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Any funds investing in 3 D printing stocks

edited June 2013 in Fund Discussions


  • Morningstar and Yahoo Finance offer links to "major holders" including funds. However, I'd guess a fund may have at most a low single-digit % in one of the stocks, which wouldn't be a fund-moving amount.
  • nath, I've only recently begun to hear about 3D printing. I don't know a lot about it, except that it sounds like it is an evolutionary jump in technology. But I'll give you some generic advice on investing in technology.

    I worked in the IT area for a few decades. My observation, based on picking up things through osmosis and making bad investments, is that technology companies will have huge swings in market value. In other words, they are very volatile and risky. Just when you think one company is going to be a big winner, they find that their technological lead can be leapfrogged by upstarts in a few years.

    I worked for a tech company that designed and manufactured mini-computers, and less successfully PC's. Down the road was a smaller and rapidly growing company that found a niche in designing and manufacturing small computers that had a single purpose ..... word processing. Once PC's hit the market, their business dried up. They were building an expensive and luxurious headquarters. My company bought the land and the unfinished building at a substantial discount, while the other company had quickly gone bankrupt.

    So my generic advice is to find funds that are investing in the downstream industries and companies that will benefit from this printing technological advancement. For example, rather than invest in a company that develops GPS technology, it could be more rewarding to find the company that utilizes this technology. Examples are trucking or delivery companies that can lower their costs through better management of their resources (e.g. employees and trucks). My example is a bit dated. But not knowing enough about 3D printing, I can't tell you who will benefit downstream. Perhaps a fund that is buying Asian manufacturing companies.
  • edited June 2013
    Reply to @Maurice: 3-D printing has been around for several years. I remember Jay Leno showing off his classic cars on TV maybe 5-6 years ago and explaining how much easier and cheaper it had become to obtain replacement parts (a door handle for example) for antique autos using a 3-D printer than in the old days when it took a skilled machinist many hours of labor to make one from blue-prints.

    I guess the big difference is that these printers have now become affordable for the averge person. Bloomberg was demonstrating a 3-D setup other evening that can be purchased for around $300. Couple of reporters were having their heads "scanned" so that a realistic looking plastic head could be printed. (Didn't stay up long enough to view the outcome.) Nonsense of sorts I suppose. However, your point about how technology tends to evolve in big leaps and spurts - leaving earlier state-of-the-art stuff in the dust - is well taken.

    And Yep - The "downstream" stuff you mention is endless. Imagine Amazon sending a new set of dinnerware directly to your 3-D printer - within minutes of being ordered. Or - perhaps sending larger more complicated items to printers at a distribution center close to where you live. Not good for UPS I'd think. Come to think ... not good for Amazon either, as it opens the door for many smaller competitors without their impressive infrastructure. The world turns over every 24 hours.

    That's all. Time to go crank up the 8-track.
  • Reply to @hank: 3D printing is OK for solid objects that can be manufactured from essentially plastic and may be a few other materials. At this stage. It is very expensive to manufacture anything beyond prototypes or samples or one of rare items that cost is not a major factor. I doubt it will replace conventional products and manufacturing any time soon. I will be watching but I don't think initial hype is worthy of investment. I am sure out of many there will be some winners but it is hard to determine which ones in advance.
  • edited June 2013
    Reply to @Investor: "One word ..." LOL

  • Good points made so far. My personal feeling is like Investor's in that I don't believe 3-D printing will ever become main stream any more than solar collectors will dominate energy production.

    As for Maurice's point look at the foreseeable future for once mighty Dell. Things change. Tablets are the rage now and maybe soon, glasses or watches.
  • Reply to @Mark: Or just touching things, a-la "Minority Report".

    (disclosure: I own Gemalto.)
  • Howdy folks

    Try this link

  • Reply to @Mindy: LOL indeed!
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