This article and the embedded slideshow were updated on Jan. 13, 2016.

Are you in search of the best 3D printing stock, despite the fact that the market has been clobbering this space since the start of 2014? Since then, 3D Systems, Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS), ExOne, Arcam (NASDAQOTH: AMAVF), voxeljet (NYSE: VJET), and Materialise (NASDAQ: MTLS) are down 92%, 86%, 87%, 47%, 90%, and 44%, respectively. (Materialise has only been public since mid-2014.) 

Beyond stock prices, the business performances of most of the 3D printing companies has been subpar. As for the leaders, Stratasys' expansion into the consumer market via its MakerBot acquisition and 3D Systems' seeming shotgun approach to acquisitions are looking like poor strategies -- or at least poor executions of strategies. That said, industry analyst Wohlers Associates projects the 3D printing industry will grow at an average annual rate of more than 31% through 2020. So, if you believe that the torrid projected growth means it's likely there will be at least one winner among the current players, how do you decide which is the best 3D stock to buy?

Do you go with Stratasys, figuring its size should provide it with staying power? Do you choose Arcam, voxeljet, or Materialise, believing that their narrower focuses are a positive? Do you use one-year revenue growth as your main criteria, which would lead you to Arcam and voxeljet? Do you use positive cash flow from operations as your top screen, which would leave you with 3D Systems, Arcam, and Materialise?

These are legitimate arguments that you might factor into your decision. The following presentation uses a process you might also consider: the process of elimination. You might not agree with the finding, but this process should help in your efforts to choose the best 3D printing stock.

The Best 3DP Printing Stock to Buy from The Motley Fool.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.