Boeing and Thermwood Partner to Demonstrate New 3D Printing Technology

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, Oct 09, 2018

Tags: Thermwood, Thermwood LSAM, LSAM, 3D Print, 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing, Additive, Boeing, Announcements, VLP, Vertical Layer Printing, aerospace, 777x


Boeing and Thermwood Partner to Demonstrate New 3D Printing Technology


Boeing and Thermwood Partner to Demonstrate New 3D Printing Technology

Boeing and Thermwood have employed additive manufacturing technology to produce a large, single-piece tool for the 777X program.  The project is demonstrating that additive manufacturing is ready to produce production quality tooling for the aerospace industry.

Thermwood used a Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machine and newly developed Vertical Layer Print (VLP) 3D printing technology to fabricate the tool as a one-piece print, eliminating the additional cost and schedule required for assembly of multiple 3D printed tooling components. In the joint demonstration program, Thermwood printed and trimmed the 12-foot-long R&D tool at its southern Indiana demonstration lab and delivered it to Boeing in August 2018.

Boeing Research & Technology engineer Michael Matlack believes the use of Thermwood’s additive manufacturing technology in this application provided a significant advantage, saving weeks of time and enabling delivery of the tool before traditional tooling could be fabricated.

Boeing & Thermwood tool after vertical layer printing

The tool was printed as a single piece from 20% carbon fiber reinforced ABS using the Vertical Layer Print system. Boeing purchased a Thermwood LSAM machine with the VLP functionality for the Interiors Responsibility Center (IRC) facility in Everett, Washington.

The ability to quickly produce large-scale tooling at a quality level suitable for a real world production environment represents a significant step in moving additive technology from the laboratory to the factory floor.

Boeing & Thermwood final machined part

Please click below for video 


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.

Thermwood has already applied for 19 separate patents on various aspects of this new technology (several have already been granted and more will be coming as development continues). LSAM is truly “state of the art” in this 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

LSAM Printed PESU Tool is Vacuum Ready Without the Use of External Coatings

Posted by Duane Marrett on Mon, Oct 08, 2018

Tags: Thermwood, Thermwood LSAM, LSAM, 3D Print, 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing, Additive, Announcements, Test Results

LSAM Printed PESU Tool is Vacuum Ready Without the Use of Coatings

Thermwood recently printed a tool using PESU (which is a high temp material mixed with 25% carbon fiber) to test for vacuum integrity on an LSAM (Large Scale Additive Manufacturing) system.  After printing and machining the tool, we vacuum bagged it and immediately achieved 28 InHg.  The vacuum line to the bag was then removed, and almost 2 hours later, the vacuum had only dropped 1 InHg to 27 InHg. 

This test result was achieved without the use of any type of external coatings or sealers - the bag was placed directly on the final trimmed surface. 

LSAM tool vacuum test - with vacuum line attached


LSAM tool vacuum test - holding vacuum with vacuum line attached


LSAM tool vacuum test - holding vacuum with vacuum line removed


LSAM tool vacuum test - holding vacuum with vacuum line removed - Closeup


LSAM PESU Part - Side View

See this Process in Person at CAMX 2018

Thermwood will have this tool on display to demonstrate this process in our booth (J60) at the upcoming CAMX show held in Dallas, TX on Oct 16th-18th. 


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.

Thermwood has already applied for 19 separate patents on various aspects of this new technology (several have already been granted and more will be coming as development continues). LSAM is truly “state of the art” in this 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

The Secret to LSAM Print Quality… A Different Process

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Aug 17, 2018

Tags: Thermwood, Thermwood LSAM, LSAM, 3D Print, 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing, Additive

The Secret to LSAM Print Quality… A Different Process

Prior to LSAM, 3D polymer printing was all done using essentially the same approach. Parts were printed with a small print bead onto a hot table, in a heated chamber, keeping the printed part hot until printing was complete.

While this worked reasonably well for smaller net shape parts, scaling the process up for large near-net-shape parts didn’t work quite as well.


A Different Approach

Thermwood took a fundamentally different approach with our LSAM large scale additive manufacturing system. Instead of printing with a small bead in a heated environment, Thermwood uses a large bead, printed at room temperature in an essentially “continuous cooling” process.

Thermwood LSAM compression wheel printing a large bead.

The beads are large enough, with enough heat energy, to completely fuse with the previous layer. Thermwood also employs a temperature controlled “compression wheel” to form the round melt coming from the print nozzle into a flattened bead and fuse it with the previous layer.

With this process, print speed is essentially controlled by the cooling rate of the polymer being printed, rather than by the output of the print head. The printed bead must cool enough to support the next layer, but must still be warm enough to fuse completely with it.

This means that there is a specific temperature range, which is different for each polymer, where this approach to printing works. Each polymer requires a certain amount of time to cool to within that temperature range. That amount of time is the fastest that a layer can be printed, regardless of its size.

Thermwood LSAM can easily print very large parts

The output capacity of the print head simply determines how large a layer you can print in the amount of time available for each layer. Thermwood’s standard 40mm melt core can print layer lap lengths of over 200 ft. with most polymers. For even larger parts, Thermwood is working on an even larger melt core which can be retrofitted into the same print head housing as the 40mm core.

This process yields almost perfectly fused structures. Molds printed using the LSAM process routinely hold vacuum at elevated temperature and pressure in an autoclave without the need for any type of external coating.

Examples of large parts easily printed on Thermwood's LSAM

Unique Part Hold Down Method

The only issue remaining was how to hold the parts during printing. In the previous process, polymer parts tend to stick to a heated table. Since Thermwood’s process doesn’t have a heated table, this wouldn't work. Also, since parts are both printed and trimmed on the same machine with LSAM, the part needed to be held for trimming after it was printed and cooled. Parts generally release from a heated table when they cool down.

LSAM's Patented "Bead Board"

Part printed on Thermwood LSAM"s patented "bead board"

Thermwood’s approach to this requirement turned out to be quite unique. We developed a “bead board” to hold the parts both during printing and trimming.

The beard board consists of a plywood panel to which ABS pellets or “beads” are glued.

When a part is printed with this method, it fuses with the ABS beads holding it to the board, but one additional thing happens. Heat from the printed bead not only heats the ABS beads but also heats the glue holding them.

The glue softens enough that the beads can move on the board as the part cools and shrinks, eliminating cooling stresses that might otherwise be generated by a more rigid system. Once cool, the glue re-hardens holding the part securely for trimming. A couple of large screwdrivers and a hammer will remove the part once it is complete. 

LSAM Printing - Final Thoughts

This print approach required an almost complete rethinking of the print head design, control system operation and software, and we will explore those issues later.

For now, know that LSAM printing, at its very core, is fundamentally different. 

Complex part printed on Thermwood's LSAM


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.

Thermwood has already applied for 19 separate patents on various aspects of this new technology (several have already been granted and more will be coming as development continues). LSAM is truly “state of the art” in this exciting new world of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing. 

LSAM produces superior printed parts.

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood LSAM 10'x40' - The World's Largest Composite 3D Printer is Now Installed at Local Motors!

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jun 27, 2018

Tags: Thermwood, Thermwood LSAM, LSAM, 3D Print, 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing, Additive, Local Motors, World's Largest 3D Composite 3D Printer, Olli

Installation of the world's largest composite 3D Printer is now complete at Local Motors. This massive Thermwood LSAM 10'x40' is ready to get to work making the Olli! 

Installation of the world's largest composite 3D Printer is now complete at Local Motors. This massive Thermwood LSAM 10'x40' is ready to get to work making the Olli!
Thermwood LSAM 10'x40' - Ready to work! 


Looking down the working envelope from the print gantry side of the Thermwood 10'x40' LSAMLooking down the working envelope from the print gantry side of the Thermwood 10'x40' LSAM

A part in the process of being printed on the Thermwood 10'x40' LSAM at Local MotorsA part in the process of being printed on the Thermwood 10'x40' LSAM at Local Motors

Looking down the working envelope from the print gantry side of the 10'x40' Thermwood LSAM at Local Motors
Looking down the working envelope from the print gantry side

Another view of the 10'x40' LSAM at Local MotorsAnother view of the 10'x40' LSAM at Local Motors

A view from the trim gantry side of the Thermwood LSAM 10'x40' at Local MotorsA view from the trim gantry side of the Thermwood LSAM 10'x40' at Local Motors

About The Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood offers a line of dual gantry additive manufacturing machines which both print and trim parts on the same machine. These are large industrial additive manufacturing machines that can be up to 100 feet long.  Thermwood LSAM 10'x20'

LSAM (pronounced L-sam) represents an all new technology for large scale 3D printing of thermoplastic polymers. While other large scale additive efforts attempt to scale up small, filament-fed desktop printer techniques, LSAM is, at its core, designed for additive manufacturing of large structures using a fundamentally different approach

LSAM is different. The print process is different. The machine is different. The print head is different. The control is different. The software is different and the resulting parts are different.

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.

Although suitable for producing a wide variety of components, Thermwood is focusing on producing industrial tooling, masters, patterns, molds and production fixtures for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, foundry and boating.       

About Local Motors

Local MotorsLocal Motors is a ground mobility company focused on shaping the future for the better. Founded in 2007 with a belief in open collaboration and co-creation, Local Motors is a digital OEM, capable of micro-manufacturing, sales, service and operations all from a local footprint using a microfactory.

Meet Olli

 

 

Thermwood LSAM 10'x20' and 10'x40' in Production

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, May 16, 2018

Tags: Thermwood, Thermwood LSAM, LSAM, 3D Print, 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing, Additive

Birds-eye view of two Thermwood LSAM (Large Scale Additive Manufacturing) machines currently in production here at our factory. Get up close and personal with a 10'x20' as well as a massive 10'x40' LSAM Large Format 3D printer. 

About The Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood offers a line of dual gantry additive manufacturing machines which both print and trim parts on the same machine. These are large industrial additive manufacturing machines that can be up to 100 feet long.  

Thermwood LSAM 10'x20'

The Thermwood LSAM is used to produce large to very large sized components from reinforced thermoplastic composite materials. 

Although suitable for producing a wide variety of components, Thermwood is focusing on producing industrial tooling, masters, patterns, molds and production fixtures for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, foundry and boating.    

Thermwood LSAM Concrete Mold Print and Trim Video

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Dec 01, 2017

Tags: LSAM, Thermwood, 3D Print, Timelapse, Video, Concrete, Mold

Thermwood LSAM 10'x20' recently 3D printed and trimmed a concrete mold out of carbon fiber-filled ABS.  

This part was designed by Gate Precast, for a project to be completed by Additive Engineering Solutions (AES).

Video 

 

Images

Finished Concrete Mold produced on Thermwood LSAM 10'x20'

The finished part


Concrete Mold shown in Thermwood LSAM Print 3D Software

Concrete Mold shown in Thermwood LSAM Print 3D Software

The part as shown in LSAM Print3D software.


Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM

About The Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood offers a line of dual gantry additive manufacturing machines which both print and trim parts on the same machine. These are large industrial additive manufacturing machines that can be up to 100 feet long.  

Thermwood LSAM 10'x20'

The Thermwood LSAM is used to produce large to very large sized components from reinforced thermoplastic composite materials. 

Although suitable for producing a wide variety of components, Thermwood is focusing on producing industrial tooling, masters, patterns, molds and production fixtures for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, foundry and boating.   

LSAM 3D Printed Boat Hull Pattern Video

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Oct 27, 2017

Tags: Thermwood, LSAM, Additive, Additive Manufacturing, Announcements, 3D Print, 3D printing, Marine Tooling, Boat Hull, Video

The video below shows the process of creating a 3D printed boat hull pattern (from which fiberglass boat hull molds are made), on a Thermwood LSAM. 

Click for More Information on the process

This achievement was the result of a collaborative effort between Thermwood Corporation,Techmer PM and Marine Concepts.

The tool was printed slightly oversized and then trimmed to final net size and shape using a Thermwood’s large scale additive manufacturing (LSAM®) system.

It was made from Techmer’s Electrafil© ABS LT1 3DP, which has proven ideal for marine tooling applications when processed using LSAM print technology. The entire print, assembly and trim process required less than ten working days to complete. After the printed and trimmed tool was coated and finished, a fiberglass mold was produced using the printed pattern. This effort clearly demonstrates the feasibility, practicality, economics and advantages of using additive manufacturing in the production of boat tooling. 

The final tool was printed in six sections, four major center sections with walls approximately an inch and a half thick and a solid printed transom and bow, which were pinned and bonded together using Lord plural component urethane adhesive before being machined as a single piece on the Thermwood system.

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM

Polysulfone Offers Promise for 3D Printed Composite Tooling

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Oct 19, 2017

Tags: Thermwood, LSAM, Additive, Additive Manufacturing, Announcements, PSU, Polysulfone, Composite Tooling, 3D Print, 3D printing

A cooperative effort between Thermwood Corporation, Applied Composite Engineering (ACE), Techmer PM and Purdue University’s Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center has produced a composite helicopter part using a 3D Printed Polysulfone (PSU) mold.

PSU mold printed and machined on a Thermwood 10'x20' LSAM®

PSU mold printed and machined on a Thermwood 10'x20' LSAM®

Final Part from mold (oil drip pan for a Chinook Helicopter)

Final Part from mold (oil drip pan for a Chinook Helicopter)

The Details

The mold was printed from Techmer supplied carbon fiber reinforced material and trimmed on Thermwood’s Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM®) machine. ACE produced a production part from the tool in an autoclave using normal production processes.

Despite the fact that Polysulfone appears to be an ideal material for this application, the participants believe this is the first time PSU has been 3D printed, since it processes at temperatures and requires torque levels above those needed for normal polymer extrusion.  The extruder and print head on Thermwood's LSAM machine has been specially designed for ultra-high temperature, high-torque operation.

3D Printing Mold on Thermwood 10'x20' LSAM®

3D Printing Mold on Thermwood 10'x20' LSAM®

The part, an oil drip pan for a Chinook Helicopter, was molded in an autoclave at 275oF and 90 PSI. The printed mold held vacuum without the need for special coatings other than normal mold prep and release. With a Tg (glass transition temperature) of 372oF the participants believe that this particular PSU formulation may be able to process parts at up to 350oF which is adequate for about 95% of composite parts processed today. Additional tests will be performed to determine the suitability and durability of this material at this temperature. They also plan to evaluate Polyethersulfone (PES) which processes and operates at even higher temperatures.

The PSU mold and resulting part were displayed at the recent AM2017 Additive Manufacturing Conference in Knoxville.

Comparison vs Traditional Methods

Another interesting aspect of this collaborative effort is that a mold for the same part was built by ACE using traditional methods and the cost and build time was compared to making the same tool using additive manufacturing. The results were stunning.

The Results

Additive manufacturing material cost was 34% less and it required 69% fewer labor hours. Build time for the additive tool was 3 days versus 8 days for the conventional tool. If the part was larger, a support structure would be needed for the conventional tool which would add two days and more labor hours to the conventional process. A larger additive tool would not require a support structure.

The goal of this collaborative effort is to develop materials and processes to efficiently and reliably 3D print production composite tooling, capable of operating at elevated temperatures in an autoclave. These first successful results may indicate that they are very near reaching that goal.

Collaborative partners on this project

Applied Composites Engineering – Composites is their business focusing on aerospace. With nearly thirty years in the industry they have shown core competency rarely found in a company their size. This combination of capability and experience provides their customers with the benefits of a larger company supporting more sophisticated projects and larger production along with the speed and flexibility of a smaller enterprise.  

Purdue’s Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center – Their primary focus among others is to develop a comprehensive set of simulation tools that connect composites from their birth in manufacturing to predicting their useful life. They predict and measure the anisotropic deformation that occurs in printed elements, including a description of anisotropic element shape change during deposition in order to anticipate performance of the printed element.

Thermwood Corporation – Pioneer in CNC development, first company to build and sell a CNC router has moved aggressively into developing and building large scale additive manufacturing systems and industry leading software. Its LSAM (L-Sam) system prints and trims large to very large molds and tools that are solid, virtually void free and able to sustain vacuum without secondary coatings.

Techmer PM - A leading manufacturer of high-performance custom compounds used in the plastics industry, they seek to deliver value-added, breakthrough solutions to the OEM and processing communities worldwide. Working extensively with the additive manufacturing community they have developed materials ideally suited to the additive manufacturing process and have wide-ranging experience with additive manufacturing technology.

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood LSAM Facebook Live Printing Walkthrough

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Aug 16, 2017

Tags: LSAM, Thermwood, 3D Print, Facebook Live

Thermwood VP of Marketing, Jason Susnjara gives a short walkthrough of the LSAM 10'x20' while it is concurrently printing two pieces for the marine industry out of 20% carbon fiber-filled ABS.

Jason Susnjara gives a live walkthrough of the Thermwood LSAM printing process.


 

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM

 


About The Thermwood LSAM

Thermwood offers a line of dual gantry additive manufacturing machines which both print and trim parts on the same machine. These machines can be up to 100 feet long with print head output rates from 200 to 500 pounds per hour.  

About the Thermwood LSAM

The Thermwood LSAM is used to produce large to very large sized components from reinforced thermoplastic composite materials. 

Although suitable for producing a wide variety of components, Thermwood is focusing on producing industrial tooling, masters, patterns, molds and production fixtures for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, foundry and boating.   

Thermwood 3D Printed PPS Test Panel Maintains Vacuum Without Coatings

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jun 14, 2017

Tags: LSAM, Thermwood LSAM, 3D Print, 3D printing, Additive, Additive Manufacturing, Announcements, FRC East, PPS, Test Results

Thermwood Logo

Thermwood has taken a major step toward its goal of 3D printing autoclave capable tooling from high temperature carbon fiber filled thermoplastic materials.

As an added benefit, Thermwood believes it will soon produce molds and tooling that function properly under vacuum in a heated, pressurized autoclave without the use of any type of coating to seal the printed tools. 

50% Carbon Fiber filled PPS Panels Tested by Fleet Readiness Center

50% Carbon Fiber Filled PPS Panel Printed and Machined on LSAM

50% Carbon Fiber Filled PPS Panel Printed and Machined on LSAM

Working toward this goal, Thermwood engineers have printed 50% Carbon Fiber filled PPS panels on its LSAM additive manufacturing machine that held vacuum to an industry acceptable level in independent testing. The test was conducted by the Fleet Readiness Center, FRC-East, located at MCAS Cherry Point, NC under a previously announced Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) partnership, and the results met FRC-East acceptance criterion that the bag must not lose more than 2 in Hg over 5 minutes.  

Fleet Readiness Center East

View of LSAM PPS Sample with Vacuum Bag

View of LSAM PPS Sample with Vacuum Bag

View of LSAM PPS Sample and Vacuum Bag without Vacuum Hose
View of LSAM PPS Sample and Vacuum Bag without Vacuum Hose 

Previously, other unaffiliated companies have tested actual tools printed by Thermwood from 20% Carbon Fiber filled ABS and have also found that those tools held vacuum to an acceptable level without the use of any sealer or coating; however, the ABS material is not suitable for high temperature applications. 

LSAM ABS Demonstration Part Showing as printed (rough cut and finished surfaces)

LSAM ABS Demonstration Part showing as printed (rough cut and finished surfaces) 

Vacuum Bagging Test on LSAM ABS Demonstration Part at Fleet Readiness

Vacuum Bagging Test on LSAM ABS Demonstration Part at Fleet Readiness 

Despite that, several parts have been made from those tools under vacuum at room temperature and at slightly elevated temperatures. Thermwood has also already printed a 50% Carbon Fiber filled three dimensional PPS mold which has not yet been tested. Thermwood’s goal is to produce molds that will be used in a production autoclave, molding finished parts suitable for actual end use. 

Thermwood's Additive Printing Process 

Thermwood’s additive printing process differs fundamentally from conventional Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printing. Most FDM processes print parts by melting and extruding a relatively small bead of thermoplastic material onto a heated build platin that is contained within a heated chamber. The heated chamber keeps the extruded material from cooling too much before the next layer is added.

Thermwood machines print a large bead at such a high rate that a heated environment is not needed. It is basically an exercise in controlled cooling. Print speed is adjusted so that each layer cools to the proper temperature just as the next layer starts to print resulting in a continuous printing process that produces high quality parts. Thermwood believes this fundamentally different approach produces superior parts. 

Thermwood's Patent Pending Compression Roller 

Thermwood Patent Pending Compression Roller

One other feature that Thermwood engineers believe helps produce solid, void free parts, is a patent pending compression roller that follows directly behind the print nozzle, flattening the bead while fusing it tightly to the previous layer. 

More About LSAM

Thermwood LSAM 10'x10' Additive Manufacturing Machine

Thermwood’s large scale dual gantry LSAM machines both print and trim parts on the same machine. They are programmed with Thermwood’s LSAM Print 3D slicing software, which is rapidly becoming the most capable additive manufacturing software in the industry.

The LSAM and its software operate within Mastercam and are specifically designed for near-net-shape, rather than net-shape printing.

It works with most major CAD file formats including virtually all solid, surface and mesh formats. Thermwood maintains a continuing software development effort to continuously improve, enhance and expand its features and capabilities.

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM