"And no company is doing more to advance that next revolution than Cubify.com, where consumers can access design tools, share 3-D designs, and even sell their creations. Objects can either be printed at home using the company's 3-D printer called the Cube, which retails for $1,299."
Remember when I told you that the best 3D names would NOT have the characters "3D" in them? Welcome to Cubify.com and the 3D printer branded "Cube." The future is happening now, those trend investors have either cashed in or should immediately drop pigeon shit dead weight that's costing money when investments are designed to MAKE money.
3D Systems (NYSE: DDD ) was the market's second-best-performing stock in 2012, according to Investor's Business Daily. The provider of 3-D printers saw its shares rise 271% during the course of the year, which was almost a four-bagger for investors in this innovative company.
In 1986, Charles Hull coined the term "stereolithography" to describe a process during which print heads deposit very thin layers of resin in an exact location, building a finished, 3-D object one layer at a time. Hull founded 3D Systems that same year, and he remains the company's chief technology officer.
Additive manufacturing has made great advances in speed, accuracy, and quality since its early days, and it's now being eagerly adopted by many industries that ignored it for decades. That shift is reflected in the company's growth; in the 18 years between 1991 and 2009, revenue advanced at a 10.2% compound annual rate, but in the past two years, top-line growth has jumped to an annual rate of 41%.
Once a way to make a one-off prototype, 3-D printing is now used for all kinds of high-value, low-volume functional parts -- specialty tools, parts for fighter jets, and other objects with complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to manufacture conventionally. 3D Systems offers parts made not just from a variety of tough plastics, but also waxes, nylons, rubbers, metals, and composites. That makes its offerings attractive to all kinds of industries.
Companies' newfound love of additive manufacturing has brought 3D Systems consistent profitability and improving margins. Management believes revenue will hit $400 million to $500 million over the next three or four years -- an inexact target, but one that suggests 24% annual growth in the near future. I think the stock price could double over a similar period. If 3-D printing takes off among individual consumers, even that target could prove conservative.
And no company is doing more to advance that next revolution than 3D Systems. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, the company launched Cubify.com, a forum where consumers can access design tools, share 3-D designs, and even sell their creations. Objects can either be printed and delivered through 3D Systems' network of service providers on professional machines, or made at home using the company's 3-D printer called the Cube, which retails for $1,299.