We Heard You: Hybrid 3D Printer & CNC Mill Wins the Vote
Back in September we sent out a survey to gauge interest in the development of two machines: an upgraded hybrid machine and a rotary axis 3D printer. The results came back loud and clear. We listened, and responded with the development and production of the new H-Series, H5. This new machine adds many new features that greatly enhances the capabilities of our current H-Series:
Increased Z-travel (almost double at ~400mm)
A gantry tool changer
A higher power ¼” spindle
A desiccating filament cabinet
As we prepare for the full market release of H5, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be working with Northwest Kansas Technical College (NWKTC) to install our first batch of units.
A New Path Forward in Modern Manufacturing Education
Michael Zimmerman, an instructor with NWKTC’s Engineering Technology Department, stumbled upon Diabase when looking for 4/5 axis CNC machines for education. The ability of the H-Series to perform both additive and subtractive processes on a single platform caught Zimmerman’s attention, filling a current gap in his program.
With the addition of five H-Series units, Zimmerman plans to offer a new advanced manufacturing pathway for his 2nd year students as early as 2021-2022. In addition to learning how to design for hybrid manufacturing, students will also be offered coursework in CNC coding and robotic welding.
Currently, plans are underway to gut and retrofit a 1800 sq. ft. space to turn into a new lab to house the H-Series classroom CNC machines, along with other CNC equipment to support various CNC projects for students.
In addition to providing opportunities for students, the cadre of H5 machines will also help local businesses in and around the northwest Kansas region. As part of the Engineering Technology program Zimmerman offers students unique opportunities to work directly with businesses, helping to solve design and manufacturing problems for clients. Valuable real-life experience is gained, while students work through the process of deciding which equipment to use to best service the design at hand. A few examples of these projects include:
AMBULANCE ELECTRONIC STAIR CHAIR-The plastic control box of this important piece of equipment to bring patients up and down the stairs was damaged. Rather than purchasing a whole new unit, a student was able to print a new control box, transfer the electronics and mount it to the chair. This simple fix, which only cost $10 (for materials) saved the EMS department $5,990.
FIRE DEPARTMENT JAWS OF LIFE-The plastic handle of an extrication tool firefighters use for hybrid/electric vehicles was damaged. This handle is critical as it prevents the electric shock from transferring from the tool to the operator. Unfortunately, this part is quite expensive to replace. Through reverse engineering one of the students was able to fix the handle, saving the department approximately $250.
SEARCH & RESCUE EQUIPMENT BATTERY HOLDERS-The regional search and rescue team, Kansas Task Force 7, was in need of battery holders that could be mounted into their apparatus when deployed to an incident. The students were given various types of batteries and tasked with coming up ways to secure the batteries in transit. See picture below for the final products.
With the H5, students will be better equipped than ever to tackle prototyping and R&D challenges. Working with businesses from various industries also allows Zimmerman and his students to explore the possible applications of hybrid manufacturing. As he states, “imagination is the limit!”.
Skills Gap & Workplace Readiness with the H-Series
Before students take the leap into the workforce it’s critical we equip them with both soft and hard skills to ensure success in the future. Along with NWKTC, an increasing number of educational institutions, from high schools to four and two-year colleges and universities, understand the value of the H-Series as a 3D printer and a CNC machine for education-in its ability to offer students a deep understanding of the principles of design and manufacturing. Unlike a typical plug-and-play 3D printer, the H-Series, with its CNC-based design and concept, provides rich opportunities for students to explore:
Fundamentals of motion control
True multi-material 3D printing
Basic work holding and stock selection
Pendant control of a machine tool
Use of a touch probe routines for location of features
Work coordinate systems and offsets
Simple to complex CNC programming
Tool path optimization
Part orientation, tool access, and crash avoidance
Advanced 4th and 5th axis build strategies
Material properties and their effect on manufacturing processes
Advanced hybrid build strategies
Educators also appreciate the compact size and affordability of the H-Series, thereby decreasing student-to-machine ratios, and increasing hands-on learning time.
As our modern workplace continues to evolve, and manufacturing methods move beyond just single operation machines, the H-Series is the ideal 3D printer and CNC machine for education to prepare students for manufacturing jobs of the future.
Will You Join Us?
Reach out today to learn more, or to receive pricing.
We accept purchase orders, and can work with you to get on your approved vendors list!