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Article
Open-Source 3D-Printable Optics Equipment
Department of Materials Science and Engineering Publications
  • Chenlong Zhang, Michigan Technological University
  • Nicholas C. Anzalone, Michigan Technological University
  • Rodrigo P. Faria, Michigan Technological University
  • Joshua M. Pearce, Michigan Technological University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
3-27-2013
Abstract
Just as the power of the open-source design paradigm has driven down the cost of software to the point that it is accessible to most people, the rise of open-source hardware is poised to drive down the cost of doing experimental science to expand access to everyone. To assist in this aim, this paper introduces a library of open-source 3-D-printable optics components. This library operates as a flexible, low-cost public-domain tool set for developing both research and teaching optics hardware. First, the use of parametric open-source designs using an open-source computer aided design package is described to customize the optics hardware for any application. Second, details are provided on the use of open-source 3-D printers (additive layer manufacturing) to fabricate the primary mechanical components, which are then combined to construct complex optics-related devices. Third, the use of the open-source electronics prototyping platform are illustrated as control for optical experimental apparatuses. This study demonstrates an open-source optical library, which significantly reduces the costs associated with much optical equipment, while also enabling relatively easily adapted customizable designs. The cost reductions in general are over 97%, with some components representing only 1% of the current commercial investment for optical products of similar function. The results of this study make its clear that this method of scientific hardware development enables a much broader audience to participate in optical experimentation both as research and teaching platforms than previous proprietary methods.
Publisher's Statement

© 2013 Zhang et al. Deposited here in compliance with publisher policies. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059840

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Publisher's PDF
Citation Information
Zhang, Chenlong, Anzalone, Nicholas C., Faria, Rodrigo. P., & Pearce, Joshua M. (2013). Open-Source 3D-Printable Optics Equipment. Plos One, 8(3). http://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/materials_fp/17