Hybrid 3D Printer Using 5-Axis Control


Hybrid 3D Printer Using 5-Axis Control

Enomoto Kogyo is participating in a 3D printer research group that includes participants such as the Shizuoka University of Art and Culture and the software company C&G Systems, and has developed Japan’s first 5-axis hybrid 3D printer capable of continuously performing lamination and cutting using 5-axis control technology.

Conventional (3D) printers are primarily planar lamination printers, but this machine is capable of not only planar lamination, but also 5-axis lamination. Ordinarily, undercutting can’t be performed with 3-axis control type NC, but with 5 axis, tilt and rotation functions are added. In other words, control is implemented for the X, Y, Z, tilt and rotation axis, and as a result, we’re able to print very complex shapes.

Conventional 3D printers require the use of a support material to prevent material from drooping when a sphere or such is modeled. However, because the printer developed by Enomoto is capable of performing lamination on 5 axis, the use of a support material is not required, so material costs can be reduced. Conventionally, lamination and cutting must be performed with separate machines, but the new printer can perform these tasks continuously alone, and therefore machining time can also be reduced.

Our (3D) printer was produced as a machine for use in R&D by professionals rather than everyday users. First, we want to cultivate a wide range of various applications. What we would like to do is hear from customers about what types of applications they would like to jointly develop, or in other words, what types of items they would like to print with this machine. We want to do together with those types of customers. Rather than focusing on being able to produce just about anything, we would like to narrow down the target to a certain extent, and then have two or three companies use the printer on a test basis as we advance with future developments.

With multi-surface machining and high-precision processing capabilities, the 5-axis hybrid 3D printer can freely combine lamination and machining in the manufacturing process, and is suited for prototyping prosthetic leg parts and other products in the medical care field as well as aircraft parts. Sales are slated to begin sometime around 2017 after samples have been evaluated over the next year.

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