Additive Manufacturing of Optics
Additive manufacturing, also referred to as ‘3D printing’, is any of various processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control to create a 3D object, with liquid or solid materials being fused together. 3D printing is used in both rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing.
3D Printing Technologies
Objects can be of almost any shape or geometry and typically are produced using digital model data from a 3D model or another electronic data source such as an Additive Manufacturing File (AMF) file – usually in sequential layers.
Generally, there are many different technologies, like stereolithography (SLA) or fused deposit modeling (FDM). Thus, unlike material removed from a build block in the conventional subtractive processes, 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing builds a three-dimensional object directly from a CAD file or AMF file, usually by successively adding material layer by layer, without the need for manufacturing tooling.
3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing?
The term “3D printing” referred originally to a process that deposits a binder material onto a powder bed with inkjet printheads, layer by layer. More recently, the term is being used to encompass a wider variety of additive manufacturing techniques. Global technology standards use the official term ‘additive manufacturing’ in its broader sense.
Additive Optics Fabrication
The Luximprint process, capable of creating smooth and functional optical parts straight from the printer, uses Additive Optics Fabrication (a.k.a. Additive Optics Manufacturing) technology to build its desired shapes.
On the contrary to the ‘conventional’ 3D printing methods, the Luximprint process jets droplets of a liquid, UV-curable material.