In this video as part of The Motley Fool's "Ask a Fool" series, Fool industrials analyst Blake Bos takes a question from a Fool reader, who asks: "Where is 3-D printing really headed? With all the bloated stock pricing hype over with, where is this technology really going, and what areas of the industry stand to benefit the most?"
Blake notes that additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, is primarily suited at the moment for prototyping and production applications where a company is producing really expensive parts at low volume. He also says that currently more than 70% of installed 3-D printers are for plastic, so industrial printers for metal applications are still far from common. Blake lists several additive manufacturing companies with a presence in metal printing that investors may want to consider as metal printers begin to be more heavily utilized.
As far as who benefits, Blake looks at the orthopedics and prosthetics spaces as the nearest-term beneficiaries and tells investors why Smith and Nephew (NYSE:SNN) and Stryker (NYSE:SYK) could be two interesting companies to consider in these areas today. He also looks at the aerospace sector because of its high-value, low-volume economics, and gives investors his picks for who could benefit there.