Japanese researcher have developed a combination of a conventional CNC mill and a 3D printer with 5 axes – this should result in even more possibilities to produce parts with complex geometry.
The Japanese tooling and manufacturing equipment developer Enomoto Kogyo has coporated with the Shizuoka University of Art and Culture to create this new machine. As a base they used a conventional CNC mill with 5 axes as it’s often used in the industry. Then they added a print head for printing 3D objects with plastic. Such a machine needs special software to be controlled – therefore C&G Systems has developed the software.
Through the use of 5 axes it’s possible to print without the use of support structure. That improves the speed of 3D printing and there is less work with post processing. Furthermore the costs for materials could be reduced and even more complex geometries are possible.
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
A CNC mill for the post processing is very useful because you can accomplish highest requirements for the surface – even engineering fits are possible. And when support material has to be used it could be easily be removed with the mill when doing the post processing.
The presented machine is a hybrid machine consisting out of a 3D printer and a CNC mill – each of them with 5 axis. This machine is not ready for sale now – it’s still under heavy development. Enomoto Kogyo wants to start selling machines with the presented technique as of 2017.