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Dark Side Of 3D Printing, Gun Prints Are Becoming More Advanced

Tickers in this article: ADSK DDD SSYS

President Obama delivered an impassioned speech on Wednesday in which he announced he would be signing a number of Executive Orders strengthening federal gun control measures.  Despite the good intentions behind this action, new technologies led by 3D printing could make it very well impossible to totally regulate the possession of guns. 

One of the things the President focused on was a ban on the sale of 30-round magazines. However with the advancements in 3D printing, a ban on sales of these magazines may be easily subverted. A group called Defense Distributed released a video on Wednesday in which an assault rifle is fired with a 30-round magazine that was produced by a 3D printer. The group’s founder, Cody Wilson, stated that the point of the video was to show “I can already print this magazine and show that prohibition has run up against a problem.” This is not the first time the group has sought to make such a political point. Just last month they produced a similar video in which a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle claimed to have been created with a 3D printer is fired six times before falling apart.

The problem for public safety arises when these types of assault weapons, or worse weapons that are undetectable to airline scanners, can be sustainably and reliably created using in-home 3D printers. The machines that may have the capability to produce these type of weapons currently retail for over $10,000, while less complex machines fall in the $2,000-$4,000 range.

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As the capabilities of 3D printing become realized, the freedom the industry enjoys could be curtailed to a degree. Any prohibitive legislation could certainly have an effect on the bottom lines of the companies that specialize in 3D printers and design. Because of this they are certainly worth keeping an eye on.

We have assembled a list of the leading 3D printing firms to help you start your research. Access a  performance overview  and free research tools for all stocks in the list, log in to start a practice portfolio to test your investing ideas. 

1. 3D Systems Corp. ( DDD): Engages in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and servicing of 3D printers and related products, print materials, and services. Market cap at $3.57B. 3-D Systems(DDD) aims to put a 3-D printer on every desk. Their customers range from habbiest to small business owners and manufacturing giants.

2. Stratasys Inc. ( SSYS): Engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of three dimensional (3D) printing, rapid prototyping (RP), and direct digital manufacturing (DDM) systems primarily in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. Market cap at $1.84B. Like 3D Systems, the company  produces machines and special ink for all sorts of specialties, from healthcare to construction, to hobby art and beyond. 

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