Thermwood starts 3-D additive manufacturing program

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Thermwood Corp., a manufacturer of 3- and 5-axis CNC routers, is developing a 3-D Additive Manufacturing System, capable of making large carbon-graphite-reinforced composite thermoplastic components.

Thermwood’s systems utilizes a near net shape approach where a relatively large extruder, mounted to the machine, is used to heat, melt and deposit or print carbon-graphite-filled thermoplastic material to quickly create a structure that is almost, but not quite, the exact final shape. That structure, when it cools and hardens is then 5-axis machined to the final net shape, according to the company.

These new systems will be based on Thermwood’s Model 77, semi-enclosed, high-wall gantry machine structures, which are currently offered in sizes up to 60’ long.

This is an ongoing research and development program. Thermwood said it cannot say when commercial systems might be available to the market, but it believes this technology represents a major opportunity and that additive manufacturing will become a significant factor in the future of manufacturing.

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