3D Printing

Fraunhofer IWU and CMS partner to make mega 5 axis 3D printer hybrid

The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (Fraunhofer IWU) in Chemnitz, Germany, has entered into a partnership with Italian machine center makers CMS to research and develop a new hybrid CNC milling 3D printer.

Operating beyond the bounds of typical XYZ directional 3D printers, the named CMS Kreator is capable of tool paths across 5 axis, bringing more freedom to the possibilities of FDM.

In the belly of the machine

So far, the partnership has only yielded a digital draft of the 3D Kreator’s appearance and details of the materials to be used in its additive process.

The digital mock-up of the industrial-scale machine depicts a two gantry setup, suspended over a build chamber with a central division. 3D printing is performed in the first half of the machine, and then parts move into the second for a milled finish.

3D Kreator concept. Image via Aerospace Manufacturing Magazine
3D Kreator concept. Image via Aerospace Manufacturing Magazine

A fibre placement unit is also reportedly installed inside the machine, making a clear case for the processing of carbon fiber reinforced parts as popularly used in automotive, aerospace and sports equipment.

More materials, more speed

In place of the conventional FDM filament, the 3D Kreator accepts granulated feedstock, like other big area additive manufacturing (BAAM) systems. As a medium that has been around in injection molding for years, there are a variety of pelletized polymers already available for use. Examples include ABS, PA (Nylon) and high performance materials such as PEEK.

In addition to the broad range of materials, the extrusion system is designed to be able to 3D print up to eight times faster than standard FDM, and 200 times more cost effective. An example of the additive technology to be implemented in the 3D Kreator can be found in Fraunhofer IWU’s “ultrafast” Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM) system.

In the process, the build plate rotates beneath the print bed at a rate of 4 meteres per minute.

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Featured image shows a demo of Fraunhofer IWU’s ultrafast Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM) FDM process. Image via Fraunhofer IWU on YouTube