Rapid Optical Prototyping
Technology is changing even as you read this. What was new last year might be obsolete by next, and new research is constantly opening up new avenues for exploration and optical design. Rapid optical prototyping allows you to stay ahead of the curve and bring your designs to life without waiting for the timeline and sourcing requirements of more traditional manufacturing.
At Avantier inc, we understand that minimizing the time it takes to develop prototypes has become a necessity. The faster a prototype is ready the faster a product can be brought to market. Decreasing the time necessary for this initial step enables you to stay on top of new technologies being introduced and create custom optical products with a minimum of lead time.
Rapid Optical Prototyping with In-House Manufacturing
In house design expertise as and manufacturing enables us to produce prototypes in a fraction of the time it might take at another optics design firm. For instance, custom pieces can be diamond turned within a 1-2 week turnaround time, and CNC machining can also be accomplished in less than two weeks. Our optical designers are skilled in sourcing cost effective optical components and quickly creating a wide range of custom optical elements in a minimum of time.
Tips for Rapid Optical Prototyping
While design fidelity is important, there are many ways that you can simplify your prototype to shorten the timeline without compromising on performance. Options you may want to consider include:
- Go monochromatic: While we all love color, it is no more than a pretty extra on many optical systems. Consider eliminating color in your prototype to reduce complexity and element count.
- Utilize 3D Print for mechanical components such as spacers, shims, and mounts. While often not considered, 3D printing is often a quick, cost effective way to create a part that might otherwise require months of lead time.
- Modify standard lenses to fit your needs rather than rely on fully custom optical components in a prototype. Sometimes, all you have to do is remove a coating, switch out a mounting or change the spacing between elements. Getting a custom lens made will usually take several weeks minimum, while a lens can often be modified in a matter of days.
- Along the same line, you can modify basic windows to fill-in for optical components such as mirrors, beamsplitters, and filters. Truncating or resizing a standard window to fit your needs or adding coatings to change the optical properties can be both quick and economical.
- Design for Manufacturability (DFM) can not only help you get your prototype out quicker, it will eliminate many possible manufacturing hurdles and help you to quickly create a cost effective optical instrument. Make manufacturability part of your design specifications and end up with a better product.
There’s no reason to be limited by old-school methods and traditional timelines. Stay at the front lines of research by working with an optics manufacturer that knows how to get things done with a minimal amount of time. High quality and quick turnaround times do not have to be mutually exclusive. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your rapid prototyping project or get a custom quote.
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