On Saturday, the world will celebrate 3D Printing Day, so named because Dec. 3 is the third (the 3) day in the only month starting in “D,” December, thus 3D Day.

This new “holiday” was in part popularized by General Electric Co. (GE), the industrial conglomerate making strides into the digital landscape via investments into emerging markets such as 3D printing for manufacturing. Here’s a list of some of the 3D printing stocks to watch going into 2017.

Legacy Tech, Emerging Market: HP and GE

After one year apart from its data-center and enterprise software arm, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE), PC and printing giant HP Inc. (HPQ) has attempted to reinvent itself by refocusing on core businesses. Waning demand in the PC and printing markets has been a blow to the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s bottom line. In order to boost printing revenues, which were down 14% in the fiscal third quarter and 8% in the most recent fiscal fourth quarter, HP Inc. has bolstered its position in the 3D-printing space. HP Inc.’s Multi Jet Fusion Technology is set to “reinvent how you prototype functional parts, delivering quality output, up to 10 times faster at half the cost.”

GE announced plans to acquire to industrial-metal 3D-printing companies, Arcam and SLM Solutions, in deals worth a combined $1.4 billion. After the SLM buyout fell through, GE acquired Concept Laser to keep the firm on track with its goal to generate $1 billion in 3D-printing revenues by 2020.

Instead of targeting the consumer market, HP Inc. and GE have worked to legitimize the viability of 3D printing for industrial manufacturing. (See also: Time to Invest in 3D Printing?)

3D Printing Pioneers: Stratasys and 3D Systems

While larger tech firm such as GE and HP Inc. have the benefit of big names and scale, Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) and rival 3D Systems Inc. (DDD) maintain their pre-existing market share in the niche industry, along with their refined focus on solely 3D printing. The two have taken different strategies in the recent year, with 3D Systems deeming the consumer market dead, deciding to go all in with additive manufacturing, versus Stratasys’ continued push into both the consumer and industrial market. Rock Hill, SC-based 3D Systems stock, up 50% year-over-year (YOY) at a price of $13.47 per share on Friday morning reflects a $1.51 billion market cap. Rehovot, Israel and Eden Prairie, Minn.-headquartered company Stratasys stock, down 30% YOY at a price of $17.59 per share reflects a $925.2 million market cap. (See also: 3D Systems’ Growth Strategy Charges Ahead.)

Private venture-capital backed Carbon is also positioned to be a big-time player, partnering with Ford Motor Co. (F) to develop 3D-printed prototypes for automobiles. Industry pioneers could be facing some challenges if larger tech players and Carbon succeed in launching speedier, lower-cost 3D printers for enterprise clients.  

 

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