Sep 1, 2016 | By Benedict

Thermwood Corporation, an Indiana-based manufacturing specialist, has announced a line of LSAM (Large Scale Additive Manufacturing) 3D printers for the production of large to very large reinforced thermoplastic composite parts. The machines use a two-step, near-net-shape production process.

With only a select number of large-scale 3D printing systems to choose from, the aerospace, automotive, boating, foundry, and thermoforming industries are constantly on the lookout for new equipment that can be used to produce large-scale tooling, masters, molds, fixtures, patterns, and plugs. Thanks to years of development, those industries now have a new tool at their disposal: Thermwood Corporation’s new line of LSAM (L-Sam) 3D printing systems. According to Thermwood, installation of its new system can lead to lower costs and shorter build cycles.

The philosophy behind the new LSAM machines is clear: 3D printing (additive) and CNC milling (subtractive) can be combined to create accurate, large-scale parts far more effectively than any single manufacturing technique. As such, each new LSAM machine includes both a 3D printing gantry and a second trim gantry that is actually a five-axis CNC router. Both gantries operate over the entire table surface, meaning all necessary functions for part production are carried out on the same machine. The machines have a ten-foot-wide, five-foot-high work envelope, with the length adjustable between ten and 100+ feet.

The 3D printing gantry of the new machines features an advanced, vertically mounted PH Series print head, made by Thermwood, which melts and meters the polymer 3D printing material. The print head can process filled thermoplastic composite materials at temperatures up to 343°C (650°F), while its triple servo design purportedly enables accurate and high-output printing, as well as providing the ability to change bead dimensions while printing. The design also produces better layer adhesion and gap-free printed structures.

Thermwood claims that its PH15 Print Head has one of the highest output rates in the industry, printing up to 150 lbs/hr. Despite this impressive rate, however, the company is developing new models with even higher outputs, though various factors—including part geometry and machine size—will determine how large a print head is appropriate for a given application. Additionally, all PH Series Print Heads from Thermwood come with the ancillary systems needed to dry and transport material from storage to the print head.

Working side-by-side with LSAM’s additive 3D printing gantry is its subtractive CNC router gantry. This system is equipped with a 12HP (3,000 to 24,000 RPM) Automatic Tool Change Spindle and ten-position automatic tool changer. An enhanced Z-axis enables the router head to machine from the print table surface to a point above a printed part, and the machine also features an automatic tool length measurement system and Thermwood’s patented impact-resistant head. Siemens Intelligent Servo Drives are used throughout for both printing and trimming.

Both gantries have their own free-standing Thermwood Q-Core CNC Control for movement, while the 3D printing gantry also has an integrated print head control for managing melt, pressure, and metering functions. Other special functions have been developed to operate the servo drive print head and bead compression wheel—these functions automatically perform tasks that would otherwise need to be incorporated into the CNC print program.

“This is exciting,” said Thermwood founder and CEO Ken Susnjara. “We are at the beginning of what appears to be a revolution in manufacturing and we look forward to the new challenges and incredible possibilities that this type of transformational change brings.”



Posted in 3D Printer



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Christian wrote at 3/18/2019 8:21:59 AM:

How much does it cost to purchase one of these?

Richard Williams aka Corporal Willy wrote at 9/2/2016 8:26:53 PM:

Wow! A hundred feet long? Amazing. This would have a place on NASA missions to Mars. Could combination there with both Additive and Subtractive technologies. Very nice.

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