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Category: Machinery
Volume: 41
Issue: 1
Article No.: 5779

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New Moving Table LSAM
At its 50th Anniversary Gala Open House, Thermwood introduced and demonstrated an all new LSAM additive manufacturing machine model, offering even more choices for large scale additive manufacturing applications. Called LSAM MT, the new machine offers an all new configuration and significant advantages in certain applications.

Unlike standard LSAM systems, which feature dual gantries operating over a large fixed table, the MT features a single fixed gantry mounted over a moving table. Available with either a 10’ x 5’ or a 10’ x 10’ table, this configuration offers several significant advantages, not the least of which is a dramatically lower price.

Near net shape printed tools dramatically reduce machining time for many companies currently machining tools from solid blocks of material. This frees up significant machining capacity which is already purchased and installed. For these companies, it makes no sense to purchase additional machining capacity with their additive system, since the change to additive frees up more than enough existing capacity to handle everything they can print. With this in mind, Thermwood decided to offer both “Print and Trim” and a “Print Only” versions of the MT.

Selecting the best size and configuration for an LSAM depends on two major factors plus some additional considerations. These are the material being printed and the size of the parts needed. Of these two, the material being printed is the most significant.

Additive manufactured parts are printed in layers. The speed at which a layer can be printed depends primarily on how long it takes for the polymer being printed to cool enough to support the next layer. This layer cooling time depends on the polymer and is not affected by the size of the part. Each layer of a particular polymer takes the same amount of time, regardless of how big it is.

LSAM print heads can print faster, sometimes significantly faster than needed for most parts. Often it can print two, three or more parts in the cooling time required for each layer. The large machine is only printing a single part, one layer at a time, making it two or three time slower. To print the part in one piece, the large machine must operate continuously, around the clock, sometimes for days.

With the MT, several different segments of the same part can often be printed in a single shift. Depending on the item being printed, it is possible to print as much in a single shift as the large machine, printing a single part, can do in 24 hours. For large parts made from bondable materials, often the smaller, less expensive machine is a better choice.

Materials intended for high temperature applications, PSU, PESU, PEI, Ultem®, etc. generally are resistant enough to solvents that they can’t be effectively bonded. Even if they could, few if any, adhesives exist that can withstand the operating temperature or the thermal cycling these materials experience. For these applications, the machine needs to be large enough to print the part in one piece, even though it could be slower. The larger machines also offer the ability to print and trim at the same time, which may be beneficial in some circumstances.

For more information, contact Duane Marrett, Thermwood Corporation, 904 Buffaloville Rd., Dale, IN 47523, 800-533-6901, E-mail: duane.marrett@thermwood.com, Web: www.thermwood.com.

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