3D Printing Takes a Huge Leap Forward in Metal Construction

LASIMM went live in January 2019; Photo Credit: Lasimm

Redshift by Autodesk reports in their recent article, “Massive Hybrid Manufacturing Machine in Europe Pushes Boundaries of 3D Printing,” that a new machine is now designed to 3D-print metal parts and structures for construction as large as 2 meters in diameter (6.5 feet) and up to 6 meters long (over 19 feet long) and 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds) in weight. 

Until now, much of the 3D printing has been for small objects. But Foster + Partners, a global studio for architecture, urbanism, and design, has pushed the boundaries of scale for additive manufacturing by designing and planning a 5-meter-long (16.4-foot-long) additive-steel building truss, which it produced in sections.

The Large-scale Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine or LASIMM as it is called, is a massive hybrid-manufacturing machine with metal additive and subtractive capabilities. It is projected to reduce manufacturing time and costs by 20%, increasing productivity for high-volume additive-manufacturing production by 15%.

Foster + Partners’ objective was to produce a structural-steel cantilevered truss that would showcase the potential of the technology for integration into a future building.

The LASIMM was housed in Pamplona, Spain, at the facilities of project partner Loxin, a robotic-technology firm. The machine features a modular configuration of industrial robot arms and a specialized milling robot. It’s capable of additive manufacturing, machining (“subtractive” work), metrology, and inspection. Additional partners include aerospace firm BAE Systems and Danish wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems A/S, which have been LASIMM project partners since the start and joined Foster + Partners in fabricating demonstrator products in a 2019 pilot.

The additive-construction process for the cantilevered beam began with a steel plate, with components welded on in layers. The team used a generative-design workflow, evolving a set of constraints to automatically create a set of designs.

The LASIMM group includes six companies, two universities, and two research institutes, and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Autodesk as the lead software provider.

Design graphic courtesy of 3ders.org.

For more details on this project, read the FULL ARTICLE or visit the LASIMM website.

METALCON 2020 will once again feature the applications of 3D printing in its newest addition to the show floor, the CONTECH Hub. Make plans to join us in Las Vegas for the show’s 30th Anniversary October 21-23, 2020! Pre-register to be the first to know when housing and registration opens.

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