From laying down layers to machining them smooth…
We wish we could say that all the magic is in the 3D Printer itself, but its partner in crime is the good old fashion CNC Machine. For Large Scale Additive Manufacturing, the idea is to get as much material out as fast as you can and as close to your 3D model as possible. We call this printing a near net shape; the printer will get you 95% of the way there, but the post machining process will get you to the exact dimension and most importantly, within your customers’ tolerance requirements.
Large 5-Axis Machine Acquisition
We purchased a large 5-Axis CNC Router from a local company out of Stow, OH called Quintax in early December 2016. If you thought the dimensions for our BAAM was big (12′ x 5.5′ x 6′), our router comes in at 20′ x 10′ by 5′ machine envelope. We need an envelope bigger than our printer so that we can combine several prints together and machine extra large pieces. Our router is due to ship in April, but we currently have access to one of Quintax’s floor units in their manufacturing facility, only a 12 minute drive from AES.
Our First Machining Trials
Towards the end of January, the AES team attended Quintax 5 Axis operation training, and have machined a handful of test & sample pieces.
We recently hired a local CNC machine expert on a contract basis to help aid in programming and general machining operations.
After receiving our initial Fagor Control training, our first machine trials involved the use of a fly cutter and a ball nosed end mill, simply running standard 3-axis machining to get use to the controller. We’re very excited to start diving into the 5-Axis realm; stay tuned for those updates!
Check out our Teaser Video with some machining clips at Quintax!