Additive Manufacturing

SEP 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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Page 14 of 43

AM / Taking Shape 13 says. "The design is a direct representation of the forces flowing through the structure." Watch the design iteration, 3D printing and assembly of the band shell in the video avail- able at While this project and others are pushing the limits of what is possible with C-Fab and available materials, Branch Technology sees another realm for its large-scale 3D printing capabilities: using a C-Fab-created structure as a scaffold for more common building materials. "You can take that matrix and add other conven- tional construction materials like spray foam and concrete to create large-scale parts that will act as walls and other building components," Rees says. A plastic 3D-printed block and a fill material like spray foam work symbiotically, providing different strengths, Rees explains. "The ultimate strength of the plastic and the spray foam together is much higher than if you add up the strength of just a 3D-printed block and just a spray foam block," she says. "It acts as a true composite." Future projects in this vein will require more and better materials for improved strength, performance and sustainability. That last point—sustainability—is key. Though the company sometimes faces pushback for using plastics, Rees believes this resistance is misplaced. Branch has been able to work with Techmer PM to develop resins that come from renewable resources such as corn rather than petroleum, and integrate natural fillers like bamboo and flax. There's also a difference in philosophy between single-use plastic items and the kinds of long-lasting structures that Branch Technology intends to create. "If you think about plastic items like water bottles, you use them one time and you throw them away," Rees says. "But for these parts that we're putting in buildings, we need them to last forever. For the first time, plastics are being used sustainably." The band stand is comprised of 36 3D-printed pieces made from Electrafil carbon fiber-reinforced ABS, the longest measuring 18 feet long. Though these prints are left open, it's also possible to use C-Fab structures as scaffolds for conven- tional building materials such as spray foam for a strong composite. Applications Engineer Offers Safety Tips for Hybrid Machine Tools By Peter Zelinski Okuma America senior applications engineer Paul Kingsley says the safety consid- erations of a hybrid AM machine are serious and represent an important factor in making use of this new type of machine tool. However, the considerations are not proving to be the primary factor standing in the way of using a hybrid effectively. The machine tool maker formally debuts its five-axis additive/subtractive machin- ing center to North America this year, though the machine already has sales in the Western Hemisphere following earlier unveilings in Asia and Europe. Via laser metal deposition (LMD), the MU-8000V LASER EX can add metal to the workpiece for repair or to generate new features, with the added material and the underlying part then machined as one. Separate powder reservoirs mean multiple metals can be applied together in the same additive build, achieving material combinations that would not be practical in any other way. Kingsley says using the laser safely is a result of the design of the machine (it has reinforcement and sensors to preclude laser burn-through, for example), but safe use of the metal powder comes down to operator procedure. Okuma teaches safety to hybrid users. Considerations include having working fire

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