While Thermwood, based in southern Indiana, continues to create 3D printed and additive manufacturing innovations for their own use, they also make progress for the rest of the industrial world. They have filled us in on their many innovations along the way from combining additive and subtractive manufacturing to their introduction of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) to a new universal printhead.
Now, this highly technical company that specializes in CNC machining as well as additive manufacturing processes is expanding its LSAM Print3D additive manufacturing software with near-net shape printing, a concurrent printing feature, interior wall design, and more.
This software operates under MasterCam, and is meant for LSAM systems. Primarily meant for slicing, it will work with multiple types of CAD file formats. According to a recent press release from Thermwood, this includes solids, surfaces and meshes.
“It is designed at its core for industrial ‘near-net-shape’ additive manufacturing applications with features tailored to large parts printed at high rates using large print beads,” states the Thermwood team.
The near net shape process includes two steps. First, the piece is 3D printed. Next, it is trimmed to size. The LSAM systems are meant for larger structures, and more sizeable near net shapes.
For concurrent printing, operators can look forward to a savings in time as multiple parts can be produced at once.
“The system operates by printing the first layer of each part, then the next layer of each part and so on. While this appears rather simple at first, it is not quite as straightforward as it first appears. If all the parts are made essentially the same way, it is, in fact, simple. But in many cases, different parts may be printed differently, using different printing parameters and/or layer definitions,” states the Thermwood team.
“One part may be totally solid, the next completely open. One part may have thin walls the next thick walls. The software allows each part to be independently designed without regard to the others and can still print them concurrently.”
This feature relies heavily on the new print head from Thermwood, offering greater output and larger table sizes. Thermwood states that they have tested the print head at output rates over 500 pounds per hour. Parts can also be printed side by side or actually resting on top of each other. More complex geometries can also be printed as individual pieces.
“This opens a whole new world of part design to additive manufacturing and dramatically broadens the capability of the underlying technology,” states Thermwood.
Inner walls can also be created during CAD design. The specialized Thermwood software will then see the structures as ‘single bead interior support walls’ and produces them as designated.
The output from this software is a CNC program that will run on the Thermwood LSAM print gantry, without any requirement for post-processing programs.
“We are at the very beginning of this new technology,” says Thermwood’s Chairman and CEO, Ken Susnjara. “There is still a lot of unexplored territory and challenges to address.”
Discuss in the Thermwood forum at 3DPB.com.[Source / Images : Thermwood]