Thermwood used a Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machine and newly developed Vertical Layer Print (VLP) 3D printing technology to fabricate the tool as a one-piece print, eliminating the additional cost and schedule required for the assembly of multiple 3D-printed tooling components.

In the joint demonstration programme, Thermwood printed and trimmed the 3.7 m long R&D tool at its southern Indiana demonstration laboratory and delivered it to Boeing in August 2018. Boeing Research & Technology engineer Michael Matlack believes the use of Thermwood’s additive manufacturing technology in this application provided a significant advantage, saving weeks of time and enabling delivery of the tool before traditional tooling could be fabricated.

The tool was printed as a single piece from 20% carbon fibre reinforced ABS using the VLP system. Boeing purchased the Thermwood LSAM machine with VLP functionality for its Interiors Responsibility Center (IRC) facility in Everett, Washington.