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

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Thermwood, one of the three companies providing very large format 3D printing hardware and services with composite chopped FRP pellet materials, has designed, fabricated and put into operation the M400, the largest machine it has ever built, to meet the rapidly increasing demand of its LSAM (large size additive manufacturing) machines.

Thermwood has no plans to offer this type of machine for sale but instead has found that its own increasing demand for large part machining, especially to support growing demand for its LSAM, large scale additive manufacturing machines, required this extraordinary effort. Although the design concept has been in the works for several years, it required about eight months to complete the project and place the machine into production.

The new metalworking behemoth, dubbed internally as the M400, weighs 51 metric tonnes (103,000 pounds) and is mounted on a special isolated, double steel reinforced concrete pad. It has a 15-foot (5-meter) wide, 35-foot (11.5-meter) long floor level steel table that by itself weighs 21,000 pounds (about 10,000 Kg).

The massive steel gantry, mounted on parallel walls, moves on four steel rails. It also has a unique feature in that it can be moved up and down by four feet. The Z-Axis, mounted on the gantry, has an additional 4 feet of servo travel so that, it is possible to machine parts up to eight-foot-tall. Moving the entire gantry instead of using an eight-foot Z-axis results in reduced overhang and significantly higher rigidity and higher quality machined surfaces.

The five-axis liquid-cooled metalworking head can generate up to 40 HP at speeds up to 20,000 RPM. The Live Load, which is the parts of the machine that move under servo control, weighs 18,000 Kg (36,000 pounds).

The machine is controlled by Thermwood’s Quad-Core SuperControl, the same Thermwood designed and built CNC control used on its CNC routers and LSAM systems. This machine is, by far, the largest and heaviest machine built by Thermwood to date and is intended for its own internal production use.


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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 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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  1. Not even going to tell us what the diameter of the ballscrews are on this massive thing? Or if it uses rack an pinion or some other system?

    1. Sorry! We report on what we know. I’ve often reached out to Thermwood for additional comments but have not been able to connect yet.

    2. Answers to your questions just came in from Thermwood:
      The (X) base drive has a module 4 rack and pinion. The pinion is driven by a Redex KRP2 gearbox.
      The (Y) tool carrier has a module 3 rack and pinion. The pinion is driven by a Redex SRP0 gearbox.
      The (Z) is driven by a THK BLK3232 ballscrew assembly.
      The (W) gantry lift drive has a module 6 rack and pinion. The pinion is driven by a Redex KRP4 gearbox

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