Steve Burns, Steve Jacobs, and John Lambropoulos
In this project, we aim to develop a protocol for the CAD design, 3-D printing, and metrology of optical freeform surfaces. The main attraction of 3-D printing is that it is very inexpensive, and requires significantly less expensive facilities. Another attraction is that 3-D printing represents additive manufacturing, in contrast to the more traditional subtractive manufacturing by grinding, finishing, and polishing. One of our research goals is to determine how to optimize the 3-D printing process, given that 3-D print pixel size is of order 30 µm. Another goal is to determine how a thin reflective coating (for example, Au) can be used to create a reflective freeform surface. A starting point in our project is the design, 3-D printing, and metrology of trefoils. Our current work (Spring 2014) is done by a team of senior undergraduates in the Mechanical Engineering Department, as part of an advanced mechanical design class.