Boeing partners with Thermwood on 3D printed tool for 777X

The tool was printed as a single piece from 20% carbon fiber reinforced ABS using the Vertical Layer Print system.

Boeing (Chicago, IL, US) and Thermwood Corp. (Dale, IN, US) have employed additive manufacturing technology to produce a large, single-piece tool for the 777X program.

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. The tool was printed as a single piece from 20% carbon fiber reinforced ABS using the Vertical Layer Print system. 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.