Optical parts with 3D printing?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by s_bas, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. s_bas
    s_bas New Member
    Hi, does anyone have any experience with 3D printing of optical parts (for instance prism) by Shapeways?

    As I know, for optical parts it must be a proper material and proper surfaces: of accurate shape and well polished. As far as the material goes, it seems like the Shapeways' Fine Detail Plastic, transparent should be good. (Definitively, its refraction index is to be taken into consideration). What interests me is the surface quality: if 3D printing used here provides surface smooth enough for that material?

    Your advice would be very much appreciated.

  2. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    The most translucent is Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail - but even that will take loads of post-processing work (polishing) to get decent optical qualities.

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  3. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
    This lens is a good example of what is possible with the transparent detail material :)
  4. s_bas
    s_bas New Member
    Does anyone know a 3D printing service which offers a higher printing resolution so to allow optical quality surfaces ?

    If interested, this is a much referred to article on printed Optics (they used there own printer I assume):

  5. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    I believe they used similar printers and materials to our FUD and FD prints.
  6. stannum
    stannum Well-Known Member
    Fine Detail Plastic / Transparent Detail, Objet Eden 260V.
  7. s_bas
    s_bas New Member
    Thanks Michael,
    In this case why Disney Research people were able to get the optical quality surfaces and we can not get it from Shapeways?

    Disney Research used print resolution 600 dpi. I think the resolution as high just is not utilized in the Shapeways printing. If it is so then is it possible to provide the option of high resolution to Shapeways users ?
  8. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    600dpi is still 0.04mm steps no matter where you look.

    Shapeways FUD is 0.033 steps, and that still needs polishing to acheive any optical quality.

    Basically what you have is the equivalent of an injet printer but in 3D, only so many dots can be laid down in one area, there is no infinite grading of slopes or curves - to get to those you need to get the nearest surface you can with 3D priting technologly and then add some elbow grease.


    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  9. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    From the source that you cite (my bold):

    And (my bold):

    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  10. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    The cool thing about 3D printing, among the other cool things, is that you could design and 3D print a custom polishing machine for each lens you want to 3D print and polish. :D

  11. s_bas
    s_bas New Member
    Thank you all, it was quite educating.

    So, the only option is a post-processing polishing. Unfortunately, it would not work in my case: the part is a complicated optical prism and some faces of it are not reachable for polishing.
  12. leorolph
    leorolph New Member
    imaterialise do a transparent resin that looks perfectly clear. Im not sure i should be mentioning another 3d printing service here but competition can only make for a better service in the end. though its not cheap. :twisted:
  13. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    Their transparent resin is the same as ours. The price listed for their transparent resin is not for perfectly clear, at least last I checked. To get it perfectly clear, requires post production process. Cleaning and polishing. And I believe a chemical to take the yellow out of the transparent resin.
  14. stannum
    stannum Well-Known Member
    Really the same? So Shapeways finally got bath-based machines?
    On the other hand, maybe not at all, theirs is blueish.