Some 3D printing stories take place over extended periods, such as the month-long 3D printing of a bridge. Other times, research and development can take even longer. In those cases, we try to keep readers apprised of major developments as they occur.
Today, we bring updates on the CEAD large-scale CFAM Prime 3D printer designed for shipbuilding, infrastructure work, and industrial projects. CFAM stands for Continuous Fiber Additive Manufacturing and involves infusing continuous strands of carbon fiber or glass into 3D printed thermoplastics.After settling into their new Delft location and printing various materials for a couple months, CEAD hosted an event to officially launch and show off the capabilities of the CFAM Prime. They 3D printed parts with their continuous fiber and with short fibers so attendees could feel the mechanical properties differences between them. There was also a live demonstration of a CFAM Prime adding a console to a cabin that had been 3D printed earlier.
Dutch company CEAD developed the technology because they wanted to produce parts with the complex geometries enabled by 3D printing but with the industrial strength of composite moulds. There are many fiber-reinforced plastics available for 3D printing, but they all use short fibers, which increase the strength of parts incrementally but not to the standard of industrial applications. By pushing a continuous strand of fiber with the plastic extrusion, parts become incredibly rigid.
The CFAM Prime 3D prints are strong enough even for CEAD’s first two customers, Royal Roos, a marine engineering company, and Poly Products, a specialist in fiber-reinforced plastics and construction. Royal Roos is already using a CFAM Prime to 3D print ship models for motion and resistance testing in basins. “Fast and accurate 3D printing of large and strong (ship) parts was so far not possible. With this new 3D printer this will work. We are, for example, investigating how to use this technology to produce gangways. 3D printing is not only fast, but you can also calculate the cost price in advance. Moreover, it is possible to recycle materials," remarked Fulko Roos, founder of Royal Roos.Poly Products will be receiving their CFAM Prime around the middle of 2019, with plans to 3D trim lines for cargo ships. “At Poly Products we manufacture fibre-reinforced plastic products,” stated Jan Schrama, founder of Poly Products. “With this 3D printer we can work faster, at lower costs and we have less manual labour. This makes it easier to make one-off products and showing customers a prototype, without making a mould.”
Besides making super sturdy parts, the CFAM Prime can make very large parts as well, with a build volume of 2m x 4m x 1.5m; that makes it the largest 3D printer commercially available in Europe. Here are some of its other impressive specs:
Smart heating/cooling system uses thermal cameras and adjusts in real time
Siemens CNC system base
Can process ABS, PP, PET, and high-temp materials like PEEK and more
Output of 15kg/hour
Able to run for 24 hours without operator presence
There will be only six CFAM Prime 3D printers produced in the first series, so if you'd like one of these nearly $1 million machines, place your orders soon.