Rapid Prototyping Advancements: Expanding Options in Optics

Posted by The RPO Team on Aug 18, 2017 12:15:00 PM

The options for rapid prototyping of optics and assemblies are expanding across the board. With advances in diamond turning of chalcogenides, small runs of even IR optics are becoming faster and more affordable.

Chalcogenides, which many customers are turning to as an available high-performing material for IR optics (see our field guide to IR material selection), are well-suited for molded optics but present some challenges in prototyping. Namely, the toxic nature of the glass makes diamond turning and machining challenging.

RPO’s extensive research and investment in cleanroom filtering allows us to offer broader capabilities in diamond turning and prototyping of IR optics, including the use of alternative materials. Advancements like this round out a full range of prototyping methods that can help customers ensure a smooth ramp-up to full production, whether it's traditional optics, aspheres, doublets, IR optics, eyepieces or assemblies. The range of prototyping methods includes:

  • Diamond turning (SPDT)
  • CNC machining
  • Protomolding—rapid prototypes of tooling for prototype molding runs
  • Additive manufacturing—3D printing of barrels or concept prototypes

To allow seamless transition to full production and the right fit for your product performance demands, we're continuously expanding our range of materials and methods of prototyping.

Manufacturing Engineer Don Morrison explains, “We're testing new prototyping methods to eliminate the inherent differences when moving a design from SPDT to injection molding.” Learn more about Don and the team’s work.

To learn more about considerations for rapid prototyping of optical components and assemblies...

Download our guide:

Rapid Prototyping White Paper

Topics: Infrared, Chalcogenides, Rapid Prototyping