A demonstration of large-format 3D printing delivers parts for an excavator cab, from CAD data to ready for assembly, in only five hours.

Large-format additive manufacturing (LFAM) is relatively new to the 3D printing marketplace but has quickly established a promising niche. Essentially, LFAM is a marriage of the motion systems used in today’s precision CNC-machining or laser-cutting machinery and 3D printing/extrusion heads modified for use in the larger format. Although much attention has been focused on using large-format 3D printers to build tooling for composite molding processes, they have also found use in building the finished parts themselves in one-off and very low-volume production. In either case, the technology is promising, and initial work, and the cost analyses derived from that work, suggests that large 3D printers, compared to current composite tooling and part fabrication practices, can offer significant cost savings, especially in total labor hours.

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