Boeing, Navy ManTech, NAVAIR AERMIP and Thermwood Collaborate on Large Scale Composite AM Cure Tool

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jun 30, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Large Scale, Thermwood LSAM, Navy, Composite Tooling, Boeing, Navair, Collaboration, Fleet Readiness Center

Thermwood was a key development partner in a Navy ManTech funded program issued to Boeing Research and Technology. The ManTech program was managed by Advanced Technology International (ATI) for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) with funding provided from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Aircraft Equipment Reliability & Maintainability Improvement Program (AERMIP). Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) was a key technical contributor for the low cost composite cure tooling technology development.

Boeing, Navy ManTech, NAVAIR AERMIP and Thermwood Collaborate on Large Scale Composite AM Cure Tool

The Details

Thermwood’s Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machine was selected as the Large Format Additive Manufacturing (LFAM) machine to conduct the technology development. Several unique equipment features of the LSAM machine drove the selection. The high temperature autoclave cure tooling operating environment of 355 degree Fahrenheit and 85 psi provides a challenge for polymer based tool material. Additional composite cure tooling requirements for vacuum integrity and dimensional stability were validated during the development. Neil Graf Office of Naval Research, noted “Composite manufacturing is a strategic technology for future platforms and development of more cost effective tooling solutions would significantly benefit the implementation.”

The Process

FRCE provided a high contour mold line surface to Boeing for generating the composite cure tool. The mold line shape was very aggressive and would stretch the large format additive manufacturing technology processes capability. The spherically shaped portion of the mold line offered the largest challenge, as the unsupported 3D printed angle limitation of approximately 45 degrees provides an interesting obstacle to overcome for the spherical mold line section of the tool. Boeing rotated the 3D print plane 35 degrees to avoid encroachment of the build angle limitation.

Final 3D Print Model

Final 3D Print Model

The new innovative build plane approach eliminated the requirement for temporary support material for the aggressive mold line shape. The new build angle would test the LSAM machine limits in an area never explored previously. TechmerPM PESU CF 1810 high temperature print material was used for the composite cure tool. High temperature materials present additional challenges during print over low temperature materials such as ABS CF. Two interim support features were added to compensate for the center of gravity shift of the print. The LSAM machine performed flawlessly during the composite cure tool print. The tool was printed in 7 hours and 26 minutes using 610 lbs of material.

Composite Cure tool printing on Thermwood LSAM

Composite Cure Tool printing on Thermwood LSAM

The composite cure tool was machined in 53 hours using the LSAM gantry router machine. The tool datum features, and removal of interim members, were machined prior to removal from the bead-board. The Thermwood LSAM machine offers the ability to machine and 3D print on a single platform. The composite cure tool mold line part surface achieved at surface profile tolerance of .020” (+/-.010”).

Machining the Composite Cure Tool on Thermwood LSAM

Machining the Composite Cure Tool on Thermwood LSAM

The Boeing Research and Technology (BR&T) laboratory performed functional testing on the LFAM composite cure tool to ensure vacuum integrity and dimensional stability requirements were reached. The LFAM tool performed as expected and achieved all requirements. Several composite parts were fabricated from the tool. The tool durability was assessed during the multiple autoclave cure cycles and fabricated (3) composite parts. The tool maintained dimensional stability and vacuum integrity throughout the functional testing and composite part manufacturing.

LFAM tool after Autoclave Cure

LFAM tool after Autoclave Cure

The composite cure tool was printed and NC machined on Thermwood’s Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) 1020 machine. The LFAM technology cost savings was estimated at 50% compared to traditional tool fabrication methods, and reduced tool fabrication lead-time by 65%. The cost savings and tool fabrication cycle time reduction could provide enormous benefit to any organizations performing low volume or custom composite part fabrication and repair.

Composite Part Fabricated from LFAM Tool

Composite part fabricated from LFAM tool

Nondestructive Inspection (NDI) was performed on the composite parts fabricated on LSAM tools. The NDI results did not indicate any porosity. Due to the complex shape of the composite demonstration part several NDI process were employed. X-ray and C-Scan results did not reveal any delaminations or defects.

The Bottom Line

The program benefited from a cooperative effort among several contributors to achieve success. The partnership between industrial technology leaders, Boeing and Thermwood coupled with the Office of Naval Research’s drive to transition technology, led to the successful program. “Collaborations such as this help expand the scope of capabilities of emerging large scale additive technology by addressing real world challenges that would be difficult for any single entity to define and address by itself. We look forward to new challenges moving forward”, says Thermwood CEO, Ken Susnjara.

Additional development is key to expand LFAM composite cure tooling implementation. Boeing Associate Technical Fellow Michael Matlack commented “The program provided significant results in validating additive manufacturing as a viable method of producing lower cost, capable tooling with substantial time savings over traditional methods.”

LSAM Info Request

Thermwood to Demonstrate the Versatile CabinetShop 43 510-8 and the Powerful Cut Ready Cut Center at AWFS 2021

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Jun 25, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Trade Shows, AWFS, Cut Center, CutReady, 2021, CabinetShop 43

AWFS Fair 2021

For AWFS 2021, Thermwood Corporation, an innovator in the design and manufacture of 3 and 5 Axis CNC Routers, is proud to demonstrate two systems. We’ll have our versatile and affordable CabinetShop 43 510-8 and our powerful Cut Ready Cut Center machining on site.

Cabinetshop 43

CabinetShop 43 510-8

We will be machining plastic sheets, signs, outdoor furniture and nested based applications on our CabinetShop 43 510-8 CNC Router. This machine features a 5'x10' base with a 5'x8' table, allowing it to offer 21 tooling positions with its automatic bar style tool changer. It also has an improved dual pipe dust collection system, programmable pop-up pins, auto tool length measurement and an automatic lubrication system. This configuration is also available as a 512-10, with a 10 foot table on a 12 foot base. Auto labeling and an unload rake system for nested based production are also available as an option. 


Cut Ready Cut Center

Cut Ready Cut CenterThermwood will also be demonstrating the award-winning Cut Ready Cut Center. This powerful system helps you quickly and easily create most products a cabinet shop would want to make without a CNC programmer (cabinets, furniture, doors, drawers, moldings, stair stringers and much more). Just tell it what you want to make via a simple touch-screen interface, and it makes it. Or, you can operate it as a traditional CNC router.  

Most people can operate it with little or no training or guidance. It is complete, fully contained with all the ancillary equipment smoothly integrated into a package that almost runs itself.


Check us out in Booth #1701

CabinetShop 43 510-8We'll be demonstrating live on both machines during the show, as well as operating an eCabinet Systems kiosk.  Our eCabinet Systems expert will be designing nested-based applications on the fly to send to the CabinetShop 43 to be machined.  In addition to our Cut Center live demonstrations, we will also have two Cut Ready kiosks, where you can explore the software and see just how easy it is to design most things a cabinet shop would want to make. 

Please visit our booth (#1701) and speak to a Thermwood representative to learn more about these two powerful and affordable additions to any shop!


What are the Differences Between a Cut Center and a CNC Router?

Cut Center Intro Final Rev_1.0

Take a Tour of the Cut Ready Cut Center

Cut Center Components Walk Around Final Rev_2_0_trimmed.m4v

How to Design a Cabinet and Add it to the Job in Cut Ready

Cut Center Cabinet Selection Final Rev_1_0

Learn How Simple it is to Machine a Cabinet Job on the Cut Ready Cut Center

CUT_CENTER_CUT_OUT_RETAKE_INFO_4_9_25_20

Exploring Cut Ready's Leveling Feature

Cut Ready Leveling

Cut Center Info Request

Thermwood 2021 Scholarship Recipients

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Jun 18, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Scholarship, 2021

Thermwood is proud to announce that we will be awarding three scholarships to dependents of associates for the Class of 2021. Each recipient will receive a $2,000 renewable scholarship. 

Since the introduction of these renewable scholarships, Thermwood has awarded over $200,000 to students wishing to further their education. 

Leah O'Brien

Leah O'Brien is the daughter of Jennifer and Chris O'Brien of Stendal, IN.  She is a graduate of Southridge High School. 

She has been involved in FCA, Natural Helpers, SHS Choir, Yearbook and St. Mary's Youth group.  She was also a member of the Swim, Cross Country and Track teams. 

Leah plans to attend Ivy Tech Community College in the fall to study Visual Communications.

 

 

Aiden Susnjara

Aiden Susnjara is the son of April and Jason Susnjara of Santa Claus, IN.  He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Heritage Hills High School. 

He has been a member of Beta Club as well as the Basketball, Tennis and Golf teams.  Aiden has also been involved with Riley's Dance Marathon.  

Aiden plans to attend Purdue University in the fall to study Engineering. 

 

 



Kylee VaalKylee Vaal is the daughter of Courtney and Scott Vaal of Jasper, IN.    She is a graduate of Jasper High School. 

She has been involved in FCA, Octagon Club and SADD.  She is also a volunteer for the Redemption Church Kids Ministry.  Kylee was also part of the Soccer, Basketball and Unified Track teams.  

Kylee plans to attend the University of Southern Indiana to study Biology.

 

 

Thermwood would like to congratulate all seniors of the Class of 2021 and wish them the very best in their future studies and endeavors! 

Latest Cut Ready Update adds the ability to pre-drill for slides, hinges and hinge plates.

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, Jun 08, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, software update, Announcements, Cut Ready, Cut Center, moldings, Cut Center Updates, Shapes, Publisher, Combination Cabinets, Options, Pre-Drill

Pre-drill your cabinets for a wide variety of slides, hinges, and hinge plates!

We have all the popular hardware patterns within Cut Ready including Blum, Accuride, Grass, Hafele, and Salice. Not only does this speed up production, it also increases the accuracy and placement of the hardware itself. Simply select your preferences within the Settings menu, or change it on-the-fly when processing a job.

If you haven’t decided on hardware yet, you can turn the patterns off, or use Cut Ready’s Universal Patterns and get to cutting.

Hardware Options

Select your manufacturer and options...

Select your manufacturer and options...

Customize the pattern defaults on your slides and hinges...

Customize the pattern defaults on your slides and hinges...

 

What are the Differences Between a Cut Center and a CNC Router?

Cut Center Intro Final Rev_1.0

 


Tour the Cut Ready Cut Center

Cut Center Components Walk Around Final Rev_2_0_trimmed.m4v

Design a Cabinet and Add it to the Job

Cut Center Cabinet Selection Final Rev_1_0

Cut Out a Cabinet Job

CUT_CENTER_CUT_OUT_RETAKE_INFO_4_9_25_20

Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center


 

Why LSAM?

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, May 11, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Thermwood LSAM, Why LSAM

Companies have been choosing Thermwood’s LSAM large scale additive manufacturing systems for their thermoplastic composite large part production.  In a newly released video, Scott Vaal, Thermwood’s LSAM Product Manager, addresses the question of "Why LSAM?"

why_lsam_version_1_0_rev_6

He addresses key aspects of the large scale additive manufacturing market and LSAM’s position in it. This video also addresses the current state of the art in additive print technology, offers a quick overview of the broad LSAM product line, slicing software, industry collaboration, additive system reliability, service, support, upgrade ability, plus other issues important to potential users and anyone interested in large scale additive manufacturing of thermoplastic composites.

Thermwood has found that many companies exploring large scale additive manufacturing don’t have a clear understanding of the current state of the market, the available technology or the capabilities of systems currently available. This video is intended to add a level of understanding, comfort and confidence that capable, proven and reliable large scale additive systems are not only available, but are already successfully operating in major industries every day, generating significant benefits and profits.

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

With the introduction of the smaller LSAM Additive Printers plus these new wide table flagship LSAMs, Thermwood’s large scale additive manufacturing product line is, by far, the broadest available anywhere, with LSAM models from 5x5 foot to these new fifteen foot wide flagship models.

Learn More About Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems from the industry leader, LSAM by Thermwood.

LSAM Info Request

Thermwood Expands LSAM Product Line Yet Again

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, Apr 20, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood Corporation, manufacturer of the highly successful LSAM large scale thermoplastic composite additive systems, has announced the availability of even larger size machines than we currently offer.

The LSAM additive manufacturing system line is already the broadest in the industry with additive printers from a 5x5 foot table to large dual gantry print and trim systems up to 10x40 foot. Machines longer than 40 foot are available, but several 10x40 systems are the largest built to date.

LSAM 1520 Shown

LSAM 1520 Shown

With this new announcement, the large dual gantry print and trim machines are now available in a 15 foot width in addition to the current 10 foot width tables. As with the ten foot wide tables, the new fifteen foot wide table machines are available in lengths from twenty foot on, in ten foot increments.

New Heavier Gantry Design

The new machines utilize the new wide gantry design that was first developed for Thermwood’s LSAM 1010. The LSAM 1010 has both a print head and a trim head mounted on the same gantry, hence the need for a wide gantry even though the table is only 10x10 foot. The dual head combination on the 1010 weighs over 7,000 pounds, requiring a significant engineered gantry structure.

Larger Gantry Shown on an LSAM 1010

Larger Gantry shown on an LSAM 1010

The smallest table length available in the fifteen foot width LSAM is twenty foot, however, because of the modular design of the table and support walls, this length can be increased by ten foot increments. The most popular table lengths to date for the ten foot wide table LSAM machines have been twenty foot and forty foot.

40mm or 60mm Print Core Available

The new machines are equipped with the large LSAM print head structure which can be equipped with either the 40mm or 60mm print core. The 40mm core can print most polymers at about 200 pounds per hour while the 60mm core can print at over 500 pounds per hour. They can also be equipped with Thermwood’s patented Vertical Layer Print system, which makes it technically possible to print parts up to fifteen foot wide and as tall as the length of the table.

LSAM 1540 Shown

LSAM 1540 Shown

Same Powerful Features

The new machines are equipped with all the advanced features of the entire LSAM line including the thermal sensor layer automation system which automatically controls bead temperature at layer fusion producing virtually perfect bonding between layers.

As the market becomes more comfortable with the capability and reliability of LSAM technology, the new sizes open interesting opportunities in areas where really, really large parts are needed.

Three Print Head Options Available

Thermwood offers three print head options on various machines with maximum print rates of 100, 200 and over 500 pounds per hour. Although many believe that print rate determines how fast a layer can be printed, it is actually polymer cooling that determines how much time is needed between layers.

Print head output then determines how much bead can be printed in that time and thus how large a part that can be printed by that print head using that polymer. The Thermwood LSAM 60mm print head with 500 pound per hour maximum print rate can print the largest part layers possible today.

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

With the introduction of the smaller LSAM Additive Printers plus these new wide table flagship LSAMs, Thermwood’s large scale additive manufacturing product line is, by far, the broadest available anywhere, with LSAM models from 5x5 foot to these new fifteen foot wide flagship models.

Learn More About Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems from the industry leader, LSAM by Thermwood.

LSAM Info Request

Purdue University to Establish Thermwood LSAM Research Laboratory

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, Apr 13, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Purdue, Thermwood LSAM, Thermwood LSAM Research Laboratory

Purdue University’s Composites Manufacturing Simulation Center (CMSC) and Thermwood Corporation have agreed to establish a large scale additive manufacturing laboratory to perform industry-funded research into large scale composite thermoplastic additive manufacturing.

Purdue Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center

Thermwood LSAM Logo

The new facility will be located in Purdue’s Indiana Manufacturing Institute located in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana and will be staffed and operated by Purdue CMSC personnel. The official name for the new facility is the Thermwood LSAM Research Laboratory at Purdue University”.

LSAM Additive Printer (10'x5')

Thermwood LSAM Additive Printer 10'x5'

About the Thermwood LSAM Reseach Laboratory at Purdue University

The new laboratory will be equipped with an LSAM 105 (ten-five) Large Scale Additive Printer and a corresponding 5 axis LSAM Additive Trimmer plus a variety of support systems. This installation is capable of printing and trimming complex geometries up to five feet by ten feet by four feet tall at print rates of up to 100 lbs. per hour. Commercial maximum print temperature for LSAM printers is usually limited to 450oC, however, this particular system has been modified to allow testing at even higher temperatures for experimentation with innovations in materials normally not used in additive manufacturing.

This effort will be enhanced with the newly announced ability of Thermwood’s LSAM large scale additive manufacturing systems to measure and precisely control the temperature of a printed layer at the instant a new layer is deposited. This will support research into the very core of the additive print process and will serve to provide validation of Purdue’s extensive additive manufacturing simulation capabilities for large scale additive manufacturing.


Not only will this effort improve the overall quality of large scale additive printing but it should also increase our knowledge and understanding of the basic process of fusing layers together into a homogeneous structure”
says Ken Susnjara, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Thermwood.


Extrusion deposition composites additive manufacturing is a major innovation that will contribute to the development of tailored products with unique performance and just in time availability.”  
Adds Dr. R. Byron Pipes, Executive Director of Purdue’s Composite Manufacturing & Simulation Center, the research organization where the LSAM system will be installed.


Purdue plans to partner with industry to provide services to enhance, encourage and expand the adoption of large-scale additive manufacturing for diverse industrial applications. They also plan to work with polymer suppliers to refine formulations and determine the ideal processing parameters necessary to produce the absolute highest quality large scale printed parts possible.

Collaborative efforts of this type bring together diverse organizations that each specialize in different aspects of this emerging technology and often produce results that none of the participants could possibly achieve on their own. Both Purdue and Thermwood are confident that this will be the outcome of their collaborative effort.

About the Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center

The Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center (CMSC) of the College of Engineering and the Purdue Polytechnic are located in over 30,000 square feet of the Indiana Manufacturing Institute building. CMSC consists of faculty experts in composites manufacturing, a professional staff of doctoral degree engineers, a support staff and research students in doctoral, masters and bachelor’s degree programs of the Schools Aeronautics and Astronautics, Chemical Engineering and Materials Engineering, as well as, the Department of Aviation Technology in the Polytechnic.

Purdue Manufacturing and Composites Research Center

A comprehensive set of laboratories is available at the IMI for the study of composites manufacturing processes, characterization of composite materials, and the validation of simulation software essential to development and verification of the digital twin concepts in composite manufacture and performance. Focus specialties include extrusion deposition additive manufacturing, composites autoclave processing of continuous fiber systems, compression and injection molding of discontinuous fiber composites, prepreg impregnation, infusion molding, sheet forming, complex mold-forming and hybrid continuous/discontinuous fiber systems. Workflow simulations are being developed to provide for end-to-end digital twins of these manufacturing processes. Accordingly, manufacturing informed performance predictions are a direct outcome of these workflow analyses.

3DEXPERIENCE Education Center of Excellence in Advanced Composites

To advance the development of digital twin, digital thread and model-based engineering, Dassault Systèmes and CMSC established the 3DEXPERIENCE Education Center of Excellence in Advanced Composites on October 28, 2020. The simulation center was founded on a seven-year partnership between Purdue University and Dassault Systèmes (2013-2020) and it is expected that this new engagement will bring significant benefits to the new relationship with Thermwood as the partners work together to bring the advantages of the digital age to society.

3DEXPERIENCE Platform and Thermwood LSAM

Together, they will advance the digital enterprise by developing the human talent essential to this new paradigm and by utilizing the Thermwood LSAM technology and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to exercise digital twins of complex composites manufacturing and performance to demonstrate the power to predict phenomena that are understood today only by empirical experiences. The Partnership will work together to introduce these concepts to a wide range of industries within the advanced composites community from the original equipment manufacturer level to the supply chain industries. The philosophy of these relationships will be to create a learning environment at multiple levels – from advanced research in manufacturing and performance of advanced composites to the engagement of students at all levels needed to build the workforce of the future for Industry 4.0.

LSAM Info Request

Thermwood Announces Completion of the First LSAM 1010

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Mar 31, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Thermwood LSAM, LSAM 1010

Thermwood has completed the first of a new type of additive print and trim system, the LSAM 1010. This is a fixed table, high wall system with both print and trim head mounted on a single gantry. Although with a ten foot by ten foot table, it is a bit smaller than the larger dual gantry flagship LSAM systems, it does require a significantly larger gantry.

LSAM 1010 Shown

The LSAM 1010 can both print and trim, but not at the same time. It uses the same 40mm print head that is standard on the larger LSAM systems and the same five axis trim head. It has the same 5 foot high print and trim capability of the larger machines. The addition of both of these on a single gantry adds two major new requirements.

Thermwood LSAM 1010 with print and trim head on same gantry

Two Major New Requirements

First, the gantry must be significantly longer to accommodate the width of both heads, while also allowing both heads to cover the entire table.

Thermwood LSAM 1010 with open doors

Also, the gantry must be significantly stronger to rigidly support both the print and trim head, which together weigh well over 7,000 pounds, resulting in a live load (the parts of the machine that actually move) of over 18,000 pounds. Despite the weight, the machine can move at speeds up to almost three feet per second.  This is not a small machine.

Thermwood LSAM 1010 with new larger gantry

New M400 Helps Build Large Machines

The production of this new gantry has been made possible by the commissioning of Thermwood’s new M400 five axis metal working system which can machine parts up to 35 feet long. The gantry design uses Thermwood’s slot and tab construction method which produces engineered steel structures that are extremely strong and stiff. 

Thermwood's M400 Helps Build Large Machines

More Details About the LSAM 1010

Since the LSAM 1010 has a fixed table, there is no practical part weight limitation. 

The LSAM 1010 has the same 200 lb maximum print rate capability of the larger flagship LSAM systems but is still priced well under the LSAM 1020, which is the smallest dual gantry LSAM available. 

The LSAM 1010 is also available as a “print only” machine for companies who already have the necessary machining capacity, bringing the price down even more. 

The LSAM 1010 is ideal for companies whose size requirements fit the available envelope and where a sequential process production rate (print and then trim) is adequate. It is also ideal for companies who need relatively large, heavy parts but don’t need trim capability. The lower price point also makes the LSAM 1010 easier to cost justify for a wider variety of end applications. 

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

Largest Selection of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems

The LSAM 1010 is part of the LSAM product line which offers the largest selection of large scale additive manufacturing systems available anywhere. There is a system available for about any large scale additive requirement from a 5x5 Additive (Print Only) Printer to giant, dual gantry, print and trim machines up to 40 foot long. Longer machines are available however, 40 foot are the longest machines produced to date. 

Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems from the industry leader, LSAM by Thermwood.

Learn More About Large Scale Additive Manufacturing Systems from the industry leader, LSAM by Thermwood.

LSAM Info Request

Thermwood Announces Lower Cost LSAM Additive Systems

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, Mar 16, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Thermwood LSAM, LSAM Additive Printers

In response to requests for a somewhat smaller, lower cost additive system which still has all the features and print quality of the large flagship LSAM systems, Thermwood has developed and is now offering a line of “print only” machines built around a 30mm LSAM Print Head.  The LSAM Additive Printer.

LSAM Additive Printer 10'x5' Table Shown

LSAM Additive Printer_REV_3.m4v

LSAM ADDITIVE PRINTER

Thermwood Corporation, manufacturer of some of the largest composite thermoplastic additive manufacturing systems operating in industry today, has announced the availability of a new line of lower cost “print only” LSAM systems, called LSAM Additive Printers.

Thermwood’s current LSAM line of large scale, dual gantry, “print and trim”, near-net-shape additive manufacturing systems use an advanced print technology that produces high quality, fully fused products from a wide variety of reinforced composite thermoplastic polymers, including materials that process at high temperature like PSU, PESU, and PEI.

These systems are being used primarily to produce molds and tooling, most for aerospace and industrial production applications.

NEW 30MM PRINT HEAD

NEW 30MM PRINT HEADThe 40-60mm print heads used on our flagship machines weigh well over two tons and require a significant machine structure and powerful servo drives to achieve optimum performance. To accommodate the request for a lower cost system, Thermwood refined and updated a 30mm print head design, initially developed during their print technology development.

In order to handle the still significant 30mm Print Head, the gantry structure of its highly successful 5 axis CNC routers was re-engineered to use the incredibly strong “slot and tab” structural steel approach used on flagship LSAM machines. The same table, base structure and servo drives used on their five axis CNC routers could be used pretty much as is. With these changes the “LSAM Additive Printer” was born.

Although smaller than the flagship systems, which can print over 500 pounds per hour, the 30mm print head can still print up to 100 pounds per hour, which is still a higher maximum output than virtually all other systems available today. It is capable of producing large parts at temperatures up to 450° C, with overall size limited primarily by the table size and working envelope. 

Available Sizes

The new LSAM Additive Printers are all fixed gantry, moving table designs with table sizes of 5’x5’ and 5’x10’ and are capable of printing parts up to 4’ high.  The 5’x10’ machines are available in two styles, 5’ wide with 10’ of front to back motion or 10’ wide with 5’ of front to back motion. Maximum table print weight is 1,000 pounds, however, the 10’ wide 5’ deep machine is available with a dual servo drive which doubles the weight carrying capability. It is planned to equip the 5’ wide 10’ deep version with a Vertical Layer Printing option which will allow it to vertically print parts up to ten feet tall.

Trimming Printed Parts

For trimming printed parts, Thermwood recommends our new LSAM Additive Trimmer, which is available in the same table sizes as these new LSAM Additive Printers.  It is available with up to 5’ of vertical travel, allowing it to trim completely around and over the top of the largest part the LSAM Additive Printer can print. As an added benefit, with both an LSAM Additive Printer and an LSAM Additive Trimmer, you can print and trim at the same time.

Although having a new LSAM Additive Printer plus an LSAM Additive Trimmer requires purchasing two machines, the combined cost of both is just over a third of the cost of an LSAM 1020 (which is currently the smallest flagship LSAM system that can both print and trim at the same time). The LSAM 1020 does have a much larger table, faster print head and the ability to do vertical layer printing up to 20 feet long, however, if you don’t need those capabilities, the new LSAM Additive Printers may be an answer. If you already have trim capability, the cost can be even lower.

LSAM Additive Trimmer Table Sizes

Same Powerful Features

The same powerful, feature rich LSAM control used on the large flagship LSAM systems, along with all its unique patented additive print features is standard on the new LSAM Additive Printers. A system for drying and conveying pelletized polymer material is also included as is a liquid chilling system to maintain temperature control on vital systems. This is especially important when processing high temperature materials.

Optional Enclosure

An optional enclosure that surrounds the machine is available.   The machine with this full enclosure can also be built to meet European CE standards.

LSAM Additive Printer (10'x5') table with optional enclosure

Optional Dual Hopper Dryer

The machine comes standard with a single hopper material dryer, however, an optional dual hopper dryer is also available for applications that change materials often.

Thermal Sensor Layer Automation System

Thermwood’s new Thermal Sensor Layer Automation System is also available on the LSAM Additive Printers. This is an exciting new system that automates the print process to easily and automatically obtain the highest quality layer to layer fusion.

Thermal Sensor Layer Automation System

With this system, a servo controlled thermal sensor, which travels with and rotates around the print nozzle, measures the temperature of the bead an instant before a new bead is added. This data is sent to the control which automatically adjusts print speed to print at the precise temperature that results in the best bead fusion for that particular polymer. Thermwood’s

LSAM print technology already produces the best quality, strongest large scale additive parts and this system not only makes it better but also easier.

Same Powerful Print 3D Slicing Software

The same Thermwood LSAM Print 3D slicing software used on all the other LSAM systems is used to program LSAM Additive Printers. Several levels of software training are available.

The Bottom Line

This new LSAM Additive Printer is intended to introduce LSAM additive technology to a whole new level of application and customer. It targets companies that want to print top quality, large composite thermoplastic parts, but don’t really need, nor can they cost-justify, the really large LSAM systems. These new systems also target companies who already have sufficient trimming capability and may only need a quality print function. Applications include industrial fixtures, molds (including high temperature molds), tooling, foundry patterns, and hundreds, if not thousands of similar applications.

With the addition of the LSAM Additive Printers, Thermwood now offers the largest selection of large scale additive manufacturing systems for thermoplastic composite materials in the industry with models available for just about every application and budget.

LSAM Broad Line of Additive Manufacturing Systems

LSAM Info Request

Thermwood Announces a Major Advance in Additive Print Technology

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, Mar 09, 2021

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Thermwood LSAM, Thermal Sensor Automation

Thermwood has unveiled a new LSAM additive print technical capability that insures complete fusion between large scale thermoplastic printed layers plus, for the first time, makes print temperature control completely automatic.

Thermwood’s LSAM additive manufacturing systems are already producing almost perfectly fused large scale thermoplastic composite structures in multiple industry applications today. To a large extent this is because of a patented feature called “Layer Time Control”. With a newly announced development, it is now even better and easier.

When printing thermoplastic material, each polymer has an ideal print temperature at which the best fusion between layers occurs. This new system not only attains but precisely maintains this ideal temperature automatically.

Thermal Sensor Layer Automation System

Thermal Sensor Layer Automation

Called "Thermal Sensor Layer Automation", it continuously measures the temperature of a printed layer just before a new bead is added. This allows the machine to automatically adjust the feed speed, using “Layer Time Control”, to print at, or very close to, the perfect temperature needed to achieve the best possible layer to layer fusion. This results in superior printed part quality. Until now, these adjustments relied primarily on operator skill and judgement. Now it is not only totally automatic, but also much more precise.

The new process uses a non-contact temperature sensor which rotates about the print nozzle under servo control and continuously measures the temperature of the existing layer less than a half inch in front of the moving print nozzle. This provides precise feedback of the temperature at the moment of layer fusion, insuring integrity of the bond being generated at every point on every layer.

Layer Time Control

Data from the probe is processed through an advanced algorithm which adjusts the speed at which each layer is printed. The algorithm takes into account not only the temperature at the point of printing, compared to the target temperature, but also the changing geometry of the part as it grows. Print speed is no longer defined in the print CNC program but instead, it is continuously adjusted by the LSAM control system itself during printing, in response to changes in the print environment. This is important because there is no way to know exactly what the print environment will be when you are creating a program or whether that environment will change during the sometimes lengthy print process, leaving the operator responsible for achieving and continuously maintaining print temperature. This is not a particularly easy task.

Automatic Print Temperature Control

With Thermwood’s new system, optimum print temperature is now part of the parameters stored in the control for each polymer and is determined when the polymer is first qualified. To run a specific material using a properly equipped LSAM, it is only necessary to load a part program, specify the material and turn it on. The entire build process, including all temperature control, is then pretty well automatic.

Polymer Melt Configurations

This system achieves much tighter control of the basic print process than is currently possible and best of all, it is totally automatic, not requiring input or adjustment by the machine operator.

As a bonus, temperature data from the print process is available in several forms. A digital readout displays, real time, the current temperature reading as well as the average temperature for the layer being printed. These displays are color coded so that the operator can tell at a glance if the program is printing within temperature tolerance. When the print is complete a report is available that details the print temperature profile of each printed layer. This documentation could provide the quality control basis needed to verify more critical parts, such as flying parts on an aircraft, further expanding the capability and potential use of LSAM printing.

Real-time temperature measurement and control

There is one additional significant aspect to this new development. For the first time in extruder based large scale additive manufacturing, the temperature at the moment of layer fusion can be measured and controlled. This opens the possibility for more advanced research, focused on the very core of an extruder based print process. Research using this technology should result in a better, more thorough understanding of the print and layer fusion process that is at the very core of this emerging industry.

Thermwood believes this is a major advance in the base technology and will make large scale additive manufacturing not only better, but also practical for a broad range of new users. It makes a once complex and highly specialized process, pretty well automatic, allowing almost anyone to produce parts today that are better than the best that could be made by highly skilled experts in the past.

Retrofits Available

Existing LSAM customers can also upgrade their current systems to the new Thermal Sensor Layer Automation System in the field.  Please contact our Retrofit department for details.

The Bottom Line

With “Thermal Sensor Layer Automation” large scale composite additive manufacturing has become a valuable new production tool, suitable for a much larger segment of manufacturing applications. It is no longer exclusive to the rare few with highly specialized personnel but it now works for about anyone.

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