Just missing the classification of stocks under $20 by a few bucks, Stratasys is the vanguard among the best 3D printing stocks. Scott Crump, a Stratasys co-founder, patented the fused deposition modeling (FDM) technique of AM, later issuing the patent to the company he helped create. Subsequently, Stratasys developed several 3D printers for both professionals and private consumers in the 1990s. It remains a powerhouse, developing products and services for several industries such as education, dental, aerospace and automotive.
3D Sys (NYSE:DDD)
One of the most recognizable names among 3D printing stocks, in early 2010, DDD was among the compelling stocks under $5. Later that year, the equity unit more than doubled in market value. Then, from 2011 to January 2014, 3D Systems benefitted from a mercurial rally before giving up virtually all of its gains as the sector crumbled. Nevertheless, DDD is enjoying a resurgence as investors begin recognizing its fundamental utility across key industries like aeronautics and healthcare.
Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB)
Focusing on the industrial aspect of the AM business, Proto Labs specializes in the manufacturing of custom parts for corporate clients that need working prototypes or to address short-term production needs. Generally one of the more stable and well-established names in the sector, it is currently on a sharp discount relative to this year’s peak closing price of $251.49.
Materialise, headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, is one of the pioneering forerunners among 3D printing stocks and one of the largest and longest-operating independent firms in the additive market. It’s also comprehensive, featuring software designed to help clients realize their full AM potential, as well as powerful medical innovations such as point-of-care 3D printing. Not surprisingly, MTLS stock enjoyed a remarkable rally from last year’s March doldrums, though it has come down significantly from this year’s peak.
Desktop Metal (NYSE:DM)
Just a few bucks above the threshold for stocks under $10, Desktop Metal is still a tempting proposition among cheaper 3D printing stocks. Specializing in 3D printing solutions across the entire spectrum of need — ranging from prototype development to rapid manufacturing capability — Desktop Metal saw its share price exceed $33 in early February. Having come down sharply, DM may turn out to be a contrarian opportunity.
Undeniably, one of the most profound innovations in both the consumer retail and industrial markets has been 3D printing machinery. Also known as additive manufacturing (AM), 3D printing creates physical objects based on digital blueprints. That's why its important for investors to know about the best 3D printing stocks.
Surprisingly, this remarkable invention has a long history. Initially, the technology sector introduced 3D printers in the mid-1990s. Later, in the early 2010s, consumer-level AM machines again hit the market with a vengeance.
But it’s not until now that the sector produced a compelling investment narrative. Below are the best of these stocks you can buy.
Quick Look at the Best 3D Printing Stocks:
While modern consumers may take the concept of 3D printing — or the successive additive layering of materials to build a solid object from a digital file — for granted, the origin of this powerful and utilitarian innovation goes back several decades. In fact, scientists conceived of the idea in the 1970s, with the first physical experiments dating back to 1981.
Over the next several years, several engineers representing multiple international academic institutions forwarded groundbreaking innovations that would build the puzzle toward a commercially viable AM machine. In the mid-1990s, Stratasys, with help from IBM (NYSE: IBM), introduced 3D printers to the commercial market. Subsequently, in the late 2000s to early 2010s, 3D printing machines enjoyed more prominence and as a result, increased revenue.
In 2013, former President Barack Obama mentioned this burgeoning industry in his State of the Union speech. Naturally, this mention sent several of the best 3D printing stocks — and even some mediocre ones — to the stratosphere. Though many consumers were excited about this innovation, many more found themselves priced out of the market. Simply, consumer-level AM machines were too cumbersome, too slow and far too expensive to achieve mass-scale integration.
However, the market is rebounding sharply. According to Grand View Research, the global 3D printing market reached a valuation of $13.78 billion. By 2028, total AM sector revenue might hit $62.79 billion. Such a high potential value is a credible target because 3D printing isn’t just for the dedicated hobbyist. Instead, its products have profound implications for healthcare (dental products and prosthetics), architecture, forensic pathology, electronics and even archaeology through fossil reconstruction projects.
Best Online Brokers for 3D Printing Stocks
Back when researchers were busy laying the groundwork for AM machinery, investors largely had to rely on traditional brokers to invest in the latest technologies, representing a cruel irony. Though the world was rapidly changing, the staid financial industry refused to keep pace with innovation.
But thanks to mobile investment apps which served to democratize access to the capital markets, anyone could enjoy benefits that would have been considered remarkable in the 1980s and 1990s, such as commission-free trading. Forced to adapt to new realities, online brokers bolstered their platforms. Today, you have myriad options at your disposal, with each offering similar financial incentives to join.
The choice of best online broker comes down to personal preferences. However, if you are intent on buying the best 3D printing stocks, you should consider a versatile platform. That’s because this sector is diverse. From established blue chips to lower-priced fare to even special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), you’ll find that 3D printing stocks arrive in multiple flavors.
Below is a list of best online brokers to consider.
Features to Look for in 3D Printing Stocks
- Multiple applications: While an exciting arena, one of the biggest challenges facing 3D printing stocks is broader market acceptance and integration. Cost difficulties remain, especially in the pandemic-disrupted economy. Therefore, it’s vital that competitors in this market segment feature wide-ranging applications. Look for organizations that have multiple revenue streams from several industries, such as technology, healthcare, defense and transportation, among other fields.
- Right timing: The excitement of 3D printing stocks doesn’t just stem from its implications for society at large. Yes, the equity units of individual sector players left a poor track record of volatility. Even today, 3D printing stocks are incredibly cyclical. Therefore, if you’re thinking about placing a wager, do so at either the beginning of a rally or after a seismic collapse — never as the stock nears what seems like a spike high.
- Fiscal endurance: What draws contrarians and speculators alike to 3D printing stocks is that the sector — while rich in history — is still young. Many companies are jockeying for position, which suggests that the right investment now could yield huge long-term profitability. Nevertheless, 3D printers are mired in a war of attrition. Therefore, you should consider companies that have at least some strength in the balance sheet or better yet, positive earnings per share.
Dramatic Upside if You Can Handle the Heat
Evolving from a fantastical idea to a niche product line to an innovation that has wide-reaching utilitarian applications, 3D printing and the broader additive manufacturing industry are already changing multiple paradigms. Moving well beyond hobbyist use, today’s leading AM machines can address medical needs right on the stop with custom-manufactured solutions.
This dynamic sparked incredible returns for the best 3D printing stocks. At the same time, the market segment is undergoing teething issues, which gives the sector its characteristic boom-bust extremes. But with the AM industry at a relative lull, speculators may have another shot at additive glory.