Converting CNC Machines into Advanced 3D Printers

3D printing is revolutionizing the way manufacturers develop, prototype, and even build products, generating even the most complex shapes quickly and easily. CNC machines however, have that type of software to control positioning capability, that is needed for 3D printing.

Recognizing the overlap between the two technologies, Hurco developed the WinMax 3D print head accessory, a unique kit for turning standard 6-axis milling CNC machine into an additive manufacturing machine to run the nozzle of the 3D printer, allowing users to convert their CNC machine into a large-frame 3D printer.

Hurco designed a simple handheld unit that mounts to the spindle of the machine and while moving generates enough heat to melt the plastic filament. The DC Gold BELL Elmo drive could deliver controlled advance of the filament courtesy of a gear motor combination and EtherCAT communication, as well as achieving high accuracy while the table moves to create the 3D form. The speed of filament needs to vary as a function of table velocity to maintain a constant deposition rate, which was made possible by the advanced controlling capabilities of the Elmo Drives

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