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

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