Exclusive: Inside a 3-D Printing Service Center

When offering 3-D printing services, expertise comes before technology.

Apr 14, 2014 at 9:45AM

Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS)3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), and most other 3-D printing companies offer 3-D printing services to customers because it's a great way to increase product awareness in a highly profitable manner. The 3-D printing service center allows designers to quickly get parts prototyped or manufactured on a smaller scale without ever needing 3-D printing experience themselves. For Stratasys and 3D Systems, the hope is that a percentage of service center customers will eventually buy their respective 3-D printers and consume those highly profitable materials that come along with ownership. Stratasys operates its RedEye service center and 3D Systems operates Quickparts.

With all the competition in the 3-D printing service center space, the technical expertise of the service center often becomes a key differentiator. In the following video, 3-D printing analyst Steve Heller sits down with Rich Stump of FATHOM, a highly experienced Stratasys reseller and 3-D printing service center, to better understand how a boutique firm like FATHOM successfully competes against bigger industry players like Stratasys and 3D Systems. Going forward, 3D Systems and Stratasys investors should watch how they continue to build out their services in ways that differentiate and drive more value to customers.

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Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems and Proto Labs. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of 3D Systems, Proto Labs, 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't 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.

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