CAMX 2015 preview: Thermwood

Thermwood Corp. (Dale, IN, US), a manufacturer of 3- and 5-axis CNC routers, will emphasize its new program to develop a 3D additive manufacturing system capable of making large carbon graphite-reinforced composite thermoplastic components.

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Thermwood Corp. (Dale, IN, US), a manufacturer of 3- and 5-axis CNC routers, will emphasize its new program to develop a 3D additive manufacturing system capable of making large carbon graphite-reinforced composite thermoplastic components. Thermwood’s systems uses 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 that is almost, but not quite, the final shape. That structure, when it cools and hardens, is then 5-axis machined to the final net shape. 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 60 ft long. For the plastic extruder, Thermwood turned to American Kuhne (Ashaway, RI, US), a provider of engineered solutions for plastic, rubber and silicone extrusion, which developed a custom system that integrates closely with Thermwood’s CNC machine. With the addition of a second gantry, the additive and subtractive processes can be performed on the same machine. The second subtractive gantry will be offered as an option. Thermwood’s systems will feature a full 6-axis articulated additive deposition head, allowing it to build layered structures on a horizontal plane as well as planes canted in any direction up to 90° from horizontal. Thermwood’s initial development machine, which is nearing completion, can make parts up to 10 ft long by 10 ft wide by 5 ft high, is equipped with a 20-hp, 1.75-inch diameter, 24:1 L/D extruder and support equipment capable of processing more than 100 lb/hr of material.

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