Rapid Prototyping Custom Optics in a Fast, Flexible and Cost-Efficient Way

Luximprint offers ‘Manufacturing-as-a-Service’ (M-a-a-S) by sharing its networked additive optics manufacturing infrastructure to produce rapid prototypes with designers and engineers in search for fast optics solutions. Meanwhile, additive optics manufacturing has moved beyond its rapid prototyping roots and has become a viable manufacturing option for running small start-up series in different market spaces as well. Increasingly, it also impacts the way our users design and bring new products to market ­by shortening lead times and reducing tooling costs. Discover how rapid optics prototyping can support you in your work!

Custom Optics Manufacturing as a Service

Luximprint manufacturing services are creating a global infrastructure for direct digital manufacturing that allows to produce optical plastics wherever, whenever, and in whatever quantity they are needed (no MOQ) with zero investment in physical manufacturing infrastructure, such as tooling and inventory. In fact, stock is digital and products can ordered ‘on-demand’.

On the contrary to loosing time and money in advance, our users can instead focus their resources on innovating new products, increase sales, and solidify their brands, while we keep up optimizing the process by inventing new hardware, software and material capabilities at our end. From our facilities in Wemeldinge, The Netherlands, our products are distributed around the globe in days.

Image showing optics prototyping results including a printed TIR collimator lens and a lens array

Rapid Prototyping of Custom Optics enables the creation of a great variety of optics types for functional and inspirational use.

Rapid Prototyping Services for Functional and Inspirational Use

Luximprint optical 3D printing services can be used for the creation of inspirational- and functional product demonstrators, and for simulation and tooling validation in lighting applications. Next to custom optics prototyping, we run also small / start-up series for show demonstrators or temporary project installations or, depending on the market conditions and requirements, niche market applications.

Fast Prototyping for LED Optics

Our standard lead times are typically ranging from 8-10 business days, faster deliveries are possible when using our ‘Expedite Prototyping Service’. When you need last-minute samples for events, functional demonstrators or have to convince your product marketing team or customer, having the bits and masterpieces in place is crucial. We understand that position, including the stress and ‘need-for-speed’ evolving from it. Rapid optics prototyping is there, and we are here to help you out!

Enhanced Flexibility: Iterative Design Processing

In addition, we greatly stimulate iterative design processing: trial and error with various options until the best solution is defined. In addition to your ‘Masterpiece‘ (initial prototype), additional parts can easily be generated. As the NRE-cost are absorbed by the initial master, multiple duplicates can easily be ordered along with it at cost-effective rates. Duplicates may include either ‘Exact Copies‘ or ‘Product Variations‘: Variations on the masterpiece that are almost the same, but slightly differ in shape, size, or complexity.

If no appropriate solution can be determined during the initial prototyping round, we offer the possibility to order ‘Product Iterations‘: design changes on the initial masterpiece or its variations. The great flexibility of the process differs from conventional fabrication technologies such as injection molding whereby, in most cases, expensive (soft) tooling is needed to master your prototypes. As no tooling is involved here, design freedom is extended to an unprecended level!

Image showing a variety of printed optics to demonstrate the ease of creating product variations during the Optics Prototyping stages.

A variety of products can be produced in one single job what makes Iterative Design Processing of optics more interesting than ever before!

Printed Optics: Affordable and Cost-Effective

With zero need for upfront investments in tooling and inventory, an important bottleneck in optics development is eliminated. Along with other benefits that evolve from the additive optics fabrication process, such as manufacturing speed and digitization, we are able to provide functional optical plastics in a fast, flexible and cost-effective way. Prices for initial masterpieces range from ‘hundreds of Euros’ to ‘thousands of Euros’, very much depending on the size, volume and definition of the part. As explained above, additional duplicates can be ordered along with the masterpiece at very attractive rates, what makes the overall package very interesting.

Additive Optics Fabrication: Cheap or Expensive?

Well, the answer is straight and simple: we’re moderate! Professionals with a 3D printing background generally consider us as ‘more expensive’ as they are used to ‘conventional’ 3D printing technologies such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) or Stereolithography (SLS) for fabricating their parts. They might be used to work in ranges of ‘tens of Euros’ to ‘hundreds of Euro’s for a part in the same dimensions. However, they forget about one crucial difference: on the contrary to ‘clear plastics’ (with zero optical performance) where only shape is counting (build time/material volume), printed optics do offer ‘functionality’ and ‘performance’. From that perspective, totally other definitions, complexities and materials come to the scene.

As we move on to the optics profession, engineers and designers DO understand what optical performance includes. There are used to work with engineering budgets that supersede the 3D printing perception and get ‘frustrated’ about the significant budgets needed and money losses related to (soft) tooling investments or the design limitations of machining and diamond turning technologies. Here, we’re considered as ‘cheap’…!

In the end, additive optics manufacturing offers ‘optical performance at the speed and benefits of 3D printing’. We’re different, and our users are different, and the applications are different. We find it most important to satisfy our users, whereby a matching solution is key and the full mix of products and services is well-balanced. We fairly claim that there is no more affordable, fast and flexible way of getting your functional optical components approved from your simulations, except via Luximprint!

It’s Time for Printed Optics!

Optics Prototyping has never been so easy! For our users in multiple markets, we’ve created a great variety of products including lens arrays, fresnel lenses, micro lenses, collimator lenses, linear prisms, light guides, among many other optics types and helped them turn their ideas into practice!

Not convinced yet? See below some work that we did for others, or refer to our optical plastics product pages. And please, don’t be afraid to talk back to one of our technical sales members, or feel free to order your reference samples at our sample shop to convince yourself or your boss!