VIDEO: VLP 3D printing technology produces large format tools as single parts

Boeing and Therwood additively manufactured a large tool for the 777x program. As part of this project, a recently developed vertical layer printing (VLP) technology is exploited in Thermwood’s Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) system.

According to experts, this process enabled Boeing to reduce the time required for assembly of several 3D printed tooling components.

For those who do not know, Therwood manufactures CNC routers and systems used in several industries such as woodworking, automotive, aerospace/aviation and defense. The company combines its expertise in CNC to 3D printing in order to fabricate its LSAM systems. The first one has been launched in 2016.

Those machines offer a build volume of 10 ft x 5 ft x 100 ft. For this specific industrial application, Therwood provided Boeing a 777X trim tool that it 3D printed using a toolhead that enables the deposition fiber reinforced composites. The tool, therefore integrates 1,540 lbs of 20% carbon fiber reinforced ABS plastic.

Lastly, 43 hours 20 minutes were required for the printing process and demonstration of VLP. Il should be noted that rather than printing horizontally, parts were built up vertically while slowly integrating mechanical stresses between layers.

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