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iStock_000005265503XSmall-Network-Tech-300x225I thought the 1990s dot-com craze trained investors to follow trends not fads, but apparently not.

The enormous primping of 3-D printing stocks over the past couple years handed investors triple-digit gains, at least to those smart enough to realize profits or put some into shorting the same positions

In fact, quite a few investors flaunted their IQs in mid-2013, making these stocks some of the most shorted on the market. Those of you still hanging onto long positions might want to hold onto your hats.

Labeled overvalued, over-touted and overbought, many stocks in the 3-D arena may be destined to fade away.

But not all of them.

Those 3-D printing companies catering to consumers such as 3D Systems Corp. (DDD) and Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) may not have much staying power beyond the technology’s “cool” factor. How many egg holders and combs can people keep printing out before boredom sets in?

But a technology that can revolutionize the way we manufacture or, even better, improve healthcare, never gets old. It may be a little shaky in its infancy and have a few non-believers, but after time it evolves into a trend and important tool for scientists, engineers and doctors.

The 3-D printing arena in healthcare is particularly interesting. At this juncture, some company stocks are inarguably speculative. Others, however, have developed technologies being implemented right now and making a difference in peoples’ lives.

Thus, the difference between a fad and a trend.

Here are three trend-following, high-reward stocks for investors who can stomach some risk.

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