3D printing is one of eight additive manufacturing technologies and very much future-oriented and challenging. Oak Ridge National Laboratory together with Cincinnati Inc. have built a large-scale 3D printer turning their interest on a research of additive manufacturing making a special accent on working with metals such as steel and aluminum.
The new machine is able to print components of up to 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall and is built at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in East Tennessee. Lonnie Love, head of the lab’s manufacturing systems research group, thinks their cooperation with Ciccinati highly successful. It’s a tool-manufacturing company with 116 year long history, which didn’t have any new product line for about 20 years and suddenly became a supplier of 3D manufacturing systems and on the cutting edge of technology.
The main goal of the project is manufacturing of low-cost steel components for earth-moving equipment, e.g. buses and trucks. There are already some models for kayaks and canoes and boats are in plans. Wind turbine blades and cars will be company’s next aim. Meanwhile, the printer doesn’t have an official name and it’s called Bertha unofficially.