Thermwood adds features to its LSAM Print3D additive manufacturing software

Thermwood’s software is a CAD based slicing software which operates within Mastercam to generate additive printing programs for Thermwood’s Large Scale Additive Manufacturing systems.

Thermwood adds features to its LSAM Print3D additive manufacturing software

Unlike most other slicing software which generates net shape programs for small thin print beads and only works with .STL files, LSAM Print 3D works with true CAD file formats commonly used in industry, including 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. 

Near net shape additive manufacturing
“Near net shape” additive manufacturing is a two-step process where the part is first printed at high speed to a size slightly larger than needed and then trimmed to the final size. Net shape software can be made to work for small “near net shape” parts provided small print beads are used, but net shape software doesn’t work for large structures printed at high speed using large print beads. LSAM Print 3D is specifically designed for large scale “near net shape” industrial applications. 

How it works
The system operates by printing the first layer of each part, then the next layer of each part and so on. The major production improvement that results from this new ability is due in large part to Thermwood’s high output print head and large table sizes. Versions of Thermwood’s print head have been tested at output rates of over 500 Lbs/hr.

Unlike traditional FDM printing techniques which print slowly onto a heated table in a heated environment, Thermwood’s LSAM machines print at such high speed that the process must be continuously cooled rather than heated. All the heat in Thermwood’s system comes from the print head. 

Using Thermwood’s print system, the current layer must be cool and stable enough that the new layer doesn’t distort it, but must also be warm enough that it fuses completely with the new layer. With carbon fiber filled ABS for example, even with fan cooling, it requires at least a minute and a half wait time between layers. Higher temperature materials can generally be printed at somewhat faster rates but, Thermwood’s high speed print head prints most part layers, even large parts, in much less time than that.

Print parts side by side or on top of each other
Many times, really large parts or molds are made in sections that are then combined into the final structure. Multiple sections of these type of parts can now be printed at the same time, reducing print time for large structures by as much as 80%, while still adhering to the minimum time between layers dictated by the thermoplastic material. 

Break up complex parts into multiple individual parts
LSAM Print3D software supports an all new way to design and print parts with highly complex interior features. It does this by using a fundamentally different approach to part design and printing:

  • This new approach begins by breaking up complex parts into multiple individual parts and then printing the parts concurrently inside or even on top of one another.
  • To accomplish, this some layers may not begin printing at layer one, but may instead begin printing somewhat above the bottom layer (for example – to print a large part with a solid bottom and interior features, the user would begin by printing the solid base and then add the interior features, which would be separate parts).
  • To do this, the user need to begin printing at the level of the already printed base which is in fact, a distance above the table top.

Companies: Thermwood

Technologies: Other Processing Method

Terms: Business, Innovations

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
Back to top button