I am an engineer who actually used Stratasys products to do prototyping at Control data Government systems--now known as GD Aerospace. This was way back in 1998. Cool product, perfect for prototyping new ideas using CAD. I don't understand the hype these days other than the non technical public has finally become aware of 3D prototyping products. Essentially same technology, essentially same limited market--building a prototype. It will never be used in any significant way to actually manufacture--too slow by orders of magnitude. So you do know there is nothing new about 3D printing, right?
3D Printers will be in your home and office, every tool store, and every hospital. Its not just for prototyping. Please don't leave out the fact that industrial 3D printing is used to make countless parts and products, including made from metal. As the industry evolves more advanced levels of technology will move closer to the consumer at affordable prices. Companies like Stratasys that have strong sales have the capacity to invest in R&D and expand their offering. It is far more huge than anyone thinks.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
So let's sweep away the hype and technical jargon and look at one simple metric: growth in sales.
In 1998 SSYS has only $32.44M in sales compared to expected revenue this year of $673M. That's more than ten-fold growth in 16 years. Hmm...must be a lot of pro-typing going on.
I had 3D prototyping done in the 80's, so yes, it's been around a while. And computers were around since the 50's and the internet was around in the 60's. As with any technology, the bet is that it will continue to evolve and become smaller, cheaper and faster and reach a tipping point where a mass market evolves. There are plenty of creative people doing creative things with 3D printers that were unheard of in the 80's and 90's and that will continue as the technology continues to mature.
Applications for computers and the internet is limitless. In fact one of them is 3D printing to make prototypes. 3D printing can become smaller cheaper and faster and its application will still be to make prototypes. Because it is a slow layering process, even if sped up orders of magnitude, it will always be used to make one-off prototypes, not manufacturing in any conventional sense. Endless confusion by people who have no idea what they are talking about. You could say 3D printing "manufactures" one-off items, like an artificial tooth implant custom made for a specific mouth, but this is not conventional manufacturing.