I can see advantages in being able to cut, drill, or mill as you build,
especially if the places you want to cut, drill or mill will later be
inaccessible by standard CNC, such as an imbedded component. As Marshall
pointed out, fixturing as you build might be difficult, but, like a surgeon that
applies clamps and guiding rods and pins as a surgery progress, perhaps
you could have multiple robot arms that identify parts to affix as you
build (and you could have some fancy knowledge-based expert system software to
automatically calculate where those points are) that would extend out and
grab the part in different places. It doesn't seem unreasonable.
Another possibility is to have multiple or multipurpose laser heads,
which could alternately deposite and remove material as you build. It seems to
me the directo deposition/sintering types of machines (Sandia, LANL,
others) could be outfitted in that manner. I don't know how much impact such
lasers deliver to the part being built (if none, so much the better), but
it seems the fixture as you build idea would still apply.
Of course, you would have to invent new products that need to be made in
this way. As someone else pointed out, today's software and hardware
operate based on the assumptions that a part will be made in a certain way and
most engineers draw up the design based on the knowledge that the part
will be made in a certain way (some industrial designs still design products
that defy the capabilities of today's manufacturing equipment, as well as
several natural laws).
Yakov Horenstein wrote:
>Terry T. Wohlers wrote:
>>Yakov Horenstein wrote:
>>> Maybe it's a dumb question, but how come no-one has come up with a
>>> combined additive/subtractive fabricator?
>>As I'm sure you're aware, Cubital and Sanders Prototype have combined
>>methods. Perhaps you're referring to the use of milling, drilling,
>>to shape the object, versus flatten each layer.
>Yes, that's exactly what I meant. I apologise for not phrasing the
>more precisely. As several people pointed out, LOM, Cubital, Sanders etc
>all hybrid machines, but my question was not referring to those systems,
>to a combined RP/CNC machine.
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