CAMX 2016 preview: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tennessee) showing two applications of 3D printed molds.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tennessee) showing two applications of 3D printed molds. The first, is a demonstration of a wind turbine blade mold 3D printed using low-temperature thermoplastic composite material on the Cincinnati Inc.'s Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. The wind blade mold will feature a fiberglass cross-section of a wind blade, so viewers can see the full process of the technology. The second application featured is a high-temperature carbon fiber/thermoplastic composite material 3D printed on the same BAAM machine, but then run through an industrial autoclave process in collaboration with Boeing. The autoclave trials confirmed that the 3D printed materials can withstand extreme heat and pressure with minimal deformation after two cycles.

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Incorporating Additive into Your Process Mix

Although many people are intrigued by the process of additive manufacturing, some might be under the assumption that it is beyond the capabilities of a metalworking shop; however, this assumption isn’t correct. Here are some examples of shops who have become proficient with the process, and your shop can, too.