3D Printing ProcessesLFAM

AES looks for LFAM ideas to mod this AM General military Humvee

Also working with ORNL to advance LFAM machining strategies

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Additive Engineering Solutions, a US-based large-format 3D printing services provider, is looking for suggestions on how to use its BAAM LFAM 3D printers and LFAM machining capabilities to modify an ultra-capable military Humvee from AM General.

The company is looking to transform this military Humvee into something unique and special, leveraging its LFAM capabilities (two internal BAAM systems from Cincinnati Inc installed) and LFAM machining expertise. In order to further develop machining strategies for LFAM, AES and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

AES is working with ORNL to develop techniques to reduce the overall machining time of parts produced on Cincinnati’s Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) 3D printing system. The research focuses on optimal tool pathing, tool cutter selection, machine tool stiffness and rigidity.

LFAM machining

“We have had an outstanding relationship with ORNL and we are excited to formally work together through this CRADA and collaborate to take large-format additive manufacturing, which includes the CNC machining process, to the next level,” said AES Co-Founder and Vice President, Andrew Bader.

LFAM has shown great promise in reducing cost and lead time for producing tools, molds, and forms for industry. The ability to quickly deposit large amounts of polymer allows for large complex shapes to be produced in as little as one day. However, this rapid deposition results in a rough surface texture which is created by all large format polymer additive systems, including the BAAM system. As an owner of four BAAM systems, AES has the largest capacity for LFAM printing in the world.

LFAM machining “ORNL looks forward to working with AES on optimizing machine tooling for additive manufacturing,” said ORNL Machining and Machine Tooling Lead Researcher Scott Smith. “We have the expertise and capabilities in machine tooling to help AES achieve rapid surfacing capabilities using machining.”

AES is working with ORNL to produce a suitable tooling surface by optimizing machining processes to create a smooth texture. While LFAM printing has the potential to lower tooling prices and reduce lead time, the machining step poses a potential bottleneck that risks reducing those advantages. By working with ORNL, AES is confident the company will be able to overcome the challenges of machining and help LFAM realize and deliver its full potential and benefits.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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