LUX Crystalline: Enhanced Material Stability, Impact Resistance, and prolonged Lifespan elevate 3D Printed Optics to the Next Level

Printed optics have come a long way after their initial invention back in 2009. Until recently, 3D printed optics mainly found their application in research, design and engineering environments – most notably hindered by limited UV- and temperature resistance. While Luximprint solutions have always delivered great value for rapid validation of optics designs and manufacturing tooling, and have been utterly helpful to rapidly generate engineering and event demonstrators, a final breakthrough for printed optics remained to be seen due to limited UV-stability and temperature resistance. With the arrival of the ‘LUX Crystalline’ materials, however, the manufacture of ‘crystal clear’ optics in pre- and small series volumes conform to commonly established market requirements is now possible. LUX Crystalline brings optical 3D printing methodologies the final accreditation it’s been so eagerly waiting for.

Customization beyond Prototyping

In addition to the generation of typical prototyping volumes, fully-fledged pre- and small-series manufacture are now within reach. The new ‘LUX Crystalline’ materials allow for the generation of durable custom optics solutions with upwards scaling potential, supporting further adoption across a variety of markets.

Marco de Visser, Co-Founder of Luximprint shares his excitement: “This next step marks a significant milestone in the companies’ history. While the focus to date has been much on improving the 3D Platform capabilities and software, we are excited to see now also the materials side of things aligns. The new LUX Crystalline material is exceptionally UV-stable, and can also be applied in outdoor solutions. This offers great new perspectives for our users, some of which have been waiting for a while for this impeccable moment”.

Image composition of various LUX Crystalline samples.

Various LUX Crystalline samples demonstrate the smoothness, accuracy, and complexity of the Luximprint process and materials.

Early field- and application research has confirmed the new materials are meeting the requirements for both prototyping- and end parts in challenging industries, in accordance with REACH, RoHS and WEEE Directives.

De Visser continues: “Keeping up with market demand has, from a material perspective, always been challenging in the 3D printing environment. As early innovators of additive manufacturing methodologies, we are operating in a unique yet fairly lonely edge when it comes to process and material development. Now, this stunning combination of thermal, mechanical, and optical properties of LUX Crystalline offers also new perspectives for industries with generally tighter material requirements, such as automotive, medical, and cosmetics”.

Smoothness, Accuracy and Complexity are Key

Just like the LUX Standard materials, the biggest take-away on a product level is the ‘free complexity’ one gets from utilizing the optical 3D printing process. The smooth yet accurate build allows for a broad build of a variety of optical features, textures and finishes. Add to that the manufacturing speed, flexibility and cost-efficiency of the process, customization and diversification become at once extremely relevant for designers and engineers seeking shorter development cycles and faster marketing possibilities while developing a unique product.

Image of handheld LUX Crystalline Sample showing the build complexity by the Luximprint process.

LUX Crystalline Sample showing the build complexity enabled by the Luximprint process.

Multi-Material Stack: Clear – Color and Diffuse

Adding the new Crystalline material to the Luximprint material library greatly complements the current offering. John Gerrits, Technical Director at Luximprint, explains: “Adding LUX Crystalline to the material stack brings us enhanced possibilities in generating high-quality optics. It is not just the optical clarity and product stability that have increased, adding pigments – to generate color and diffusivity – is now also one step closer.”

Whereas the development of colored and diffuse LUX Crystalline materials is still in progress and on track for launch early 2024, the optical Crystalline materials are available by the 3rd Quarter of 2023.

Gerrits adds: “The possibility to adapt the level of diffusion with the light diffusing additives for lighting design is absolutely incredible. The versatility of this new material is enormous, after several years of core process development, we may truly speak of a next breakthrough for Luximprint”.

Rapid Prototyping Custom Optics in Days

Lead times for the Luximprint solutions are, just like before, typically ranging from 5-10 business days for prototyping jobs, and might go a little up just in case parts are ordered in ‘reasonable quantities’. The minimum order quantity for typical optical products remains as low as “1”, while for specialty batch numbers this may slightly increase.

Submitting your formal inquiries for LUX Crystalline solutions is possible as of September 08, 2023. In the meantime, our sales engineers are here to address any of your further questions, please feel free to contact us.