Emerging Technology

3D Printing Investing

With HP entering the market, the UPS Store offering 3D printing services and Amazon opening a specialized web store, 3D printing investing is growing.

2014 was a complicated year for 3D printing investing: companies’ share prices continued to fall, but the technology itself gained ground.
With Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) announcing the launch of its 3D printer, the UPS Store (NYSE:UPS) introducing 3D printing services in stores across the US and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) opening a specialized web store, 3D printing investing appears to be growing on all fronts.

HP to enter 3D printing market

In October 2014, HP announced plans to enter the 3D printing market with the launch of its Multi Jet Fusion device. Stephen Nigro, HP’s senior vice president for inkjet and graphic solutions, explained to Forbes at the time that the company considered multiple 3D printing methods before settling on its own inkjet technology. It developed 3D print heads that can operate 10,000 nozzles at once, allowing the Multi Jet Fusion device to work 10 times faster than any other machine on the market.
This news has the potential to radically transform the landscape of 3D printing investing because, as analyst Terry Wohlers said, “it could even put some other companies out of business.” HP hasn’t yet announced the price of the machine, which is slated for testing for most of 2015 before hitting the market on a large scale in early 2016. However, with quicker speed comes lower costs, which may give HP another advantage on the market.

UPS Store increases 3D printing services

In late 2013, the UPS Store launched a pilot program to introduce 3D printing services in six locations. This decision made the UPS Store the first US retailer to offer such services, a risk that appears to have paid off — in September 2014, the UPS Store announced a major roll out of 3D printing services across the country.
This initiative is primarily targeted at small businesses, enabling them to have access to high-quality, professional 3D printing without the upfront costs. Most stores are equipped with a Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) uPrint SE Plus printer, which uses fused deposition modeling technology to create new objects.

Amazon launches store for 3D-printed goods

In July 2014, Amazon launched a custom 3D-printed products store. The store is divided into jewelry, home and kitchen, electronics and toys and gaming sections, selling everything from cell phone cases to pet accessories to detailed figurines.
According to TechCrunch, this launch signifies a turning point in the sale of online goods since, theoretically, 3D printing offers a potentially infinite amount of customizable products that could be sold to customers. In a press release, Director for Amazon Marketplace Sales Petra Schindler-Carter stated: “the introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail — that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience. Sellers, in alignment with designers and manufacturers, can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize and truly make their own.”

Securities Disclosure: I, Morag McGreevey, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Related reading: 

What is 3D Printing Investing?
2015 Top Trends in 3D Printing Investing



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