Home Applications & Case Studies Maker enables 3D-printed optical lenses with 3D-printed grinding machine

Maker enables 3D-printed optical lenses with 3D-printed grinding machine

Optical lenses have been indispensable for centuries in astronomy, photography, medicine and also in spectacles. With modern 3D printing processes such as stereolithography, complex structures can now be produced with high precision. YouTuber Fraens therefore wanted to test whether optical lenses could be produced using 3D printing.

The biggest challenge proved to be light transmission. While ideal lenses are made from a completely homogeneous material such as glass, 3D-printed objects are created in layers. There are differences in density between the layers, which can refract the light unpredictably.

Fraens experimented with different printing angles of the lens and transparent resins. He achieved the best result at an angle of 30 degrees to the vertical. Nevertheless, the surface remained too rough for clear light refraction. However, with the help of a specially developed 3D-printed grinding machine, he was able to rework the lenses and polish them to a high gloss.

He published details of his work in a video and on his blog. He sells the 3D models for the grinding machine on Cults3D for 25 euros. Detailed instructions are also included.

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