Of all the families of materials used for additive manufacturing, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites present unique characteristics, benefits and challenges. Additive manufacturing promises to evolve the adoption of composite materials, making it more efficient, cost-effective and fast to mass produce parts that can offer an unparalleled combination of properties.

The reason why that is not the case is that traditional composite manufacturing – based on woven fiber sheets in a  thermoset (epoxy) resin matrix is among the most manual labor intensive – and costly  –  among manufacturing processes. Composites today are used to make high end automotive, sports equipment, medical and aircraft parts: products that are highly customized and not mass-produced. The ultimate goal of the firms working on additive manufacturing of composites is to make the production of composite parts scalable, without sacrificing materials properties.

Achieving this goal requires some of the most complex manufacturing engineering know-how, along with some of the most complex manufacturing hardware and software that has ever been developed. The transition towards automated, mass-produced composite parts will be a gradual one. Additive manufacturing is the core element of it but it is not the only one: new technologies are emerging that more or less seamlessly combine AM processes within an automated end-to-end workflow in order to ensure the highest level of performance. This is inextricably connected to the use of continuous fibers.

However, composites AM is not just about top part performance but also about improving the performance of polymer 3D printed parts, to make parts stronger, lighter and larger. This is where additive manufacturing of chopped fiber composites found its – rapidly growing –  niche. 3D printing with chopped fibers of differing lengths is much less complicated than 3D printing with continuous fibers and it emerged first.

LEHVOSS and FENA leverage composite AM for automotive structures

LEHVOSS North America, a provider of thermoplastic 3D printing materials, has signed a formal agreement with Forward Engineering North America…

3 weeks ago

Superstrata debuts world’s first custom 3D printed unibody carbon fiber e-bicycle

Superstrata, a Silicon Valley-based bicycle brand linked with composite AM service provider Arevo, just unveiled its flagship product: the world’s…

3 weeks ago

9T Labs and Setforge collaborate to bring CFRP additive manufacturing to series production

9T Labs and Setforge will replace metals with high-performance carbon fiber composites for automotive, aerospace and industrial applications. Additive Fusion…

4 weeks ago

US Air Force partners with FSU to develop reinforced ceramics 3D printing of sensors

The US Air Force is among the entities that are making some of the most significant investments in pushing the…

4 weeks ago

Machine learning can replicate toolpaths in 3D printed fiber reinforced parts

A research team from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering has published a study that uncovers vulnerabilities in the production…

4 weeks ago

Rotterdam to unveil 3D printed FRP footbridge

The city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands presents a compelling example for the blending of traditional and modern architecture, design…

4 weeks ago

Introducing our next major study on composite 3D printing

Building on several years of experience analyzing and forecasting the opportunities associated with additive manufacturing composite FRP materials, 3dpbm Research…

1 month ago

Thermwood builds massive new M400 machine to build more giant LSAM 3D printers

Thermwood, one of the three companies providing very large format 3D printing hardware and services with composite chopped FRP pellet…

1 month ago

Introducing the RIZE 2XC, a new sub-$5k composite 3D printer

Massachusetts-based 3D printing company RIZE, Inc. has announced the launch of a new professional composite 3D printer, the RIZE 2XC.…

1 month ago

ExOne technology used to 3D print boron carbide-aluminum collimators for refined neutron scattering

The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has licensed a novel method to 3D print boron carbide-aluminum collimators used…

1 month ago