About two years ago, Cincinnati Inc. (CI) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) debuted one of the world’s largest and most productive 3D printers: the Big Area Additive Manufacturing Machine, or more commonly referred to as BAAM.
You remember BAAM, right? The massive machine can print over 200 times faster than traditional 3D printers, is 10 times larger than those printers, and can print up to 10 lbs. of plastic per hour; Rick Neff, the manager of market development for CI, called it an “FDM machine on steroids.” It can create 3D large-scale products in a matter of hours, including sports cars, utility vehicles, and even a kayak.
Then they outdid themselves and created ‘Bertha’ in 2015, which can print at rates of 10 times faster than that of the original BAAM, and can print up to 100 lbs. of plastic per hour! As an example, when Local Motors used BAAM to fabricate the body of their Strati car at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in September of 2014, the print took approximately 44 hours. Calculations show that ‘Bertha’ could print the same job in less than 5 hours.
CI hasn’t slowed down, and made a big announcement today at FabTech 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Together with New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS), they introduced Small Area Additive Manufacturing (SAAM), a new industrial 3D printer. The SAAM system is the new rapid prototyping complement to CI’s BAAM. It is powered by NVBOTS and uses fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology to 3D print plastic parts directly from a CAD design. It allows designers to prototype part designs, while also saving on material, costs, and time. Once those designs have been validated for form and functionality, the same CAD files are used to produce larger full-scale parts on BAAM.
SAAM features automated part removal and is paired with NVCloud software that lets users print parts anytime, from any cloud-connected device, while also giving administrators full control of workflows in shared-use situations, lowering cost and simplifying multi-user environments.
“Additive Manufacturing has opened a new world for parts designers and engineers,” said Carey Chen, President and CEO of Cincinnati Incorporated. “SAAM allows these innovative people to push the boundaries of part design by quickly rendering prototypes, and providing the ability to test their designs prior to full-scale production on the much larger BAAM system. Simply put, SAAM can create a relatively inexpensive print-preview for BAAM. This is another demonstration of how additive manufacturing is shaping the future of manufacturing, especially in industries like aerospace, automotive and heavy equipment.”
It’s not only for prototyping BAAM parts, either.
“We can simulate any type of part with the SAAM,” said Chris Haid, Director of Operations & Product Management and Co-Founder, NVBOTS. “The same CAD file we use for the plastic prototype can be sent to a laser, a press bake, or a shear for metal fabrication. It dramatically reduces waste in the design process and allows shops to accelerate moving to the production phase.”
SAAM has a build envelope of 7.9″ x 7.4″ x 9.4″, with a maximum printing speed of 0.16 lbs. per hour, and the first admin account for NVCloud software is included with purchase. Cincinnati Incorporated will handle all sales, distribution and support for SAAM.
We can’t wait to see how the reception is for SAAM. If you are at FabTech this week, make sure to stop by Booth C31102 and take a look. Discuss in the SAAM forum at 3DPB.com.