LSAM ® (pronounced L-Sam) is Thermwood’s name for its line of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing machines used to produce large to very large sized components from reinforced thermoplastic composite materials. Although suitable for producing a wide variety of components, Thermwood is focusing on producing industrial tooling, masters, patterns, molds and production fixtures for a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, foundry and boating. Thermwood’s LSAM ® machines use a two-step, near-net-shape production process. The part is first 3D printed layer by layer, to slightly larger than the final size, then it is trimmed to its exact final net size and shape using a CNC router. The process operates in free space and does not require molds or tooling. LSAM ® machines perform both printing and trimming on the same machine using two gantries, one for printing and one for trimming.
LSAM is a serious industrial production machine intended for day to day operation producing large structures, as contrasted to machines intended for research or process evaluation. It prints at high enough speed with large enough beads that it operates at room temperature rather than requiring a heated environment.
Its unique multi-servo print head weighs over one and a half tons, yet can move at three feet per second. It functions at high enough temperatures with enough torque to easily process difficult, high temp materials, which are proving ideal for composite tooling, but are beyond other FDM printers. LSAM prints and trims on tables up to forty feet long… or longer.
It can print and trim at the same time. It comes complete, with everything needed, from dual hopper polymer dryers and pneumatic material conveyors to fume, smoke and chip extraction. LSAM is also flexible. Users have easy access to all operating temperatures, settings and parameters yet, once set, unique control features make it simple and straightforward for machine operators.
This combination allows users complete freedom while preserving easy operation for day to day use. And it is designed for day to day, week to week, year to year reliable, heavy duty operation. Lubrication is automatic, routine maintenance is monitored and alerted by the control. Everything that needs to be heated is heated. Everything that needs to be cooled is cooled. There are no short cuts.
And finally, LSAM is programmed with what is arguably the most advanced, capable, sophisticated Additive Manufacturing slicing software available anywhere. A true CAD/CAM system which works with real CAD files. Programmed specifically for “near-net-shape” operation and tailored to the LSAM machine, it lets you easily program structures other software can only dream about.
40mm Standard LSAM Melt Core
Every aspect of the LSAM print head is designed specifically for Additive Manufacturing. There are a multitude of unique, patent pending features:
A five axis CNC router head on a second gantry performs the trim operations. It features a 12 HP, 24,000 RPM spindle motor and a 12 position automatic tool changer mounted under the trim gantry. As with the print head, three dimensional laser compensation assures the best possible positional accuracy. A tool length and tool diameter measurement system provides the final link to achieving accurate dimensions and high quality tool surfaces on printed parts.
Thermwood’s exclusive patented impact resistant head means you will normally not need to re-align or repair the five axis head after an inevitable head crash. The trim gantry has sufficient range of motion that it can reach around the entire machine envelope horizontally as well as from the bottom of a printed part completely over the top. A “Barrier Wall” which consists of three layers of heavy clear vinyl as well as a light curtain separates the print from the trim gantry. This wall can be unlocked and moved manually to any position between the gantries where it defines the working envelope of each side.
LSAM can print and trim at the same time, printing on one side of the wall and trimming on the other. The wall can also be moved completely off either side so printing and trimming using the entire table is supported. The ability to print and trim on the same machine adds an important capability to an Additive Manufacturing system, allowing functions during material qualification that can’t be done any other way while eliminating the sometimes complex and time consuming alignment effort required if location marks can’t be machined after printing and before moving.
LSAM uses Thermwood’s Q-Core SuperControl, which is one of the most capable, flexible and powerful controls in existence. On the print side, this control has been enhanced with a myriad of features specific to Thermwood’s print head and print operation. The control has been integrated with a Siemens temperature control module to set, monitor and control temperature of each of the seven heat zones. Process controls that operate independent of the CNC program, control the relationship between the extruder and melt pump. Other process controls that operate independent of, but in conjunction with, the CNC program, include coordination of melt pump output to machine motion and coordination of the compression wheel orientation to nozzle motion. These sophisticated control functions make possible the extraordinary printing capability of the LSAM print head.
The control also offers the operator the ability to view and modify all operating parameters, dynamically while printing, including print speed and bead dimension. The control can also be instructed to maintain constant layer print time as print geometry changes during printing and that layer print time can also be modified at will. All of these advanced features makes LSAM printing easy. It logs parameters for each layer printed and also stores thermographic images of the entire print process for later evaluation or QC verification.
And finally, all operating parameters and temperature profiles for a specific polymer can be stored and recalled at the push of a button, so switching materials is both quick and easy. Routine processes such as start up, shut down and hot hold are accessed by pressing an icon on the control screen. Even more involved processes such as creating a link table when qualifying a new material are also fully automated. Not only is the control capable and powerful, it is easy and intuitive to use. It is truly suitable for operation in a typical production environment.
Controlling processes in Additive Manufacturing is critical. Commercial CNC controls aren’t designed to do this. They control motion and that’s all.
Thermwood’s LSAM Print 3D software utility
Slicing software could very well be the single biggest obstacle to making 3D printing into industrial Additive Manufacturing. Despite significant efforts, net shape software written for small filament machines can’t be modified for large bead, near-net-shape industrial printing.
Large scale Additive Manufacturing requires serious CAD based software written specifically for near-net-shape applications. That’s what we did.
LSAM Print 3D is a CAD based program that operates within Mastercam, preserving all its rich features and capabilities but adding professional near net shape slicing capability. This is truly a professional industrial approach. It uses real CAD formats, solids and surfaces, anything that loads into Mastercam. It offers a lot of choices in boundary, infill and solid layers. It also knows the LSAM machine so it automatically adds functions for things like corner pullback compensation or bead narrowing on solid layers. The output of this software is a CNC print program, ready to run.
We are focused on making large scale composite tooling, so software features for making tools masters and molds takes priority. This results in amazing capability such as concurrent printing which includes the ability to print parts inside of other parts offering almost unlimited possibilities.
There is no better way than LSAM Print 3D and this software development will continue, incorporating customer requests and suggestions and getting better and better, all the time.
Once you buy an LSAM, our commitment to the customer becomes apparent. There is formal classroom training on the system and controls. Then, send your folks and material in and use our machine to make parts.
You will be provided with ten days of machine operation with our technicians there every step of the way. During this period, we will help you qualify your materials, program your parts and begin printing. You can print production parts and take them with you. After that you will be comfortable, confident and ready to run on your own.
We maintain a huge multi-million dollar inventory of every part you might ever be need for your machine, ready for overnight delivery. Backup components of even the largest most important parts are in-stock and ready. Should we ever not have a part you need, we will take it off our demonstration machine and send it to you.
Your LSAM is part of a virtual service network. With a simple button push, a Thermwood technician appears on your control screen, capable of doing virtually anything a technician could do right in your plant. Evaluating performance, resetting parameters, analyzing performance, and correcting program problems are all possible with virtual service. In a few minutes your issue is addressed and corrected. If you need a technician on site, one is available quickly.
Keeping customers running is our top priority. We continue to move ahead. Control system technology is constantly advancing and these advances are available to existing customers under several programs.
Slicing software is also constantly being advanced. Five years of these advances are included with the machine purchase. After that, a modest annual fee gets you all the new features.
With Thermwood, you don’t fall behind and you don’t become obsolete. Service, support and keeping it running is as important as the machine itself.
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3D Grenzenlos.de (June 10, 2017) - Thermwood stellt Update seiner LSAM Print3D Software vor (German)
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AdditiveManufacturing.com (Nov 30, 2016) - Thermwood Adds Thermographic Imaging to its Additive Manufacturing Machines
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prweb.com (Sept 29, 2016) - Thermwood Introduces LSAM: Large Scale 3D Additive Manufacturing Systems
NetComposites.com (Sept 20, 2016) - Thermwood Has Successfully Tested the 'Ultra High Output' PH50 Print Head on the LSAM
CompositesWorld.com (Sept 15, 2016) - Thermwood successfully tests composite thermoplastic print head on LSAM
WoodworkingNetwork.com (Sept 14, 2016) - Thermwood successfully tests ultra-high output PH50 3D print head
Engineering.com (Sept 12, 2016) - Hybrid 3D Printer-CNC Machine Offers a Cut Above the Rest
NetComposites.com (Sept 6, 2016) - Thermwood Offers 3D Additive Manufacturing Program with LSAM Machines
3Ders.org (Sept 1, 2016) - Thermwood introduces new massive LSAM 3D printers with CNC technology
3DPrint.com (Sept 1, 2016) - Thermwood Corporation Introduces LSAM: Large Scale Additive Manufacturing with a CNC Twist
WoodworkingNetwork.com (Aug 31, 2016) - Thermwood debuts large-scale 3D additive CNC machines