Thermwood Cut Ready 43 Video - Machining a Door and Matching Drawer Front Using Diamond Tooling

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Jun 07, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, Cut Ready, Cut Center, cabinets, Video, doors, No Programming, Cut Ready 43, Artie

The video below shows the powerful Cut Ready 43 machining a door and matching drawer front in MDF using diamond tooling. 

MDF Doors on the Cut Ready 43 machined with diamond tooling

Cut Ready 43 Door and Drawer Front Video


More Info on the Cut Ready 43 with Artie Inside

More Info on the Cut Ready 43 with Artie Inside

The Cut Ready 43 shown above is equipped with a 5 by 8 table, a 21-position tool changer and a high flow vacuum hold-down system (additional table sizes and options are available).

The Cut Ready 43 is intended to bring the magic of Artie to a lower priced system. It features a full-sized vacuum table and, just like its big brother, doesn’t require a CNC programmer. Just like a Cut Center, it can help you quickly and easily create most products a cabinet shop would want to make without a CNC programmer (only operational training is required).

Since this is a CNC router at its core, you are free to program and operate it as a normal CNC router if you want, but the magic of Artie makes the Cut Ready 43 a whole new exciting experience!

For More Info on the Cut Ready 43, please click here.


Learn More about Artie 

Learn more about Artie and how he helps you operate the Cut Ready 43

Cut Ready doesn't need a programmer because there is already one inside the control. We call him "Artie".

Despite the cute name, Artie is actually a cutting edge, artificial intelligence engine inside the Cut Ready control. 

He is the first A.I. dedicated to making your manufacturing life easier to handle.  While he is a CNC programmer and designer at heart, he also watches over your shoulder to make sure everything goes smoothly and efficiently. 

You tell him what you want and he creates a program to make it. Be it cabinets, doors, moldings or furniture, Artie will program it for you! 

These are not pre-programmed libraries. No part programs exist in the control until Artie creates them.  He is already capable of programming tens of millions of unique products and is constantly learning how to make and do more and more new things. Artie is easy enough that virtually anyone can work with him with little or no training. For more on Artie, click here.

Request More Information from Thermwood

Thermwood 2019 Scholarship Recipients

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, May 22, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Scholarship, 2019

Thermwood is proud to announce Audrey Jones and Mackenzie Tullis as our scholarship recipients for the Class of 2019.  Each 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. 

Audrey Jones

Audrey Jones is the daughter of Amie and Carl Jones of Ferdinand, IN.  She is a graduate of Forest Park High School. She has been involved in Community Impact, Student Council 9th and 10th grade, Key Club, 4H, and Golf. 

While at Forest Park she has received most improved Sophomore in Band, State Runner Up in Band, and MVP in Golf for 2 years. 

This fall Audrey will be attending IUPUI to study Clinical Lab Science.

.

 

 

 

Mackenzie TullisMackenzie Tullis is the daughter of Mark and Melanie Tullis of Lincoln City, IN. She is a graduate of Heritage Hills High School.  She has been a member of Patriot Vibe. 

Mackenzie will be studying Dental Hygiene at the University of Southern Indiana.

 

 
 

 

 

Thermwood would like to congratulate all seniors of the Class of 2019 and wish them the very best in their future studies and endeavors! 

Dimensional Innovations now has Kansas City’s biggest 3-D printer

Posted by Duane Marrett on Mon, May 13, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, 3D printing, LSAM, Thermwood LSAM, Additive Manufacturing, Dimensional Innovations, Kansas City


Dimensional Innovations now has Kansas City’s biggest 3-D printer

Overland Park-based Dimensional Innovations unveiled its newest piece of equipment, a $2.2 million 3-D printer and five-axis router that can make items 10 feet wide, 20 feet long and 5 feet high.

Dimensional Innovations now owns the largest 3-D printer in the Kansas City area.

Dimensional Innovations now owns the largest 3-D printer in the Kansas City area.


©2019 Kansas City Buiness Journal.  All rights reserved.  Reprinted with permission

(Note this article was originally published on May 2nd, 2019, here)


Produced by Thermwood, the equipment is known as a Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machine. It can produce huge components from reinforced thermoplastic composite materials. It’s the only one of its kind in the Kansas City area and one of only a handful currently in use in the U.S.

“Within the design, architecture and construction space, we’re not aware of anyone else who has this capability,” Dimensional Innovations CEO Tucker Trotter said. “There is not really someone else we can look to for examples on how to use this equipment, so we’re going to have to define that. It puts pressure on our team because there aren’t answers yet, but it also opens up incredible opportunities.”

Trotter said the purchase of the LSAM was driven by a secret project DI isn't allowed to discuss at this time, for production of a large-scale, iconic element. It had limitations on weight, needed to be prefabricated so it could be assembled in the field, had to be strong enough to meet wind load and had fire-proofing requirements.

“I went into the discussion for this project thinking it was really not a good fit for us,” Trotter said. “I couldn’t see how we could do it. But the culture at DI is so cool that we had people here who didn’t take no for an answer and spoke up saying they thought we could do it and here’s how. It started as a crazy idea, but now that we’ve got this equipment, I think it’s really going to advance who we are and how we’re seen by a lot of people.”

The company's growth made the addition possible. DI's business had outgrown its headquarters at 3421 Merriam Drive in Overland Park, so it moved the sign fabrication business to a new shop at 15500 W. 108th St. in Lenexa. That created room at the headquarters, allowing the company to buy the LSAM. It also is allowing DI to start building out about 50 new offices inside the headquarters, creating room to hire more designers and sales people.

DI has also been expanding into other cities, opening offices in Atlanta, Minneapolis and, most recently, Los Angeles.

“The smaller satellite offices have been low risk, and they’ve been very successful,” Trotter said. “We like that and will continue to do that. It puts our people and brainpower closer to projects.”

It also helps the company attract more talent, which in turn leads to more work.


About Dimensional Innovations

Dimensional Innovations - Dimensional Innovations is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary firm that creates dynamic, engaging and interactive solutions that bring brands to life.  DI helps businesses develop exceptional brand experiences to captivate and engage their target market. Works with clients that include 50,000 seat stadiums and history museums to create experiences customers will love. Focuses on the sports, corporate, student life and entertainment industries.

More Information on LSAM

LSAM is based on exciting new technology developed from an entirely new direction.

LSAM is intended for industrial production. It is not a lab, evaluation or demonstration machine, but is instead a full-fledged industrial additive manufacturing system intended for the production of large scale components.

Much of the technology used in Thermwood’s LSAM machines and print process is completely new. Thermwood has already received numerous patents on these revolutionary developments and many more are in the works. In addition to the projects already announced, many other exciting results that LSAM has already achieved are covered by non-disclosure agreements and must be kept secret. LSAM is truly state-of-the-art in the exciting new world of large scale additive manufacturing.

The Secret to LSAM Print Quality...A Different Process

Examples of large parts easily printed on Thermwood's LSAM

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood's Cut Ready - The First CNC That Doesn't Need a Programmer!

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, May 01, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, AWFS, Cut Ready, Cut Center, cabinets, closets, Furniture, No Programming, Easy CNC, Cut Ready 43, Artie

Cut Ready By Thermwood

Cut Ready - The First CNC That Doesn't Need a Programmer!

Artie InsideCut Ready doesn’t need a programmer because there is already one inside the control. We call him “Artie”.

Despite the cute name, Artie is actually a cutting edge, artificial intelligence engine inside the Cut Ready control. You tell him what you want and he creates a program to make it. 

Artie has actually been hiding out behind the scenes in the Cut Ready control this whole time, but he has never made an appearance until now. He is the first A.I. dedicated to making your manufacturing life easier to handle.  While he is a CNC programmer and designer at heart, he also watches over your shoulder to make sure everything goes smoothly and efficiently. 

No programming is necessary with Artie on the job!

You tell him what you want and he creates a program to make it. Whether it is cabinets, doors, moldings or furniture, Artie will program it for you! 

These are not pre-programmed libraries. No part programs exist in the control until Artie creates them. 
He is already capable of programming tens of millions of unique products and is constantly learning how to make and do more and more new things.

Artie is easy enough that virtually anyone can work with him with little or no training. 
 

 


Let Artie do the programming for you in Cut Ready

 

Cut Ready is currently available on two machines from Thermwood:

More Info on the Cut Center with Artie Inside

The Cut Center - requires neither a CNC programmer nor a trained machine operator. Artie moves beyond just programming to guide the operator through the entire production process real time. It is complete, fully contained with all the ancillary equipment smoothly integrated into a package that almost runs itself.  Pretty much anyone can run a Cut Center.

 

 

More Info on the Cut Ready 43 with Artie Inside

 

 

The Cut Ready 43 - is a lower-priced machine that doesn’t need a CNC programmer, but does require a trained and somewhat skilled machine operator.  With the Cut Ready 43 system, Artie offers help during the production process, but not quite to the extent that it does with a Cut Center.  

 

Cut Ready Series Machines Detailed Comparison 


More Info on the Cut Ready 43 with Artie Inside

The Cut Ready 43 is equipped with a 5 by 8 table, a 21-position tool changer and a high flow vacuum hold-down system (additional table sizes and options are available).

The Cut Ready 43 is intended to bring the magic of Artie to a lower-priced system. It features a full-sized vacuum table and, just like its big brother, doesn’t require a CNC programmer. Just like a Cut Center, it can help you quickly and easily create most products a cabinet shop would want to make without a CNC programmer (only operational training is required).

Since this is a CNC router at its core, you are free to program and operate it as a normal CNC router if you want, but the magic of Artie makes the Cut Ready 43 a whole new exciting experience!

For More Info on the Cut Ready 43, please click here.

The video below shows the powerful Cut Ready 43 machining a door and matching drawer front in MDF using diamond tooling. 


More Info on the Cut Center with Artie Inside

The Thermwood Cut Center is equipped with a 5'x10' table, easy sheet flipper, vacuum cups and a host of other software and equipment.  It is all designed to help you save time and money, using an easy to operate and sophisticated combination of software and machinery that you can feel confident in.  

We've taken the fear out of automation by combining our easy to use interface and years of experience in the industry to create a powerful tool that will allow you to focus more on your products, business, making money, and worry less about being intimidated by the technical details. It is complete, fully contained with all the ancillary equipment smoothly integrated into a package that almost runs itself.

The Cut Center is the ultimate in next generation CNC. 

Your time is money, and the Cut Center helps you save more of both.

For More Info on the Cut Center, please click here.

Cut Center Start Screen 

Visit AWFS 2019 and try out the Cut Center for yourself!

See the Thermwood Cut Center in action at AWFS 2019!

The 2019 AWFS Show (July 17th-20th) promises to be an exciting opportunity to visit Las Vegas and see the very latest technology from Thermwood!  Like the award winning Thermwood Cut Center (make virtually anything a cabinet shop would want to make - with no programming).

Visit AWFS 2019 and try out the Award Winning Thermwood Cut Center

See Just How Easy it is to use the Cut Center

The Thermwood Cut Center will be in action during AWFS 2019.  You'll have the opportunity to see just how easy it is to run this amazing machine.  Just tell it what you want, and it makes it...it is that easy! 

We'll be demonstrating live during the show, and you can be part of it by helping to operate the Cut Center.  Please visit our booth (#7425) and speak to a Thermwood representative to get your hands on this exciting machine! Make plans now to visit us and see this exciting technology in person! 


What Some of Our Cut Center Customers Are Saying...

What some of our Cut Center customers are saying about their machines


Request More Information from Thermwood

Thermwood 3 Axis High-Performance Heavy-Duty Model 45 Videos

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Apr 18, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, High Performance, Model 45, Video, Heavy Duty

dual_spindle_m45_lg.jpgThe Thermwood Multi-Purpose 45 is a heavy-duty, high-performance three axis CNC router designed for real-world production.

Available in either single or dual spindles (with optional rotary axis), the Model 45 is used in the machining of composites, tooling boards, plastic sheets, aluminum, cabinets, solid wood, millwork, phenolic, display fixtures, nested based panels and much more.  

This versatile machine is available in a variety of table sizes and has enough standard features and options to get the job done.

Features of the Model 45:

  • 12 HP HSD Spindle (3,000-24,000 RPM). Optional 18 HP Spindle
  • 4 Position Bar Style Automatic Tool Changer. Optional 7 Position
  • Optional Rotary Axis (accepts stock from 8" (200mm) in diameter and up to 56" (1.4m) in length)
  • Fixed Steel High Flow Table with Moving Gantry (sizes from 5'x5' to 7'x12')
  • Multi-Function Table (pod system capable) (Optional)
  • At the Head Automatic Tool Changer (Optional)
  • Extended Z Clearance and Stroke (Optional)
  • Optional Pod System Available
  • Optional Pause Mats Available
  • Automatic Lubrication (optional)
  • Automatic Tool Length Measurement (Optional)
  • Three-Dimensional Laser Compensated Axis Alignment
  • Control Nesting
  • Siemens Intelligent Servo Drives Throughout
  • QCore SuperControl
  • Machine Training and Installation
  • Free Lifetime Phone/Forum Support

Videos




 

Request More Information from Thermwood

2019 Thermwood Dealer Conference and Awards Dinner

Posted by Duane Marrett on Mon, Apr 15, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Dealer Conference, Tech Con, AAI, 2019, Rind Routing, Process & Production Equipment

Thermwood Dealers participate in the 2019 Dealer Conference at our headquarters in Dale, IN

We recently held our 2019 Dealer Conference at our headquarters in Dale, IN. The purpose of this annual event is to get all of our domestic and international dealers together in informative sessions to discuss sales strategies and also to present the exciting changes and new products we plan to release in the next year.

Awards Dinner and Fun

Of course, the conference isn't all work and no play!  It also gives everyone a chance to socialize and catch up on news, as well as the opportunity to award our top sellers special prizes at the awards dinner.  We also had a birthday celebration this year!

Thermwood dealer Dave White with his Birthday cake!Thermwood Dealer Dave White with his "30th" Birthday cake

Huge Pork Chop during Thermwood 2019 Dealer Awards Dinner
Yum!  Huge pork chop at the Thermwood Dealer Awards Dinner


Some of our employees and dealers also entertained with music and singing. 

South African Dealer Rayno Von Schlicht playing guitar at the 2019 Thermwood Dealer Conference Awards Dinner
South African Dealer Rayno Von Schlicht

Thermwood Dealer Dave White playing guitar at the 2019 Thermwood Dealer Conference Awards Dinner
Thermwood Dealer Dave White

Turkish Dealer Mengu Arslanoglu and Thermwood's Duane Marrett playing guitar at the 2019 Thermwood Dealer Conference Awards Dinner
Turkish Dealer Mengu Arslanoglu and Thermwood's Duane Marrett


Top Sales Awards for 2018 

This year, our top dealership was Automation Associates, Inc.  Second and third places went to Tech Conn and Process & Production Equipment.  The award for top International Sales went to Rind Routing out of South Africa.  Congratulations, guys!

First Place - 2018 Sales

1st Place AAI

Pictured above are: (l-r) Jason Susnjara (VP Marketing for Thermwood), Mark Drone (Automation Associates, Inc) and Dennis Palmer (VP Sales for Thermwood).


 Second Place - 2018 Sales

2nd Place Tech Conn

Pictured above are: (l-r) Jason Susnjara (VP Marketing for Thermwood), Glenn Suss (Tech Conn) and Dennis Palmer (VP Sales for Thermwood).


 Third Place - 2018 Sales

3rd Place Process and Production Equipment

Pictured above (l-r) are: Jason Susnjara (VP Marketing for Thermwood), Bob Varwig and Kevin Varwig (Process & Production Equipment) and Dennis Palmer (VP Sales for Thermwood).


 Top International Dealer - 2018 Sales

Top International Sales - Rind Routing

Pictured above are: (l-r) Jason Susnjara (VP Marketing for Thermwood), Rayno Von Schlicht (Rind Routing Services - South Africa) and Dennis Palmer (VP Sales for Thermwood).


LSAM Demonstration

Thermwood personnel, domestic and international dealers attend an LSAM demonstration on our trainer machine during the 2019 Dealer Conference.

Thermwood personnel, domestic and international dealers attend an LSAM demonstration on our trainer machine during the 2019 Dealer Conference.

Thermwood personnel, domestic and international dealers attend an LSAM demonstration on our trainer machine during the 2019 Dealer Conference.


 Cut Center Demonstration

Thermwood personnel, domestic and international dealers also attended a Cut Center demonstration during the 2019 Dealer Conference.

Thermwood personnel, domestic and international dealers also attended a Cut Center demonstration during the 2019 Dealer Conference.

Thermwood personnel, domestic and international dealers also attended a Cut Center demonstration during the 2019 Dealer Conference.

 

AUM Wood Products On Their New Thermwood Cut Ready Cut Center

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Mar 27, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, CNC Routers, Woodworking, 3 Axis, CNC Router, Cut Ready, Cut Center, cabinets, doors, moldings, closets, Furniture, No Programming, Testimonials, Cut Center Impressions, Easy CNC, drawer boxes, AUM Wood Products

Thermwood's Award Winning Cut Center is an exciting alternative to traditional CNC routers - just tell the machine what you what to make and it does it...it is that simple!  No programming is required!  Also, you can operate the system as a CNC router in the traditional manner, running programs generated with virtually any CNC software.

Here we present a short video featuring a new Thermwood Cut Center owner and his impressions of the machine and its capabilities.

Matt Schiller of AUM Wood Products with his employees and their new Thermwood Cut Center

Take a listen to Matt Schiller of AUM Wood Products in Spicer, MN as he discusses their Thermwood Cut Center and what the machine is doing for his business.

  

Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center


Below are a few more Cut Center owner impressions as well - take a listen to Larry Crutchfield of Alpha Woodworks in Dothan, AL, Tim Richardson of Timberwood Properties in Leesburg, FL, Aaron Barlow of Original Woodworking in Bluffdale, UT, Michael Bednark of Bednark Inc. in Brooklyn, NY, John Allan of Arkansas Wood Doors in Pottsville, AR and Donovan Mumma of Byrne Custom Woodworking in Lenexa, KS as they discuss their new Cut Centers and what the machine is going to do for each business. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 


About The Cut Ready Cut Center

Operate as a Cut Center with NO Programming or as a Traditional CNC Router, running programs generated with virtually any CNC software.

Thermwood APM Adding Inserts to Nomex Core Video

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Feb 28, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, APM, Aerospace Panel Machine, Nomex, Inserts

Thermwood APM - Aerospace Panel Insertion

Designed for quick panel insertion for the aerospace and satellite industries. The Thermwood Three-Axis APM 6'x10' is a high-performance machine that greatly speeds up the insertion process.


Main Features

  • 18 HP HSD Spindle (3,000-24,000 RPM)
  • 6 Position Bar Style Automatic Tool Changer.
  • 1/2" Thick Gridded Aluminum Vacuum Table with Moving Gantry
  • At the Head Automatic Tool Changer
  • (1) One Vibratory Feeding Systems
  • Glue Station
  • Robotic Transfer Arm
  • Pop Up Pins
  • Absolute Linear Encoder
  • Automatic Tool Length Sensor
  • Automatic Lubrication

Video

The video below shows the APM in action quickly adding inserts to Nomex Core.

More Information

Request More Information from Thermwood 

 

Latest Cut Ready Update Adds Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions and Much More

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Feb 20, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, software update, Announcements, Cut Ready, Cut Center, cabinets, Cut Center Updates

Latest Cut Ready Update Summary

Included in this update is the addition of Artie, a new Outdoor Cabinets Library, Publisher improvements and the addition of Lock Dowels.  We are constantly adding new features and abilities to the Award-Winning Cut Ready Cut Center

With this latest update, we've added over 1,200 additional cabinet definitions, updated many cabinet images and expanded the information presented with the cabinet, added an informational Update section to Cut Ready, added varying depths to Shaker Doors and incorporated the ability for users to share left over off-fall between Cut Ready and CNC Mode. 

Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions Added

Thermwood has added over 1,200 new cabinet definitions to Cut Ready, giving Artie (Cut Ready's A.I.) the ability to make a wider range of cabinet styles!  This batch of definitions focus on kitchen base cabinets for both frameless & face frame choices. Below are a few examples: 

Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions Added to Cut Ready

Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions Added to Cut Ready

Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions Added to Cut Ready

Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions Added to Cut Ready

Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions Added to Cut Ready

Over 1,200 Cabinet Definitions Added to Cut Ready

Updated Images and Descriptions

We’ve also replaced lots of cabinet images to make choosing a cabinet easier, while also including valuable information:

Updated images and descriptions in Cut Ready

Updated images and descriptions in Cut Ready

Updated images and descriptions in Cut Ready

Updated images and descriptions in Cut Ready

Updated images and descriptions in Cut Ready

Expanded Update Information

Finding out what is in each update just got easier, too.  Simply select the information button to learn what is in each update.

Expanded update information in Cut Ready

Varying Depths for Shaker Doors

Shaker Doors now have varying depths to choose from:

Shaker doors now have varying depths to choose from in Cut Ready

Shaker doors now have varying depths to choose from in Cut Ready

Shaker doors now have varying depths to choose from in Cut Ready

Shaker doors now have varying depths to choose from in Cut Ready

Shaker doors now have varying depths to choose from in Cut Ready

Easily Share Off-Fall Between Cut Ready and CNC Mode

Advanced users who currently switch between Cut Ready and CNC Mode can now easily share your left-over off-fall between the two modes.

Easily share off-fall between Cut Ready and CNC Mode

 

About the Cut Center

Thermwood Cut Center Nesting Drawer Boxes

The Thermwood Cut Center is an exciting alternative to traditional CNC routers for making a wide variety of products including cabinets, closets, furniture, doors, drawers and much more.  Just tell the machine what you what to make and it does it...it is that simple!  NO programming is required. 

Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

 

Thermwood and Bell 3D Print Helicopter Blade Mold

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Feb 07, 2019

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, 3D printing, Additive, LSAM, 3D Print, Thermwood LSAM, Additive Manufacturing, Bell, Bell Helicopter, Bell Flight, Helicopter

A joint venture program between Thermwood and Bell has pushed the limits of 3D printing, resulting in what Thermwood believes is the largest 3D printed autoclave capable tool ever made. 

The first half of an 18 foot helicopter blade mold that was 3D Printed on a Thermwood LSAM in just over 3 hours.

The first half of an 18 foot helicopter blade mold that was 3D Printed in just over 3 hours


A common limiting factor within aerospace development programs is expensive, long-lead time tooling.  Bell, not being satisfied abiding by the industry norms, decided to reach out to Thermwood to help solve this challenge.

Glenn Isbell quote regarding Thermwood's LSAM

Video

The Challenge

Shortly after initial conversations with Bell, the Thermwood team offered an opportunity of a partnership centering around the capabilities of their new 60mm melt core technology.  The original challenge for quickly and affordably manufacturing large bond tooling seemed closer to reality than ever before. 

Bell responded to this opportunity in kind by providing Thermwood a model of a closed cavity blade mold measuring approximately 20 feet long, 14 inches wide and 17 inches high. 

The basic tooling requirements were as follows:

  • Must to be printed in one continuous run for vacuum integrity
  • Surface finish must be 32 RMS or better
  • Tooling must be able to withstand 90 psi at 360°F. 
  • Tight tolerances and features were also required to ensure proper mating of the two blade mold halves.

The Process

Upon receiving the model and requirements, the Thermwood team sprang into action. Utilizing their new 60mm melt core technology, they began to print the tool using TechmerPM’s 25% Carbon Fiber reinforced PESU (Polyethersulfone) in one continuous run. Working closely with Thermwood, Techmer has formulated this material specifically for LSAM additive printing.

The printable material has a Glass Transition Temperature of over 400°F and can easily survive common aerospace component cure cycles of up to 360°F, at 90psi. The combination of Techmer's new materials and Thermwood's printing technology, resulted in a print time of one tool half in just 3 hours 8 minutes and an “as printed” weight of 542 pounds.

Thermwood technicians claim the Techmer PESU material prints as easily as ABS, although at a much higher temperature, allowing quality autoclave-capable molds to be made from the high temperature polymer.

Thermwood LSAM 3D Printing an 18 ft helicopter blade mold

This extraordinary achievement was made possible by a new, larger melt core recently installed on Thermwood’s LSAM system at its Development/Demonstration Lab in Southern Indiana. The standard LSAM machine print head housing can be equipped with different capacity melt cores, each offering different minimum and maximum throughputs.

Continuous Cooling Print Process

With Thermwood’s room temperature “Continuous Cooling” print process, the cycle time for each layer is determined solely by how long it takes a particular printed polymer to cool to the proper temperature to accept the next layer.

Only by printing at the proper temperature can you achieve a totally fused, void-free printed structure that will maintain vacuum in an autoclave without a coating. The print head output determines how much material can be printed during the time it takes for the layer to cool. Bigger print heads mean larger parts, not necessarily faster layer to layer print time.

LSAM Print 3D software infared camera view.

Thermographic view of the part being printed

The new 60mm melt core has a measured maximum output of 480 to 570 pounds per hour depending on the polymer being printed and can print over 100 feet of typical print bead (.830” x .200”) per minute. This high print rate, even when processing high temperature material, allows the print bead to be oriented along the length of the tool. This is desirable for Bell, who manufactures large composite parts, because thermal expansion is significantly lower in that direction, minimizing expansion and contraction of the tool with temperature changes.

Internal Printed Support Structure

Another interesting feature of this tool is that the internal printed structure supports the mold without actually contacting or touching the back side of the mold cavity. This means air can flow freely under the entire formed part in the autoclave, making the part curing process easier and more consistent. The ability to incorporate a complex internal design, such as this, is another major advantage of using additive manufacturing for this type of tooling.

Internal 3D Printed support structure in a 18 foot hellicopter blade mold on a Thermwood LSAM

3D printed internal support structures

Thermwood’s LSAM Print 3D slicing software specifically supports programming of involved internal structures such as these.

Internal support structure shown on LSAM Print 3D software.

Internal support structure shown on LSAM Print 3D software.

Internal support structure shown on LSAM Print 3D software.

Internal support structures in  LSAM Print 3D slicing software


Bell Investigates Multiple Manufacturing Processes

Bell is continuing to investigate integrated technologies that support multiple manufacturing processes and tools.  The LSAM is capable of supporting printing processes as well as trim and drill processes to meet aerospace specifications.  Once printed, the team began to machine the bond tool half by utilizing the other aspect of the LSAM system.  The total machining time of the lower blade mold half was 40 hours.  

James Cordell quote regarding Thermwood's LSAM

The completed bond tool was able to maintain Bell’s vacuum standards required for autoclave processing right from the machine, without the need for a seal coating

Part maintaining vacuum during extended testing

Part maintaining vacuum during extended testing

The part steadily holding vacuum during testing

The part steadily holding vacuum during testing


Next Steps

The Thermwood team will print the second half of the blade mold, with the intention of having Bell cure a full molded blade within the final additively-manufactured bond tool, another first.  Further testing will be completed by both Thermwood and Bell teams on PESU printed molds, to continue innovating in this space. 

Final Thoughts

Ken Susnjara Quote on Bell

Thermwood believes recent LSAM technology advances such as Vertical Layer Printing and Changeable Melt Cores (coupled with polymers specially tailored for LSAM processing), are opening exciting new possibilities for additive production of even larger and more technically complex components.

More Information on LSAM

LSAM is based on exciting new technology developed from an entirely new direction.

LSAM is intended for industrial production. It is not a lab, evaluation or demonstration machine, but is instead a full-fledged industrial additive manufacturing system intended for the production of large scale components.

Much of the technology used in Thermwood's LSAM machines and print process is completely new. Thermwood has already received numerous patents on these revolutionary developments and many more are in the works.

LSAM is the Leader in Large Scale Additive Sales

In the last year, Thermwood's LSAM additive manufacturing systems were the clear market leaders in the sale of large scale 3D printing systems for thermoplastic composite materials, selling virtually all systems in the US during the year.

LSAM is truly state-of-the-art in the exciting new world of large scale additive manufacturing.

The Secret to LSAM Print Quality...A Different Process

Examples of large parts easily printed on Thermwood's LSAM

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM