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Can 4D Printing Resurrect 3D Printing as a Growth Industry?

“Smart materials” could unlock investing in 4D printing and breathe new life into the sector.
4D printing

Is 3D printing dead?

A decade ago, 3D printing was the hottest buzzword on the planet. Investors piled in… and 3D-printing stocks took off like a rocket.

3D Systems DDD — a leading 3D-printing company at the time — soared 1,000% between late 2011 and early 2014.

Stratasys SSYS — another poster child of the 3D-printing boom — jumped nearly 7x during the same period.

Back then, people thought 3D printing would democratize manufacturing… and that we’d all have 3D printers inside our homes.

That never came true. And when the industry failed to live up to expectations, the 3D-printing bubble popped…

3D Systems plummeted 93% between January 2014 and January 2016. Stratasys plunged 89% during the same period.

What if I told you 3D printing wasn’t a flop… the hype was simply a decade too early.

Today, 3D printing is disrupting industries left and right… giving investors a second chance to profit from companies fueling the boom.

3D Printing Has Gotten a Major Upgrade

If you’re not familiar with how this tech works, 3D printers allow you to “print” objects similarly to how an inkjet prints on paper.

Starting from scratch, a 3D printer builds objects layer by layer… stacking thin slices of materials (like plastics and metals) from the bottom up.

Early 3D-printing technologies worked great for things like modeling and prototyping. Industries from architecture to aerospace used these machines to quickly go from drawing board to prototype on the cheap.

For example, back in 2011, motorcycle maker Ducati cut 20 months (or 70%) off the development time of a new racing engine thanks to 3D-printing prototyping.

But these early models had their limitations…

Most early 3D printers were built to print with plastic. Great for prototypes… but you can’t make airplane wings, most car parts, or thousands of other high-value items with plastic.

Fast-forward to present day, and modern 3D-printing technologies have unlocked the use of metals and concrete.

Boeing BA — one of the two biggest plane makers in the world — now 3D prints thousands of titanium parts for its 787 Dreamliner. It’s shaved $3 million off the cost of each plane thanks to this technology.

Rolls-Royce’s RYCEY upcoming 3D-printed UltraFan jet engine will use 25% less fuel than its predecessor.

And just a couple of weeks ago, a 34-meter-tall rocket launched at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Eighty-five percent of the rocket was 3D-printed.

“Super-sized” 3D printers can even create full-sized houses in a matter of days…

This is disrupting traditional construction in a huge way…

3D printing combines several trades into one, requiring fewer construction workers. It also saves time. With 3D printing, houses can be built in a day or two instead of taking weeks or months.

This cuts construction costs by around 50%.

These new 3D printers are also inspiring new designs. For example, it’s difficult and expensive to build curved walls with standard construction. With 3D printing, it’s a breeze.

New kinds of materials could unlock 4D printing…

Have You Heard of Smart Materials?

These special materials can bend, fold, expand or change shape when exposed to different elements.

You can “program” them to react to touch, light, temperature, electricity, different chemicals, and so on.
4D printing could use smart materials to bring daily objects “to life.”

For example, you could print a power cord that neatly folds into a tiny roll when unplugged and then loosens up again once electricity flows through it… a sun umbrella that perfectly tracks the sun’s direction… or even furniture that assembles itself.

4D printing also has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. Doctors could implant small medical devices that mold themselves into a desired shape when they reach a certain part of your body.

The possibilities are nearly limitless.

Here’s how we’ll make money from this disruption…

Right now, 3D-printing stocks are on sale. And their businesses are doing great…

Autodesk ADSK , for example, makes 3D design software. It’s a stock I recommended back in 2018 — and it went on to gain 145%. In its latest quarterly result, the company reported a record $5 billion in sales.

And it’s not alone…

3D printing companies Desktop Metal DM , Ansys ANSS , and Nano Dimension NNDM also reported record sales in their latest earnings results.

A simple, one-click way to buy each of these companies — and other 3D-printing stocks — is through the 3D Printing ETF PRNT .

PRNT currently trades 56% from its all-time highs, giving you a second chance to profit from “phase two” of the 3D-printing megatrend.

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