America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, has launched what it calls the ‘first legacy CNC machine tool’. The vertical mill, developed by CNC specialist Fadal, has been upgraded with LENS 3DP, a 3D metal additive manufacturing (AM) technology.

This follows project funding awarded by America Makes to a team led by Optomec, in conjunction with MachMotion, TechSolve, Lockheed Martin, and Benét Labs. The project team was able to bridge the gap between additive and subtractive manufacturing processes by embedding controls, toolpath generation, and quality monitoring in a modular design to enable any CNC machine tool to be upgraded with 3D printing capability.

Game changer

‘This project exemplifies the America Makes mission to efficiently accelerate the transition of promising additive technologies into mainstream manufacturing,’ said Ralph Resnick, America Makes founding director and NCDMM president and executive director. ‘This achievement is poised to have a game-changing impact on the manufacturing industry. For manufacturers and machine shops to now have the dual ability of employing additive and subtractive manufacturing processes in one machine is tremendous.’

This story is reprinted from material from America Makes, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.