The power to create comes with great responsibility. The power to replicate things in 3 dimensions comes with concerns of authenticity, ownership, and copyright law. [Related: What is 3D Printing?]
Walter Benjamin, who wrote about copying art in the early 20th century once said, "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." He would be surprised to know that today, you can easily make copies of virtually anything "in time and space." Even the Mona Lisa.
Stocks on the Forefront of 3D Printing
3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS) are at the forefront of the 3D printing technology. 3D Systems, the leading firm in the three-dimensional printing market, has experienced an extremely impressive 11 straight quarters of double-digit revenue growth and has consistently produced a positive bottom-line. Noting its sound financial standing, the firm has acquired over a dozen smaller firms in the past two years to expand its capabilities.
Their stocks have appreciated dramatically over the past few years. [See all 3D Printing stock articles here]
3D Printing to the Masses
The Printrbot Jr. is a foldable, lap-size 3D printer that costs less than $399 for a kit. As 3D printers retail for less and less the question isn't how to get a hold of one, or even how to assemble one, but what a person can actually print on a desktop 3D printer. "Now what?"
Makerbot's Thingiverse offers a wide catalog of printable objects. The sea of 3D creations ranges from practical (citrus juicer) to cute (lego darth vader). But how many of these objects trespass into copyright-protected waters? Several of the most popular things on Thingiverse are reproductions of Disney or Nintendo characters.
While the days of untethered private printing may be limited, industrial uses for 3D printers hold much promise. From automobiles to hearts, check out Kapitall's infographic for more detail on how the space, and possibilities, have evolved:
Written by Kapitall's Freda Ding