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A Safer Way to Invest in 3-D Printing Stocks

Despite the massive sell-offs that 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD  ) and Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS  ) have experienced in 2014, the biggest names in 3-D printing are still very expensive on paper. For investors with a small appetite for buying expensive stocks, buying 3D Systems or Stratasys and participating in the long-term growth potential that 3-D printing offers may not be an option. Investors finding themselves in this predicament should look behind 3D Systems and Stratasys and focus on companies that stand to benefit from implementing 3-D printing technology into their operations.

Companies like General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) or Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) have massive manufacturing presences, and over the long term, could benefit greatly from adopting 3-D printing more into their operations. Both General Electric and Boeing already use 3-D printing because it allows for products to be developed faster and more efficiently. General Electric currently has plans to 3-D print 45,000 jet engine fuel nozzles a year for its upcoming leap engine, and the nozzles are expected to take to the skies in the coming years. Boeing already uses 3-D printing for non critical airplane components such as heating vents in commercial planes flying today.

As 3-D printing technology continues to advance, Boeing and General Electric will be able to make better use of it in its operations. Interestingly, General Electric already has a plan for 50% of the products its manufactures to "touch" 3-D printing in the next 20 years. Clearly, there are attractive efficiencies built into how 3-D printed objects are made.

In the following video, 3-D printing specialist Steve Heller and industrials bureau chief Blake Bos look beyond 3D Systems and Stratasys to find alternative ways for investors to get some exposure to 3-D printing. Of course, investors thinking about investing in General Electric or Boeing for the potential that 3-D printing may improve long-term profitability should understand that buying such large companies is likely going to result in more subdued returns than buying 3-D printing stocks outright.

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  • Report this Comment On May 19, 2014, at 8:52 PM, brandonchen wrote:

    I thought you have been pounding the table for investors to buy 3D printing stocks for "long-term"? Now you are saying the stocks are "still very expensive on paper"...?

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Steve Heller

Covering 3-D printing at the intersection of business, investing, and what it means for the future of manufacturing. Follow me on Twitter to keep up with the ever-changing 3-D printing landscape by clicking the button below.

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