Rapid Prototyping Light Guides with Additive Optics Manufacturing

From where we work and live, the places we visit and the vehicles we drive in, LED lighting is replacing traditional light sources in a diversity of indoor and outdoor markets at speed. Along with this transformation to very tiny and pointed LED light sources, however, new challenges in optics design and development appear when it comes to effective and uniform transportation of light. Light Guides are the answer!

Picture showing a quick and dirty image of a 3D printed light guide flower transporting red and green light

Light Guides – A Gentle Introduction

Modern light guides are used for the transportation of light pulses from a PCB mounted LED light source via a particular ‘route’ to a defined light-emitting surface, with minimal loss and blurring effects. They generally offer the electronics developer cost-effective, space-saving and easy-to-mount solutions with high electrostatic discharge protection.

Types and Applications of Light Guides

Light guides are the preferred optics types to have a scenario where light either travels from A to B in a controlled manner and finally gets coupled out through a small surface, or light is coupled out in a controlled, random or uniform way over a large surface.

Image of 3D printed light guides pattern showing a cowboy contour

Examples of the first category can be found in automotive lighting applications and electronics, while the latter category is more applicable for large format displays and backlights that require the same amount of light intensity over a large surface (not to confuse with printed diffusers whereby light is emitted rather ‘uncontrolled’ or ‘selectively’, or sheets of micro lenses).

Rapid Prototyping of Light Guides

At Luximprint, we support companies in bringing their next generation light guides to market by prototyping their product designs in a fast, flexible and cost-effective way. This may include fabrication of functional prototypes, as well as running (small) start-up volumes. Thereafter, they may switch to large format tooling, or simply end the project as there are no further quantities waiting.

Image of a large format light guide as 3D printed for a display application

Large Format Light Guiding Plates

Thanks to the large-format capabilities of the Luximprint 3D print platforms, light guiding plates can be build to more extreme sizes than any other process in this field, what makes the process very suitable to process light guiding plates in any kind of shape and base material!

Want to discover our services? Or just curious about what we can achieve together? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!