Expert Opinion: Has 3-D Printing Reached Its Limit?

3D Systems, Stratasys, and ExOne have made investors happy over the past couple of years, but 2014 has been painful so far. What should investors be looking for as they value these stocks?

Mar 21, 2014 at 5:45PM

Investors in stocks related to 3-D printing have been mostly happy over the last few years. 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), and The ExOne Company (NASDAQ:XONE) have all soundly beaten the S&P 500 over this time frame:

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts

But 3D Systems lowered profit guidance in early February, and the industry has been on a downtrend in 2014. Is the great 3-D printing run finally out of ink?

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts

James Woodcock -- group editor for the highly respected TCT Magazine + Personalize -- has been following the 3-D printing industry for decades. Motley Fool analyst Rex Moore was able to meet up with Woodcock at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas and chat with him about all things 3-D.

In this video, Woodcock discusses the growing trend on the consumer side, as well as what investors in 3D Systems, Stratasys, and ExOne should watch for to make sure industry growth is keeping up with the share prices.

A full transcript follows the video.

Our top stock for 2014
There's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Moore: I had asked you about some trends you're seeing and you mentioned you're really surprised with the consumer side.

Woodcock: Absolutely. Obviously, at CES you're going to see more of the consumer-focused announcements, but even at EuroMold, which is a big industry show in Frankfurt dedicated to manufacturing technologies, the pull from the consumer end has really informed how a lot of these companies are responding to the marketplace. They're not pushing it so much as it's being pulled, and I think that's a really important consideration as the industry grows. I think we will continue to see more of that pull.

People want these technologies, and they're now getting to the point where they are happy to buy them and use them, as a home user, without having the hobbyists where they like to tinker and take it apart. That's not how consumers really want to get into this technology. They want to buy, click and play, and start printing. And now they can.

Moore: Because of the huge growth in this industry, 3D Systems, Stratasys, ExOne; they are all hugely popular with investors. If you're an investor, what should you keep an eye on to make sure that, really, the growth is keeping up with the demand here for the stock?

Woodcock: In terms of the guys that are listed now, the big ones are always going to be aerospace, medical, automotive -- and none of those are anywhere near saturation, in terms of how these technologies can be deployed.

There is huge scope in all of them, and we're seeing the willingness from huge companies, the likes of GE Aviation, to really back 3-D printing as a future technology, and as a future manufacturing method.

That will trickle down to the smaller companies, and for as long as the big guys are shouting about it -- which I don't see stopping anytime soon -- I think the likes of X1, 3D, Stratasys, they have fantastic futures ahead of them.

Rex Moore has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems, ExOne, and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems, ExOne, General Electric Company, and Stratasys. 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.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers