3D printers just keep getting bigger and bigger, as well as more multifunctional. It’s been hard to keep track of who’s selling the largest 3D printer in the world, as companies keep emerging to outdo each other. Next week at the RAPID + TCT event, taking place in Pittsburgh from May 8 to 11, 3D Hybrid Solutions Inc. and Multiax International will be introducing what they say is the biggest metal 3D printer in the world – and it is big, indeed, with a build area of over 500 meters cubed.

3D Hybrid Solutions is aptly named – the company is built upon the idea of transforming any CNC machine into a hybrid system with the addition of additive manufacturing equipment. Many believe that hybrid systems are the true future of manufacturing, and although the concept of combining additive and subtractive manufacturing is relatively new in terms of gaining momentum, 3D Hybrid Solutions has wisely made it the foundation of their business.

“Hybrid manufacturing is the future for medium to large-scale metal additive manufacturing,” said Karl Hranka, founder of 3D Hybrid Solutions. “The infrastructure costs and paired value makes hybrid the obvious answer.”

The 3D printer that 3D Hybrid Solutions will be unveiling at RAPID is, indeed, a hybrid machine, with a 5-axis CNC system built by CNC machine manufacturer Multiax. In addition to its massive build area, the unnamed machine also boasts an extremely fast printing speed of more than 20 pounds per hour.

Hranka is correct when he says that hybrid manufacturing just makes obvious sense. 3D printed parts can rarely be created without any kind of post-processing, and CNC machining is an easy and fast way of removing excess material like supports – if you have the equipment to do so. On the other hand, 3D printing is capable of producing industrial parts at near net shape, so there’s less material to remove, meaning that lighter-duty CNC machines are capable of finishing the parts.

[Image: Laserline GmbH, Germany]

In addition to the release of the giant hybrid machine, 3D Hybrid Solutions has also announced that they will be offering their Multi-Metal Printing Tool for nearly any CNC machine, including 5-axis mills and lathes. The company’s additive manufacturing tools can be customized to fit existing CNC machines, and are capable of 3D printing with a wide variety of metals including stainless steel, nickel, Inconel, iron, copper, aluminum, titanium, and alloys.

3D Hybrid Solutions has built a solid client base in the aerospace and machine industries, so their systems are proven, and their Multi-Metal Printing Tool allows for complex, multi-metal designs to be produced. Printing in 5 axes also eliminates the need for supports and offers nearly unlimited design freedom.

“Some of humanity’s greatest engineering feats are now happening because hybrid has the ability to economically furnish parts made with blends of dissimilar metals and composites,” said Hranka. “It’s material property freedom.”

If you’re going to be at RAPID, you can take a look at the new 3D printer/CNC machine hybrid at Booth #1346. 3DPrint.com will be there, too, so keep an eye out for Sarah Goehrke and Michael Parker from our team! If you’re not going to be there, we’ll be reporting from the show all next week, so we’ll do our best to make you feel like you are there. Discuss in the Hybrid 3D Printer forum at 3DPB.com.

 

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