What Wall Street thinks of 3D printing

It is sometimes interesting to hear what the investment community thinks of advanced manufacturing technologies. Last Friday, viewers of CNBC's Mad Money show found out what investment guru Jim Cramer thinks of two 3D printing powerhouses, Stratasys and 3D Systems. Cramer's schtick was to compare the two companies head-to-head as a way of deciding which would be a better investment.

We can spare you the suspense: Cramer came down on the side of Stratasys mainly because of its recent acquisition of Objet which, he thinks, broadens its base of customers and gives it access to the high end of the 3D printing market.

Seems like an interesting viewpoint to me. I would have put Stratasys in the high end of the 3D printing even without pairing up with Objet. But here is Cramer's reasoning:

"For example, there's a ton of interest in the new Objet 1000, a 3-D printer that's priced at $600,000, and not only that, it costs forty grand just to load the machine with materials. Now that Stratasys owns this baby, it should give a big boost to the company's growth rate, as well as its margins."

I guess time will tell on that growth rate. I am not exactly sure what the market is for $600,000 3D printers. But one thing you begin to understand as you listen to Cramer's piece is that Wall Street seems to be oblivious to the mushrooming growth on the low end of the 3D printing market. This is apparently so because there are no publicly held companies that make 3D printers in that category.

If you'd like to watch Cramer expound on Stratasys and 3D Systems, you can do so here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100316758

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Lee Teschler

Leland serves as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of...
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