Thermwood LSAM system.
U.S. based CNC router manufacturer, Thermwood Corporation is to begin offering a line of large-format additive manufacturing LSAM (Large Scale Additive Manufacturing) systems for the production reinforced thermoplastic composite parts.
The result of an extensive additive manufacturing development programme, Thermwood’s LSAM (pronounced L-Sam) machine line uses a two-step, near-net-shape production process, which combines both additive and subtractive processes.
Essentially parts are first printed in carbon graphite filled thermoplastic, slightly larger than their desired size and then CNC machined to their exact shape. Thermwood is targeting manufacturers of tooling, masters, moulds, fixtures, patterns and plugs for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, boating, foundry and thermoforming.
Thermwood’s high wall, overhead gantry LSAM machines feature a 10 ft. (W) by, 5 ft. (H) build envelope and the company claims the machine can print horizontal lengths up to 100 ft. long. LSAM systems include both a print gantry and a 5-axis trim gantry operating in the same machine.
Large-format additive manufactured part.
Thermwood’s print gantry features an advanced, Thermwood-developed, vertically mounted PH Series PH15 print head that melts and precisely meters the polymer bead. It can process filled thermoplastic composite materials at temperatures up to 650 o F. The triple servo design includes a more accurate print bead, the ability to change bead dimensions while printing, the ability to print at high output rates, better fusion between printed layers and a superior void free printed structure. The PH15 prints at rates up to 150 lbs/hr and the company is currently developing even higher output versions of the PH Series Print Head.
The subtractive gantry is a 5-axis CNC router system equipped with a 12HP (3,000 to 24,000 RPM) Spindle and a 10-position automatic tool changer. The vertical Z-axis stroke is enhanced, so that the router head can machine from the print table surface to a point completely over the top of a printed part. The machine is also equipped with an automatic tool length measurement system and Thermwood’s patented impact resistant head. The machine uses Siemens Intelligent Servo Drives throughout, for both printing and trimming.
LSAM bead compression wheel.
Each gantry has its own, freestanding Thermwood high performance Q-Core CNC Control for movement. The print gantry also includes an integrated print head control to manage melt, pressure and metering functions. Special control functions have been developed to operate the servo drive print head and bead compression wheel.
“This is exciting”, Thermwood’s founder and CEO, Ken Susnjara commented. “We are at the beginning of what appears to be a revolution in manufacturing and we look forward to the new challenges and incredible possibilities that this type of transformational change brings”.