Optical Prototype Machining

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Optical Products Manufacturing Technology

In general, there are several manufacturing processes for optical products: CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting, and injection molding.

CNC Machining

Some customers usually need to make transparent hand plate models, and PMMA and PC are required to make transparent effects, both of which are commonly used transparent materials in the hand plate industry.

optical prototype machining

PMMA has excellent light transmittance, penetrating 99% of light and 73.5% of ULTRAVIOLET light.

High mechanical strength;

Good heat resistance, cold resistance and weather resistance;

Good corrosion resistance and insulation;

Under certain conditions, the size is stable and easy to process.

PC colorless transparent, heat resistant, impact-resistant, flame-retardant BI grade, in common use temperature have good mechanical properties.

PMMA needs to be polished and polished to achieve a very transparent effect, and THE PC material needs to be fumigated to achieve a better transparent effect.

Can 3D Printing Print Transparent Hand Panels?

The surface of the 3D printed model is rough, and if you want to make a fully transparent model, you need to go through two steps.

Step 1: The semi-transparent model is obtained by 3D printing.

Step 2: Polish and polish the printed translucent model to make it smooth and transparent.

Vacuum Casting

The duplicate mold is a kind of hand plate processing method. The hand plate model plays a key role in the product research and development stage to verify whether there is any problem in the product design. It is mainly used for making small batches of hand plates with the advantages of fast time, low cost, and excellent market competitive advantage.

optical prototype-vacuum casting

Make the urethane resin Axson-PX 5210 and Axson-PX 527 of the duplicate mold hand plate.

The important point is that the master patterns needs to be polished so that the duplicate parts can be highly transparent.

After two steps, if you spray a layer of varnish, the transparency effect will be even better.

Note for printing a transparent hand pad.

Injection Molding

At present, the general use of transparent plastic on the market is polymethacrylate (commonly known as the secondary or plexiglass, code PMMA), polycarbonate (code PC).

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), transparent nylon.

AS (acrylic-styrene copolymer), polysulfone (code PSF), etc., among which PMMA is the one we are most exposed to.

There are three kinds of plastic, PC and PET.

Transparent plastic must have high diaphaneity above all, want to have a certain intensity and wear resistance next, can resist impact, the heat-resisting piece is close friends, chemical resistance wants optimal, bibulous rate wants small, only in such ability is used, can satisfy the requirement of diaphaneity and changeless for a long time.

Can be compared to PC is a more ideal choice, but the main price of raw materials and injection molding process is difficult, so still to choose PMMA mainly, (to the general requirements of the products), and PPT because to get good mechanical performance through stretching, so more in the use of packaging, containers.

Optical Prototype Post-Finish

Mirror Polish for Acrylic (PMMA)

optical prototype machining-mirror polish

Acrylic can be polished and polished to make the surface glossy again. The specific steps are as follows.

  1. Wrap the protective film on the freshly processed acrylic surface to prevent the surface from being scratched.

Although scratches can be removed, the overall effect will be affected. Therefore, if there is no protective paper on the acrylic surface, the surface that does not need polishing must be protected first.

  1. First, polish the cutting marks with 400#sandpaper and then replace it with  600#sandpaper.
  2. After polishing the surface with 600#sandpaper, there will be no obvious concave and convex feeling when I touch the surface with my hands, but I can see some lines and grinding marks with my eyes. At this time, I will change to 800# sandpaper for fine grinding, 1000#, 1500#and finally 2000#.
  3. After 2000# sandpaper, you can see that there is no trace of polishing on the grinding surface. The surface is smooth, but it lacks luster.

At this time you can on the polishing machine, after starting the polishing machine first wax the polishing wheel, and then the acrylic grinding surface light polishing wheel, slowly move.

From time to time have to stop to check the polishing results, if there are small pits or scratches on the acrylic, that is not enough grinding, you can polish the unqualified place separately.

Vapor Polishing for Polycarbonate (PC)

optical prototype machining-vapor polishThe PC Vapor polishing premise step is the same as the acrylic polishing process, which needs to be polished from 400# to 2000# sandpaper so that the grinding surface is complete without any trace of polishing and the surface is smooth.

At this time the fumigation method is used to make the parts transparent and shiny.

Vapor polishing requires a specific solution containing dichloromethane.

The solution is boiled in the container and the boiling liquid is sublimated. The fumigation surface of the parts is prevented from being on the steam. The steam is used to fumigate the parts transparently.

A brief overview of a wide range of industry application

Transparent materials are widely used, and all kinds of objects in modern life are very common.

Display lenses for mobile phones, transparent boxes for storing clothes, electronic casings, wind tunnel tests, car parts casings;

Concept models in industrial fields such as school education, automobile research and development, medical model, toy design, consumer electronics, and production of functional components.

Example of Automotive Lighting Application

Excellent optical performance, light transmittance up to 90%-92%, refractive index 1.49, good weather resistance, high surface hardness, and excellent comprehensive performance, mainly used for optical transparent products.

Light guide material for taillight exterior mirror and interior ambient light.

PC is very wide in the application of headlights, it is understood that PC plastic in the headlights in the plastic materials accounted for 50% or so.

In headlights, PC is mainly used in headlights and fog lamps lens and external light matching mirror.

PC plastic has excellent impact and transparency, good mechanical properties, and electrical insulation properties, wide use temperature, high dimensional stability, high creep resistance.

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