3D Printing of Optics

SPIE Press
M. Rank and A. Heinrich
ISBN: 9781510619982

Additive manufacturing generally refers to the layer-by-layer deposition of
material in order to build a part. This process opens up completely new design
possibilities compared to conventional, subtractive manufacturing methods.
Thus, for example, complex-shaped parts with integrated functionality can be
realized as monolithic components. Therefore, this manufacturing method offers
a high potential not only for mechanical components but also for optical components,
which creates new approaches and solutions for optical systems.
This Spotlight is intended to introduce the 3-D printing of optical components.
It also offers experienced users of the technology a better understanding
of the topic. The entire process chain of the 3-D printing of optical components
is considered. It deals with the construction of a 3-D printing system, the printing
materials, and the printing process, as well as the necessary rework and the
characteristics of the 3-D printed optics. The minimum requirements are an
undergraduate level of mathematics and basic knowledge of physics.


Table of Contents

Preface v
1 Introduction 1
2 Brief Overview of 3-D Printing 2
3 How to Build a 3-D Printer for Optical Components 5
4 Materials for 3-D Printing of Optics 9
4.1 Polymers 9
4.2 Available resins 11
4.3 Optical properties of the resins 11
4.4 Surface quality 15
4.5 Shape deviation 16
4.6 Light propagation 19
5 Post-Processing of 3-D Printed Optics 22
5.1 Raw printouts and cleaning 22
5.2 Post-processing 22
5.2.1 Robot-based polishing (fluid jet polishing) 22
5.2.2 Manual polish using scratch remover 23
5.2.3 Surface coating 24
6 Rules and Possibilities for the Design of 3-D Printed Optics 25
6.1 Rules 25
6.1.1 Tolerancing 26
6.1.2 Orientation and supports 27
6.1.3 Radii 28
6.1.4 Slicing 28
6.2 Examples of 3-D printed optics 29
Appendix: Video of 3-D Printing 41