Rocket

Source: NASA

NASA has successfully tested a 3-D printed rocket fuel injector, ushering a new era for 3-D printing to play a more critical role in manufacturing processes. During the test, the 3-D printed injector withstood temperatures of almost 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, was subjected to 1,400 pounds of pressure per square inch, and generated a record-breaking (for a 3-D printed injector) 20,000 pounds of thrust.

The 3-D printed part was made using a method called selective laser melting, in which an extremely fine metal powder is heated by a fine-tuned laser in order to form an object. The benefit of using this type of technology is that it's extremely precise and often saves time compared to traditional fabrication methods.

In the following video, Fool.com contributor Steve Heller explains this development in 3-D printing and highlights one company that stands to benefit from this manufacturing revolution: 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD).

Fool contributor Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and has the following options: short January 2014 $36 calls on 3D Systems and short January 2014 $20 puts on 3D Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.