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Multi-Axis Pellet-Based Extrusion for Large Format Additive Manufacturing

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Large Format Additive Manufacturing (LFAM), or Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM), was introduced to resolve the limitations of the low deposition rate, and therefore long print times, of traditional 3D printing methods when applied to the manufacturing of large structures and tooling. LFAM can be used to overcome the high conventional tooling costs of large structures. An overview of LFAM technology is provided in this paper, and shortcomings of current technology are identified, i.e., that large format prints are not making use of multi-axis printing benefits, such as improved layer adhesion and reduced needs of support material. A prototype of a pellet-fed multi-axis large-format material extrusion 3D printer was designed and built. The LFAM technology developed in this research was experimentally verified to obtain process parameters for both the consumer and engineering thermoplastic polymers PLA and chopped carbon fiber reinforced Nylon as a printing material. The lessons learned from printing large scale multi-axis parts with these two different materials are reviewed and summarized, and recommendations for the use of multi-axis LFAM are made.

Learning Objectives:

  • Have a brief overview of LFAM and the limitations of current 3D printing
  • Provide a summary and results of the two printing materials based on the experimental data as well as to suggest areas for improvement in multi-axis large format printing.
  • Aywan Das
    Graduate Research Assistant, Ronald E. McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research
    University of South Carolina
  • Wout De Backer, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Ronald E. McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research
    University of South Carolina