What makes ExOne’s printers unique is that they can print industrial sized metal objects as large as 70 x 39 x 27 inches. Although 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) offers the capacity to print metal objects, it can only do it but on a much smaller scale. Its sPro line of direct metal printers can currently print objects as large as 12.6 inches in length, making this line an unlikely candidate for industrial applications. Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) does not offer the capacity to print with metal, but its thermoplastics can be metal plated for aesthetic purposes. ExOne also recognizes EOS as a major competitor in the industrials market, but overall, the industrial 3-D printer market is less crowded than where 3D Systems and Stratasys operate.
A long way to go
To many investors, large-scale metal 3-D printing is the holy grail of 3-D printing, which they expect to have profound implications far beyond the manufacturing line. At this time, it appears that the promise and hope of ExOne has exceeded its track record. Investors must recognize that ExOne sells an extremely costly and specialized product that’s only been sold a handful of times. This could indicate that perhaps the industrial 3-D printing market may be more niche-like than anything else. But more importantly, it indicates that ExOne is extremely unproven on a larger scale. Challenges will arise and how ExOne overcomes these challenges will dictate its long-term value to the market. With that being said, 3D Systems still remains my personal favorite 3-D printing investment.
The article This 3-D Printer Stock Should Scare You originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Steve Heller.
Fool contributor Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems, Ford, Stratasys, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems, Ford, Stratasys, and Tesla Motors and has the following options: Short Jan 2014 $55 Calls on 3D Systems and Short Jan 2014 $30 Puts on 3D Systems.
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