Thermwood Corporation Demonstrates Effectiveness of LSAM with 3D Printed Carbon Fiber Parts

Share this Article

Thermwood Corporation has been busy lately. Last year, the Indiana company introduced LSAM, or Large Scale Additive Manufacturing, a combination 3D printer and CNC router system designed for producing large parts. The LSAM system is a double gantry machine that 3D prints parts to near net shape and then trims them using the CNC gantry; it’s a technology that’s gotten a lot of attention for its efficiency and ability to produce strong parts with minimal waste.

Since first introducing the system, Thermwood has been steadily adding to it, introducing new features such as the recently developed Universal print head and several new software features. One of Thermwood’s goals is to use the system to 3D print autoclave capable tooling from high-temperature, carbon fiber-filled thermoplastic materials, and they’re getting closer to that goal.

Recently, Thermwood engineers used the LSAM system to 3D print 50% carbon fiber-filled PPS panels that held vacuum to an industry acceptable level in independent testing. The testing was carried out by the Fleet Readiness Center East, and the results met FRC’s criterion that the bag not lose more than 2 in Hg over five minutes.

Other companies have tested tools 3D printed by Thermwood from 20% carbon fiber-filled ABS, and discovered that they held vacuum to an acceptable level without any sealer or coating. Unfortunately, the ABS material is not suitable for high-temperature applications. Nevertheless, several parts have been made using those tools under vacuum at room temperature or slightly elevated temperatures.

ABS demonstration part

Thermwood also 3D printed a 50% carbon fiber-filled PPS mold that hasn’t been tested yet. The company’s ultimate goal is to create molds that can be used in a production autoclave, molding finished parts that can be used in end-use applications.

The recently 3D printed parts are an example of the effectiveness of Thermwood Corporation’s recently developed Universal print head, which uses a different approach from standard 3D printing techniques, many of which involve extruding layers of material onto a heated platform in a heated build chamber. With the Universal print head, no heat is required other than the heat in the print head itself. Each layer is 3D printed at a speed that allows it to cool to the proper temperature for the next layer to adhere, and the speed is controlled based on the rate of cooling. Thermwood calls it  “an exercise in controlled cooling.”

According to Thermwood Corporation, this technique produces stronger, better parts, which are further improved by the company’s patent pending compression roller. The roller follows behind the print nozzle as it lays down material, and flattens each layer to press it tightly to the layer beneath it. This process creates parts that are more solid and void-free, and thus stronger.

We’re always interested to check in with Thermwood Corporation and see what they’re doing with their LSAM technology, and according to the company, they’re continuing to improve the system and its software. LSAM and its Print3D software operate within Mastercam and work with most CAD file formats, and the company maintains a consistent software development effort in order to keep it updated with new capabilities and features. Discuss in the LSAM forum at 3DPB.com.

 

Share this Article


Recent News

nScrypt 3Dx-700 System Goes Beyond 3D Printing for Digital Manufacturing

BASF and CTIBiotech Develop 3D Bioprinted Human Reconstructed Skin



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Poietis: Bioprinting With Their Innovative Laser-Assisted Technology

In 2014, French startup Poietis developed a unique technology for the bioprinting of living tissue. Unlike conventional approaches to tissue engineering or extrusion bioprinting, their promising 4D laser-assisted system allows cells...

Creating Vascular Structures Using Low Cost Desktop 3D Printers

In a thesis entitled “Engineering of vascular networks within biocompatible hydrogels using 3D printing technology,” a PhD student named Juan Liu discusses the need for new technologies in wound healing....

3d.fab’s BioAssemblyBot Wants to 3D Print Skin onto People

3D bioprinting continues to diversify as more and more companies and research organizations join the field, each bringing their own take on the technology to the table. French collaborative platform 3d.fab has...

3D Printing for Diagnosing and Treating Cancer and R&D Tax Credits

Cancer research has evolved with the help of 3D printing. Doctors can create patient-specific 3D models of cancerous body parts to prepare for upcoming surgeries. Medical engineers can create digital...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!