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Is 3D Printing About To Become Easier For The Retail Consumer?

|Includes:3D Systems Corp. (DDD), SSYS, XONE

In a prior article of mine about 3D printing, I talked about accelerating revenue over the last two years as being one of the primary drivers for increases in 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) share price. If you missed my very first Seeking Alpha article that was published, you can click here to read to gain an understanding of my thesis before continuing.

If you don't want to read it, let me summarize it for you. In my prior article, I specifically mention the roll-out of the 3D printers to retail consumers as being an area where 3D systems needed to succeed to help continue its blistering pace of revenue growth.

In the recent weeks, I've come across several pessimistic articles, like this one, regarding the 3D software and whether or not it is easy enough for the average retail consumer to operate.

Well, let me introduce you to a new 3D scanning system, which at first glance, I see as helping my vision of widespread consumer adoption come to fruition.

This new 3D sensor is made by Occipital and attaches to several different types of mobile devices. Once attached to the device, it scans and records objects in 3 dimensions. It can also be linked to other devices via bluetooth. The below link is to the website "All Things D" which has a 5 minute video on this new lens - they demonstrate the lens with one form of mobile device, an iPad.

Click here to watch the video

The CEO of Occipital specifically discusses how the lens can help the 3D printing industry by being able to easily capture images in 3 dimensions. After watching the video and seeing the ease of use, some of my fears about the long-term consumer adoption of 3D printing have been erased.

I mean, as an aging consumer myself, while I do like the newest technology, I also tend to find that I like things that help "make things easier". And if 3D scanning is about to become as easy as attaching this new lens to an iPad, scanning the object, and then easily printing it, then count me in!

The lens will be available for early adopters who order the device on Kickstarter at the end of December 2013.

As 3D printing tries to gain traction with the retail consumer, products such as this lens, which make 3D printing easier, will only help to increase the chances for mass adoption of 3D printing.

Let's not forget one aspect that I also did not discuss during my last article. With every additional printer sold, whether it is to a retail consumer or a to a company, the 3D printer installation base grows (this base has been growing exponentially the last two years). This increased installation base of 3D printers will lead to more recurring revenue from the increasing sales of 3D printing materials. Recurring revenue like this can help to smooth periods between growth spurts.

Disclosure: I am long DDD.

Stocks: DDD, SSYS, XONE