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Investing in 3D printing stocks

There’s promising growth over the next five years but volatility is likely.

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Growth projections for the 3D printing industry are positive and the technological applications seem endless. But investors need to be wary as bigger companies begin to enter the market.

What is 3D printing and how is it used?

3D printing is the process of creating a three-dimensional object from a digital model. The process is also called additive manufacturing because objects are created by adding layer upon layer of material until the object is complete.

3D printing is a relatively new technology that’s only just begun to secure a foothold in modern manufacturing technology. The first 3D printer was released in 1987 by 3D Systems, and today the process is used across many industries including aerospace tool manufacturing, auto parts, robotic structures, industrial tooling, healthcare prosthetics and product design.

Why invest in the 3D printing category?

3D printing is versatile and growing at a rapid pace.

Like many subindustries in the technology sector, 3D printing is a growing trend. According to Statista, the global 3D printing market is worth $16 billion in 2020 — but by 2024, this figure is expected to rise to $40.8 billion, more than doubling its value in as few as four years.

The 3D printing industry’s popularity is partially driven on the technology’s versatility and adaptability. Its applications are nearly endless and new materials are in constant development.
The more materials that can be used for 3D printing, the greater the technology’s practical applications. And in turn, this further encourages the development of new 3D printing methods.

It looks like this once niche subindustry will only continue to grow and investors have the opportunity to support potentially groundbreaking technology — an exciting prospect for any portfolio.

What unique risks does the 3D printing category face?

The 3D printing category faces similar challenges as other rapidly growing industries in the tech sector: competition and volatility.

As this software continues to take off, more and more companies will enter the 3D manufacturing race. And beyond the ferocious competition among startups vying for capital and influence, investors will also need to be wary of well-established names — like HP — entering the space. As larger companies begin to adopt this technology and invest in their own 3D printing programs, the viability of smaller tech startups may be affected.

Long-term growth projections for the 3D printing industry are largely positive, but investors should know the journey won’t be linear. Before purchasing 3D printing stocks, be prepared for volatility.

3D printing stocks

Ready to invest in the versatility of 3D tech? Keep your eye on the following stocks. Select a company to learn more about what they do and how their stock performs, including market capitalization, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio and dividend yield. While this list includes a selection of the most well-known and popular stocks, it doesn't include every stock available.

What ETFs track the 3D printing category?

The Total 3D-Printing Index contains exchange-listed companies within the US and globally that are involved in the manufacturing and development of 3D printing technology. There is only one ETF that tracks this index: the 3D Printing ETF (PRNT). The fund is managed by Ark Investment Management.

Compare trading platforms

To invest in 3D printing, you’ll need a brokerage account. Compare your platform options below.

Name Product Available asset types Stock trade fee Option trade fee Annual fee
Vanguard
Stocks,Mutual funds,ETFs,Forex
$0
$1
$20 per year
Get a personal advisor when you open an account with at least $50,000.
Robinhood
Stocks,Options,ETFs,Cryptocurrency
$0
$0
0%
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Interactive Brokers
Stocks,Bonds,Options,Mutual funds,Index funds,ETFs,Forex,Futures,Cash
$0
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
0%
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
TD Ameritrade
Stocks,Bonds,Options,Mutual funds,ETFs,Forex,Futures
$0
or $25 If it is broker-assisted
$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 Broker-assisted
TD Ameritrade features $0 commission for online stock, but watch out for high short-term ETF and broker-assisted trading fees.
Tastyworks
Stocks,Options,ETFs,Futures
$0
Stocks & ETFs: $1/contract to open, $0 to close, $10 max/leg
Futures: $2.50/contract to open, $0 to close
0%
Trade stocks, options, ETFs and futures on mobile or desktop with this advanced platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Bottom line

3D printing offers investors the opportunity to support groundbreaking research but the industry is too new to promise stable returns.

Review your brokerage account options across multiple platforms to find the account that best meets your needs.

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