Being the best performing 3-D printing stock of 2013, Arcam (NASDAQOTH:AMAVF) certainly has some big shoes to fill. With the stock having rocketed well over 400% year to date, investors have high hopes that its proprietary electron beam melting, or EBM, 3-D printing technology will prove to be a long-term winner.

EBM certainly holds promise because it can create faster and cheaper parts than selective laser sintering, or SLS, a competing and equally specialized 3-D printing technology. However, EBM produced parts come at the expense of intricate details, an area where SLS excels. In other words, EBM is realistically years away from competing with SLS on a more level playing field.

Taking this into account, and the fact that Arcam's stock has performed so well in 2013, it's probably best for Arcam investors to temper their expectations in 2014. In the following video, 3-D printing analyst Steve Heller sheds more light on this subject and discusses why investors shouldn't be banking on another monster year.

Fool contributor Steve Heller and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.