Additive Manufacturing Today

Bob Vanderhoff, Craig Blue and Moe Khaleel

Magnum Venus Products (MVP), in partnership with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), installed the first commercially available medium/large-scale thermoset 3D printer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Tennessee this week.

While 3D printers have been around for years, the additive manufacturing industry has desperately needed a cost-effective solution that could print structures and molds. MVP engaged with ORNL to create a 3D printer capable of printing large-scale thermosets, chemistries that are irreversibly cured from a prepolymer or resin.

“Thanks to this innovation, research and development managers will be able to prototype faster and bring products to market faster,” said Bob Vanderhoff, President and CEO Magnum Venus Products. “Procurement departments will also enjoy shortened lead time on crucial molds – allowing for rapid deployment. This was made possible through ORNL slicing software that allows the integration of multivariate print process parameters.”

The MVP machine features a state-of-the-art gantry system tailored to the application and the large footprint can be easily scaled to multiple sizes. The machine has a build volume of 16’ x 8’ x 42’’ and a build platform with a 1,000 lb. capacity. The machine prints up to 50” per second at a deposition rate ≥ 10 lbs./hr. Resolution of ≤ 6mm and larger resolution is possible with repeatability = ±0.005”.

“The ability to print thermosets on a large-scale opens new possibilities with respect to the performance and integrity of printed structures,” said Vlastimil Kunc, ORNL lead for polymer materials development.

The roll-in/roll-out bed configuration of the MVP thermoset printer dramatically increases the productivity of additive manufacturing. The configuration allows the printer to operate while pre- and post-processing operations are performed on an additional print bed outside of the machine. The benefits include rapid prototyping molds, rapid mold building, and creativity with an all-new material for cutting-edge companies.

ORNL contributed to this project through a Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund project managed by the Advanced Manufacturing Office in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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