3D printing is a promising technology platform. Many have long dismissed it as a mere hobby, a niche for a few people with too much time on their hands.

3D Systems Corp. (DDD) 3D Systems is one of the pioneers in the industry. Chuck Hull, a co-founder of the company, was one of the inventors of the stereolithography 3D printer and earned a patent for it in 1986.

Straumann Holding AG (SAUHY) Straumann is a European firm and one of the leaders in turning the potential of 3D printing into real-world results. Straumann is a long-running supplier to the dental industry.

Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) Stratasys makes 3D printing equipment. The company reported higher first-quarter revenue and more than $475 million in cash and equivalents.

Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) Autodesk is a software-as-a-service company focused on graphic design. It offers a pick-and-shovel way to play the 3D printing industry.

Proto Labs Inc. (PRLB) Like Autodesk, Proto Labs does more than just 3D printing. It also provides injection-molding services, CNC machining and sheet metal fabrication.

Ansys Inc. (ANSS) Like Autodesk and Proto Labs, Ansys is far from a pure play on 3D printing. Ansys is a wide-reaching software firm focusing on engineering and simulation.

6 of the best 3D printing stocks to buy now: – 3D Systems Corp. (DDD) – Straumann Holding (SAUHY) – Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) – Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) – Proto Labs Inc. (PRLB) – Ansys Inc. (ANSS)