Questions with Thermwood’s Scott Vaal

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Thermwood’s Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) product manager explains the system’s capabilities.

April 6, 2021

1) What are some distinctive features of LSAM, and how are they used?

Many features come together to make LSAM Print 3D unique, but the servo-controlled compression following-wheel and the Layer Time Control feature top the list. The compression wheel follows and flattens the beads to ensure a tight connection and bond between layers and adjacent beads. Layer Time Control automatically keeps the print within the correct temperature range to ensure a good part.

2) What makes LSAM systems unique in the additive world?

Our simultaneous printing and trimming capabilities, along with producing highly accurate bead dimensions at extremely high speeds and output, set us apart. Also making the LSAM stand out: its layer time-and- temperature monitoring system that can be adjusted dynamically on-the-fly and our fantastic vacuum integrity directly off the machined print without added coatings.

3) What’s different about LSAM Print 3D slicing software?

It was designed for large-scale additive from the start. Many features tailor it to creating large-scale additive prints with tools to hone in on how each print is performed. LSAM Print 3D isn’t limited to simple boundary loops and infills for print paths but offers finite control down to a single layer if needed. Slicing geometry isn’t restricted to using an already tessellated STL model; we allow slicing directly on solids, surfaces, open sheet bodies, and 2D geometries. These geometries can be brought together and merged into one or more prints.

4) How does horizontal layer printing (HLP) differ from vertical layer printing (VLP), and which do you recommend?

As far as the printed part, they’re essentially the same. HLP builds the print layers like stacking papers on a table. VLP is like sticking a piece of paper to a wall and stacking outward. In most cases, I usually recommend printing in HLP mode first because there’re fewer design considerations, and gravity is less of an enemy. I recommend VLP mode if a part’s dimensions won’t fit in the machine’s vertical envelope and the part must be printed as one piece.

5) What materials has LSAM printed so far?
  • ABS
  • PETG
  • Polycarbonate
  • Nylon
  • Polyethylene
  • PPS
  • PSU
  • PESU
  • PEI/ULTEM with carbon fiber, glass fiber filler combinations
6) To date, what’s the largest part the machine's printed?

The 93ft tall commemorative torch recently announced at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, was produced by Dimensional Innovations and required their LSAM to run around the clock for almost a year to complete. It’s designed with 225 sections and a 30ft diameter base, after assembly. This is believed to be the tallest 3D printed structure in the world.

7) What are the LSAM models?

The flagship model LSAM 1020 and the LSAM 1040 are both available in large table lengths in 10ft increments; the LSAM 1010; and the LSAM MT, which has a moving table configuration.

We’ve recently released a line of LSAM Additive Printers, which are lower-cost print-only systems built around a 30mm LSAM print head.