Thermwood Announces 3D Additive Machines

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Aug 31, 2016

Tags: Thermwood, 3D printing, Additive, LSAM, Subtractive

Thermwood LSAM Now Available

Thermwood LSAM Now Available 

Thermwood LSAM Logo
After an extensive development program, Thermwood Corporation, (Dale, Indiana, USA), has announced it is now offering a line of Additive Manufacturing Systems for the production of large to very large reinforced thermoplastic composite parts. Thermwood’s new machine line, called LSAM (pronounced L-Sam, short for Large Scale Additive Manufacturing), uses a two-step, near-net-shape production process. 

Two-Step Near Net-Shape Production Process

First the part is 3D printed, layer by layer, to slightly larger than the final size, then it is trimmed to its exact final size and shape using a CNC router. The process operates in free space and does not require molds or tooling.  

With LSAM - first, the part is 3D printed, layer by layer
 
Next, the LSAM part is trimmed to the exact final size using a CNC router
 
Part being trimmed on a Thermwood LSAM 

Thermwood’s target market for this new equipment is the production of tooling, masters, molds, fixtures, patterns and plugs for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, boating, foundry and thermoforming. In addition, Thermwood believes it will find additional applications as various industries become aware of the substantial benefits of large part additive manufacturing. For tooling, the primary benefits of this approach are a substantially lower cost and a dramatically shorter build cycle. 

Print and Trim on the Same Machine 

Print and trim on the same Thermwood LSAM machine 

Thermwood’s high wall, overhead gantry LSAM machines feature a ten foot wide, five foot high work envelope. Length of the work envelope can be as short as ten foot but as long as 100 foot or more. Machines include both a print gantry and a second trim gantry which is actually a five axis CNC router. Both gantries operate over the entire table surface. With this configuration, all functions needed to make parts are performed on the same machine. 

Thermwood’s print gantry features an advanced, Thermwood-developed, vertically-mounted PH Series print head that melts and precisely meters the polymer bead. It can process filled thermoplastic composite materials at temperatures up to 650 o F. Advantages of this unique triple servo design include a much more accurate print bead, the ability to change bead dimensions while printing, the ability to print at high output rates, better fusion between printed layers and a superior void free printed structure. 

Highest Output Rate Head Available 

Thermwood LSAM PH15 head is the highest output head available today
Thermwood currently offers the PH15 Print Head on it LSAM machines. The PH15 prints at rates up to 150 lbs/hr which Thermwood believes is the highest output rate available today. Although Thermwood believes the PH15 is appropriate for many current tooling applications, they are actively developing even higher output versions of the PH Series Print Head. 

The size and typical geometry of parts to be printed, the number of part to be printed at the same time and the overall size of the machine will dictate how large a print head is appropriate. PH Series Print Heads include the ancillary systems required to dry and transport material from storage to the print head. 

The trim or subtractive gantry is a five axis CNC router system equipped with a 12HP (3,000 to 24,000 RPM) Automatic Tool Change Spindle and a ten position automatic tool changer. The vertical Z axis stroke is enhanced, so that the router head can machine from the print table surface to a point completely over the top of a printed part. The machine is also equipped with an automatic tool length measurement system and Thermwood’s patented impact resistant head. The machine uses Siemens Intelligent Servo Drives throughout, for both printing and trimming.  

Thermwood LSAM video screenshot 

Each gantry has its own, free standing Thermwood high performance Q-Core CNC Control for movement. The print gantry also includes an integrated print head control to manage melt, pressure and metering functions. Special control functions, not normally part of a CNC control, have been developed to operate the servo drive print head and bead compression wheel. These functions automatically perform tasks that would otherwise need to be incorporated in the CNC print program. This simplifies 3D print programming. 

Exciting New Manufacturing Revolution

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

Thermwood LSAM is at the forefront of an exciting new manufacturing revolution 

Click for More Info on the Thermwood LSAM

 

Thermwood Announces 3D Additive Manufacturing Program

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Jul 30, 2015

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, Announcements, CNC Router, manufacturing, 3Dprinting, 3D printing, Additive

Thermwood’s 3D Additive Manufacturing System (initial development machine) can make parts up to 10’x10’x5’

Thermwood Corporation, a leading U.S. based manufacturer of CNC routers, has announced a program to develop a 3D Additive Manufacturing System, capable of making large carbon graphite reinforced composite thermoplastic components.

Near Net Shape Approach

Thermwood’s systems utilizes a “near net shape” approach where a relatively large extruder, mounted to the machine, is used to heat, melt and deposit, or “print”, carbon graphite filled thermoplastic material to quickly create a structure which is almost, but not quite the exact final shape. That structure, when it cools and hardens is then five axis machined to the final net shape. 

Up to Sixty Feet Long

These new systems will be based on Thermwood’s Model 77, semi-enclosed, high wall gantry machine structures, which are currently offered in sizes up to sixty feet long. American Kuhne LogoFor the plastic extruder, Thermwood turned to American Kuhne, the preferred provider of engineered solutions for plastic, rubber & silicone extrusion, who developed a custom system, which integrates tightly, both mechanically and electronically, with Thermwood’s CNC machine. This allows not only the machine but also the plastic extruder to be controlled and managed by a central CNC control, insuring smooth integration and increasing both capability and flexibility. 

Optional Additive and Subtractive on the Same Machine

With the addition of a second gantry, both the “Additive” and “Subtractive” processes can be performed on the same machine. The second “Subtractive” gantry will be offered as an option. Companies that already have five axis machining capacity and want to work with Additive Manufacturing may only require “Additive” machine capability as they can use existing equipment for the “Subtractive” part of the process. 

Full Six Axis Articulated Additive Deposition Head

The system’s custom 1.75 inch vertical extruder by American Kuhne is fully integrated to provide precise material distribution

Thermwood’s systems will feature full six axis articulated additive deposition head, allowing it to build layered structures on both a horizontal plane as well as planes canted in any direction up to ninety degrees from horizontal. Management believes this capability will be important as technology advances and more complex structures are required. 

Further Details

Thermwood’s initial development machine, which is nearing completion, can make parts up to ten foot by ten foot by five foot high, is equipped with a 20HP, 1 ¾ inch diameter, 24-1 L/D extruder and support equipment capable of processing over 100 pounds of material per hour. Despite the relatively heavy weight of the extrusion system and head, which are both mounted on and move with the machine, the machine generates impressive performance with high acceleration rates and high feed rate capability. 

Ongoing Development

This is an ongoing research and development program and Thermwood Management cannot say when commercial systems might be available to the market, but they believe this technology represents a major opportunity and that “Additive Manufacturing” will become a significant factor in the future of manufacturing. Thermwood believes it is in a unique position to pursue this emerging technology since, at one time, it was a plastic processing company that operated large plastic extruders in a production environment. Thermwood is already a major manufacturer of the “Subtractive” machinery part of the equation and this same technology is the basis of the “Additive” equipment.

Thermwood also designs, builds and programs its own sophisticated CNC controls which it can tailor to any new requirements and also has experience developing sophisticated design and CAD/CAM software packages which are also an important part of this new technology.

 

World's First 3D Printed Car Machined on Thermwood Model 70 at IMTS 2014

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

Tags: CNC, Trade Shows, Model 70, Local Motors, Strati, 3D printing

Thermwood participated at the 2014 IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show) in Chicago, as a part of the world's first 3D printed car team.  

This ambitious undertaking was conceived by Local Motors localmotors.com and carried out by several partners on the project, including Thermwood.  The overall concept was to 3D print, trim, assemble and drive the car all in the one-week time frame of the IMTS show in front of the over 100,000 attendees during the week.

After the car body was 3D printed (the additive portion of the process using a Cincinnati Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine), a Thermwood 5 Axis Model 70 10x15 CNC router was used as the subtractive portion to trim and shape the body into the final streamlined version. This process had to be precise to achieve the correct fit and finish of the body, fenders and all other parts.  

Overall, the entire 3D printing process took 44 hours, machining on the Thermwood took one full day and final assembly was two days! 

Additive portion of the project 

 Time-lapse of the Strati being printed


Subtractive portion on the Thermwood Model 70

day_2_2_smaller

Thermwood Model 70 5 Axis CNC router performing the "subtractive" portion of the process

brent_working_on_car_smaller

Thermwood's Brent East put in long hours programming and running the subtractive portion of the car


Assembling the Strati

car_in_process_assemble

Strati 3D Printed Car being assembled at the IMTS show


The Finished Product

After assembly, the finished Strati was ready to roll, and was driven on the last morning of the IMTS show on Saturday September 13th.   This World's First 3D Printed Car begins a lengthy international tour this week.

Local Motors CEO John B. Rogers Jr. (Jay) says in a press release "The Strati was designed by our community, made in our Microfactory and will be driven by you,  This brand-new process disrupts the manufacturing status quo, changes the consumer experience and proves that a car can be born in an entirely different way."

brent_in_car_smaller

Thermwood's own Brent East checking out the finished 3D Printed Car before its maiden voyage

Maiden Voyage

3dprintedcar_1st_drive 

The project team presents the finished Strati to the world right before its first drive!

strati_first_drive

World's first 3D printed car drives around downtown Chicago


NBC Chicago Story on the Process - Featuring the Thermwood Model 70 - click to view

NBC Chicago Story on 3D Printed Car 


About the Model 70

The Multi-Purpose 70 is designed for aerospace and composite applications utilizing large/heavy fixtures (various sizes available).

Thermwood Model 70 10x20 CNC Router

Model 70 10x20 Fixed Table

Thermwood Model 70 10x10 CNC Router

Model 70 10x10 Fixed Table


 More Info

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