According to an article published in Barron’s today, 3-D printing is indeed the wave of the future, but the future is not now. Author Alex Eule argues that currently planned consumer 3-D printing offerings are largely hyped, while their real future of 3-D printing – industrial-grade production machines – remains several years away from maturity.
Eule’s Barron’s article has caused the entire 3D printing sector to sell off today. Industry leader 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) is down more than 4% today, slipping nearly three dollars as of 1 PM ET to trade around $64.50. Shares of Stratsys and VoxelJet are also down today.
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3D printing industry today
Eule argues that while the groundwork for real-world high-volume 3D printing as a production mode is being laid today, it will require at least another two or three years to become a mature technology that will lead to large profits for 3D printing companies.
Software maker Autodesk CEO Carl Bass confirms Eule’s perspective on the nascent sate of the industry, saying that 3D printing today is still largely about rapid prototyping — “it’s still the bulk of what I see. The places where it is moving into manufacturing Is stuff where you see low volume, high value, custom stuff.”
Whitney Tilson short on 3D systems
Whitney Tilson, manager of the hedge fund Kase Capital, has held a significant short position in 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) for several months now. Tilson is on record with his short of the company as of early this year, when he declared in an email to Valuewalk that the recent big rise in the stock “will end very badly.”
In making his bear case against 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD), Tilson points out that the company fundamentals are already deteriorating and the company even lowered guidance in its #Q 2013 earnings report.
The conclusion of the email read, “Mark my words: this will end very badly. I think DDD is maybe worth 2x revenues, so my price target is around $10 – down nearly 90% from here”