You have likely heard the phrase 3D printing, but how will it impact construction and how quickly will it become mainstream?

Appinions, www.appinions.com, New York, N.Y., recently released it 3D Printing Influence Study, focusing on adoption of 3D printing across a range of industries, including construction.

According to the study, the 3D printing market is maturing rapidly, as attention and influence shifts from the companies that manufacture the devices to industries where the technology is finding distribution and practical applications.

The report lists the 10 most influential companies in the 3D printing market, which includes Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., Amazon, www.amazon.com, Seattle, Wash., Home Depot, www.homedepot.com, Atlanta, Ga., GE, www.ge.com, Fairfield, Conn., and Makerbot, which was recently acquired by Stratasys, www.stratasys.com, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Appinions says momentum in 3D printing is being seen in a number of industries including retail, manufacturing, automotive, aviation, finance, construction, and electronics.

While there are a number of different ways 3D printing can impact the construction industry, at a basic level, the technology produces physical models quickly from 3D CAD (computer-aided design), BIM (building information modeling), and other digital data.

Still in the early stages, companies such as Contour Crafting, www.contourcrafting.org, have created a technology that has the potential to automate the entire construction process through 3D printing.

Certainly, the use of this technology can continue to advance in construction, as technology providers incorporate and integrate 3D printing with existing technology.

As CAD and BIM continue to move forward, 3D printing can quickly become another facet in the BIM process. Keep an eye on this technology, as it will likely have a big impact on the construction market in the years to come.