The president and CEO of 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) says the 3D-printed gun that was made earlier this year shows off the possibilities of the industry.
3D printing companies have faced backlash from individuals and focus groups over the anticipated ability of people to print weapons on 3D printers. But according to 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD)’ president, Avi Reichental, the 3D-printed gun democratizes craftsmanship by showing what can be achieved. For example, a South African inventor used a 3D printer to create a robotic hand after he lost his in a woodworking accident. Since then, the same design has been used to replace fingers on four children in his area.
While the debate about whether 3D-printed guns can be controlled is still uncertain, Reichantal is correct in saying the gun has shown the world what the printer can do. That could come as a relief to investors in 3D printing who were concerned that over-regulation could stall the printers’ entry into most homes. Since the time the 3D-printed gun was shown to the public in May, shares of 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) have shot up by about 15%.
The extra attention 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD), and the industry as a whole, have recently received is convincing many that 3D printing isn’t all hype. Sales at 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) have increased by an average of about 47% in each of the last three years. And now that some Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) stores are carrying the “Cube,” I expect sales to skyrocket this year. I don’t expect that substantial increase to make a dent until the third quarter, as Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) wasn’t expected to begin sales until the end of June.
Stratasys among other 3D printing giants
While 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) has the most affordable printer ($1,300) that is available for mass consumption via Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS), Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) and ExOne Co (NASDAQ:XONE) are also positioned to profit from the booming industry.
Stratasys is making moves
When Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) acquired Objet in April 2012, it was a game-changer for the company, as it made the firm the largest manufacturer of 3D printing equipment for the professional market. The Makerbot acquisition in June puts Stratasys in a better position to sell a more affordable printer to the general public. This creates more competition for 3D Systems. The firm’s lowest-priced printer sells for $9,900, which is too high for the consumer market.