Metal 3D Printing Stocks: DM vs VLD vs MKFG

April 3. 2022. 6 mins read

Investing in disruptive technologies sounds easy on paper. First, you identify when a technology moves from being emerging (team-with-a-dream) to disruptive (meaningful revenues growing quickly). Second, you find the leader(s) and invest in them, trusting that economies of scale will benefit the biggest fish in the pond. But things quickly become complicated when the technology doesn’t evolve as planned.

Originally, 3D printing promised that every household would just print stuff as they needed it. Then, it changed to a 3D printer on every block that everyone would use as needed. Then, we realized 3D printers were largely being used by hobbyists, and that the Chinese can always build things cheaper. That’s when we started moving up the value chain to bioprinting, distributed manufacturing, and 3D printing with metals.

The Metal 3D Printing Thesis

In the scope of this thesis we need to consider the dozens of companies – both public and private – that are developing various metal 3D printing technologies – from Joule printing to powder bed fusion. Various methods are useful for various use cases, so there’s no “one winner takes all,” though there certainly can be multiple winners and losers. The metal 3D printing company that’s leading right now is probably Desktop Metal given their move to consolidate the space by acquiring ten companies in 2021, the most notable being EnvisionTEC and key competitor ExOne. We like Desktop Metal’s ambitions, but need to see more gr

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