Looking Ahead: H5

Updated: May 12, 2021

The main idea behind the H-Series machine is to provide the ultimate platform for product development, an indispensible tool for the engineering lab. It is a versatile system that allows the user to quickly go from CAD data to physical output in a wide variety of materials in both additive and subtractive processes. A prime objective in the design was the reduction of setup times. In prototype machining and short run manufacturing, over 90% of the associated labor is often spent in setups. The quick-change build platforms, the dovetail plate with clamping fixture blocks, the modular rotary axis units with various workholding options, the omni-directional touch probe, and the toolchanging turret are all features of the H-Series Machine geared toward reducing setup labor.

With the next generation H-Series Machine (H5), we are building on the versatility of H4, adding more capability while improving usability. Here is a list of what is changing:

  • Increased Z-travel. H4 has a Zmax of ~210mm (depending on the toolhead). H5 will have a Zmax of ~400mm

  • Gantry Toolchanger. H5 machines will be outfitted with a toolchanging system that will hold up to 14 cutters. The toolchanger will also have a precision touchoff sensor to automatically define tool Z-offsets and detect broken cutters.

  • Actuated ¼” Spindle. Rather than having multiple spindles on the turret, H5 will have a single primary spindle with an actuated collet closing mechanism to quickly swap cutters during a job. This spindle will allow for much longer tool reach than the H4 1/8” unit which will drastically improve functionality in 4th and 5th axis operations.

  • More Rigid Construction. In order to handle the increased tool loads of the ¼” spindle, several aspects of the machine frame have been redesigned.

  • Dessicant Filament Cabinet. The H5 filament cabinet will enable precisely controlled drying of filament using a rechargable dessicant system and recirculated forced-air heating. It will allow for a wide range of spool sizes from 100g samples to 5kg bulk spools.

  • Improved Build Enclosure and Shrouding. The H5 design incorporates a large chip tray and improved shrouding to minimize cleanup times. The enclosure also features a large drop-down front panel and hinged side doors. This maintains the full visibility and easy accessibility fundamental to the H-Series platform.

We are still in the prototyping phase of this project, but here is a preview of some of the new functionality: