Additive Manufacturing Home
Large-Scale & Bio-Based
R&D leveraging UMaine’s expertise in forest-derived bio-composites with the world’s largest 3D printer to drive the future of advanced manufacturing with applications in marine, defense, housing, renewable energy, and transportation industries.
We are dedicated to leading the forefront of Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing. The ASCC has made breakthrough innovations to the field and with university expertise, we can bring promising concepts to market quickly and drive US manufacturing to a sustainable future.
Ingersoll – MasterPrint 3x
The print volume is 60′ (18.3m) long, 22′ (6.7m) wide, and 10′ (3m) high.
The printer can print at 150lbs (68kg)/hour, is being upgraded to 500lbs (227kg)/hour, and utilizes a 5-axis machine head.
In addition to printing, the ASCC has the capability to install instrumentation such as visual cameras, thermal cameras, profilometers, and DIC cameras to monitor the printing process.
We are dedicated to leading the forefront of Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing. The ASCC has made breakthrough innovations in this field, including commissioning the World’s Largest Polymer 3D Printer with print-bed dimensions of 60′ (18.3m) long, 22′ (6.7m) wide, and 10′ (3m) high. Additionally, even larger-scale printers are being planned for installation in the current ASCC facility, and in future facility expansions.
In accordance with our GEM commitment, and in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), we are advancing efforts to produce new forest-derived, 100% bio-based materials conducive to 3D printing of large, structurally demanding systems. Our research focuses on cellulose nanofiber (CNF) production, drying, functionalization, and compounding with thermoplastics, building on UMaine’s leadership in CNF technology and extrusion research. By placing wood CNF into thermoplastics, bio-derived recyclable material systems can be developed with properties that may rival traditional materials, possibly even metals.
Bio-Based Additive Manufacturing
For more than 25 years, the ASCC has been on the cutting edge of bio-based composites made with Maine wood products and is developing bio-based, renewable feedstocks using cellulose nanofibrils for additive manufacturing. Adopting the low cost of bio-derived and bio-filled feedstocks for use in additive manufacturing will pave the way for reducing manufacturing costs with partner industries looking to utilize this technology.
The Hub & Spoke Program
Innovation through collaboration
The Hub & Spoke Program is a research collaboration between the University of Maine and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The partnership advances 3D printing with wood products, creating a new market for Maine’s forest products industry, an industry that has been the backbone of Maine’s economy for generations.
Traditional feedstocks for 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, tend to be petroleum/fossil-based. As additive manufacturing continues to grow there is a need to identify more sustainable, cost-effective feedstock alternatives.
Nanocellulose is nature’s super polymer. Extracted from cellulose, the basic component of plant cell walls, nanocellulose exhibits a range of properties that make it an attractive and versatile bio-based material. One of the most common forms of nanocellulose is cellulose nanofibrils (CNF).
By placing CNF into plastics, strong, stiff, and recyclable bio-derived material systems can be developed. As a bio-based material, CNF could rival the properties of steel, and its successful incorporation into plastics shows great promise for a renewable feedstock suitable for additive manufacturing. Nanocellulose is helping build the forest products of the future.
Maine is a natural hub for forest-based innovations and the development of cutting-edge new forest products. Maine is the most heavily forested state in the country by the percentage of land area. Maine’s economy has been deeply rooted in its forests. The University of Maine has pioneered patented nanocellulose extraction techniques and is home to the only publicly accessible facility in the United States that can manufacture CNF at a rate of one ton per day. Printing with 50% wood promises to open new markets for the forest products industry.
Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Maine are conducting fundamental research in several key technical areas, including CNF production, drying, functionalization, compounding with thermoplastics, multiscale modeling, and life-cycle analysis.
Printed using bio-based materials
Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing
The 2019 installation of the World’s Largest Polymer 3D printer was just one of the latest milestones the ASCC has reached as a leader in Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing. With a rich history in innovation for rapidly deployable, cost-effective, and better-made structures, additive manufacturing is the next great frontier for solving problems in any industry.
air, land & sea
“The 3D printer here at the University of Maine is currently the largest in the world. It’s not the stuff of science fiction. The research we’re doing is happening here and it’s happening now.”
Rich Fredericks , AM Team
3Dirigo: The World’s Largest 3D Printed Boat
3Dirigo has two Guinness World Records: 1. the world’s largest 3D printed boat and 2. the world’s largest 3D printed object. The boat was printed in 72 hours by the world’s largest 3D printer and is 25′ (7.62m) long and weighs 5,000lbs (2,268kg).
Time-lapse footage of printing 3Dirigo
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES AT THE ASCC