKYD Series of asteroid-mining spacecraft. Planetary Co-Founder and Co-Chairman Dr. Peter H. Diamandis welcomed 3D aboard the project, saying: "We are absolutely thrilled to partner with 3D Systems, the world's pioneer and leader in 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, as we pursue our vision to expand the resource base beyond Earth. 3D Systems has a long history of inventing, advancing and democratizing manufacturing -- and our vision of mass producing the ARKYD 100, 200 and 300 line will greatly benefit from their thinking and technology."

In a move demonstrating its interest in forming additional partnerships elsewhere, 3D says it has set up 3D Systems Ventures to "identify, seek and manage its seed investments in promising enterprises that will benefit from or be powered by the company's leading technologies." The venture arm will be headed by Hugh Evans from T. Rowe Price, who will join 3D Systems as the vice president corporate ventures.

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