In addition to functional optical plastics, Luximprint facilitates design and additive fabrication services for illumination reflectors. On the contrary to printed optics, the functionality of printed reflectors is found on the surface instead of at the inside of the parts. As such, a high quality, smooth surface finish would be required in order to ensure proper reflection values. This is exactly where the Luximprint process comes in with its resulting surfaces smooth from the printer with zero need for post-processing. Discover the possibilities in light engineering and design with 3D printed reflectors!

3D Printing Reflectors

3D printing reflectors is a totally new way of getting reflective surfaces available and tested before moving on to large-scale production tooling. In fact, it’s a fast, flexible and cost-efficient way of risk management!

The arrival of LED point sources has fundamentally changed the way reflective optics are developed and applied in the lighting industry. In illumination applications, printed reflectors are placed over the LED source to alter the light beam. Generally, it is a cost-efficient and easy-to-use solution for lighting fitment. 3D printing reflector prototypes belong to the core activities of Luximprint. We see an ongoing trend in the industry of ‘miniaturization’: lenses and reflectors are getting smaller, thanks to the reduced sizes of the ever more powerful emitters. In addition, lighting get’s ‘integrated’, as such becoming part of the integral architecture. Large format optics, including printed diffusers and printed reflectors, are applied in increased numbers. It perfectly lines up with our actual and near future developments!

Luximprint micro-reflectors are printed with a UV-curable plastic resin and then get cured and alu-coated. Just like conventional processes do, but without the constraints of the costly and time-consuming tooling requirements.

Image of various printed reflector surfaces by Luximprint

Printed Reflectors: Efficient and Multi-Purpose

Used in a variety of lighting and solar applications, 3D printed reflectors belong to the most efficient optics types. Rather than having the functionality in the plastic, like 3D printed optical plastics, 3D printed reflectors have the function at the optical surface itself. Reflectors are limited to only one interaction between light and surface due to the underlying optical principle. Since the light doesn’t have to enter the substrate material first but interacts directly at the surface, coefficients of reflectivity of up to 98% can easily be obtained with sputtered coatings. In order to create such a reflective surface, an extreme surface smoothness would be required. That’s what the Luximprint fabrication process offers you, straight from the 3D printer!

Applications and Use of Printed Reflectors

Nearly all of our 3D printed reflectors find their way in illumination applications: general lighting, automotive lighting, bicycle lighting, street lighting, pocket lights, just to name a few. Given the actual capabilities of our platforms, we focus mainly on 3D printing micro reflectors. Generally, these tiny light sources go very well together with low and midpower LEDs. Primarily, our printed reflectors are used to create inspirational and functional prototypes in a fast and cost-effective way, before moving on to production tooling. As such, we aim to take away the bottle neck in todays design and engineering processes and shorten the development cycle!

Image by Luximprint of 3D printed reflector in circular spot design
Image of defined 3D printed reflective surfaces by Luximprint

Benefits of 3D Printed Reflectors

Luximprint offers a fast, flexible and cost effective way of prototyping reflectors in support of new development and project applications. The main benefits or 3D printed reflectors include, amongst others:

• No Upfront Investments: Investments in reflector tooling belong to the past. Additive optics fabrication technology uses a direct CAD-to-Optic fabrication process, with only one step from design to prototype. Thereafter, the parts are sputtered with vapor deposition processes;
• Manufacturing Speed: Compared to traditional fabrication technologies , the Luximprint process comes with the speed of jetting based technologies. In a matter of days, parts can be available;
• Easy Design Variations: Get multiple reflector designs for easy ‘trial-and-error’ printed in one shot. Finally, pick out the best performing one and proceed with that version to manufacturing tooling!
• Easy Design Iterations: After testing the initial prototypes, parts can still be optimized and reprinted until a satisfactory quality and performance is reached;
• On Demand Ordering: Order functional reflector prototypes in exact quantities as needed and when needed.  This might be interesting for building fast show or customer demonstrators in limited quantities;
• No need for post-processing: Printed reflectors are smooth directly from the 3D printer. On the contrary to conventional fabrication processes, there is no need for post-processing them before they get coated.

Pictuer of Luximprint reflector finishes - high polish and matte

High Polish and Matte Reflectors

Depending on the needs to be served, the surface finish of the printed reflector can be either ‘high polish’ or ‘matte’, in lane with requirements for common reflector parts as available in the industry today.

Picture of 3D printed reflector array by Luximprint

3D Printed Reflector Arrays

Reflectors are fabricated as ‘single items’ or increasingly, as lens array set-ups. Working with lens arrays rather than single lenses is more practical and saves significant assembly time.

Combined Reflectors and Color Lenses

Did you know, by the way, that printed reflectors greatly combine with our printed color lenses? Either as separated parts, or combined? Color resins can easily be combined with our optically clear print resins in order to create tinted lenses. A great new way of creating inspirational and functional demonstrators before ordering your manufacturing tooling!

To discuss the possibilities for your project, please contact us.

Picture of various 3D printed reflectors and color lenses combined