Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of 3-D printing technologist Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS) are printing up a stairway to heaven today, rising as much as 18.7% on heavy trading.

So what: This morning's first-quarter report showed surprisingly strong sales and earnings, and the next-quarter revenue outlook also runs ahead of analyst expectations. This is seen as a good sign for the 3-D printing industry in general; archrival 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) also gained 8% on no market-moving news of its own.

Now what: Stratasys delivered record sales in a seasonally weak quarter, just like it did in the fourth quarter three months ago. Dividing $40 million in sales by 600 units sold, you'd get an estimated unit cost of a whopping $66,000. If and when that cost moves down to more consumer-friendly levels, 3-D printing plus the real-world ray-tracing capabilities of the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Kinect system could open up enormous new markets for hobbyist 3-D design-and-print systems. Keep a close eye on this space, folks -- there's a reason why both 3D Systems and Stratasys have become official Foolish newsletter picks.

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