Fixed-gantry options for large-scale additive manufacturing
Source | Thermwood
Thermwood’s (Dale, Ind., U.S.) LSAM MT, the latest model of is large-scale additive manufacturing (LSAM) machine, features a single fixed gantry mounted over a moving table (MT stands for “moving table”). Available with either a 10 × 5-ft. or a 10 × 10-ft. work station, this configuration is said to provide a lower priced option compared to dual-gantry/fixed-table LSAM systems.
According to Thermowood, the LSAM MT is a robust industrial production machine capable of reliable, day-in and day-out production. Both “Print and Trim” and “Print Only” versions of the system are available. Thermwood says the “Print Only” configuration was designed for companies that do not need to add machining capacity with their additive system.
Source | Thermwood
The 10 × 10 machine includes a 10 × 12-ft. table with a 10 × 10-ft. working area. The extra 2 ft. are used to mount an optional vertical layer print table, meaning the machine can make parts up to 10-ft. wide × 10-ft. deep × 5-ft. high using traditional horizontal layer printing, or 5-ft. wide × 10-ft. deep × 10-ft. high using vertical layer printing.
The print technology and print heads used on the MT are the same as used on the larger machines, enabling the same throughput, print quality and layer to layer fusion. As with the larger systems, the MT can process high-temperature polymers ideal for autoclave-capable tooling or compression molds.
Thermwood recommends its smaller, less expensive MT option for use with parts, regardless of size, made from bondable materials like reinforced thermoplastic composite materials for room- or low-temperature applications such as foundry patterns, boat plugs, boat and yacht molds, and building structures. According to Thermwood, it can be faster to print these types of parts in sections, which allows more time for each individual section and layer to cool, and then bond the final part together using industrial adhesives. The smaller MT machine can also accommodate smaller high-temperature parts.
Thermwood recommends its larger MT machine for materials that cannot be bonded effectively — such as PSU, PESU, PEI and Ultem — that are either resistant to solvents or used at temperatures too high for adhesives to withstand and must be printed in one piece. The larger machine configuration also enables printing and trimming the part at the same time.
There are numerous methods for fabricating composite components. Selection of a method for a particular part, therefore, will depend on the materials, the part design and end-use or application. Here's a guide to selection.
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