Optics manufacturing & prototyping

Reduce lead times by switching from stock optics to custom polymer optics

By 14 August 2020 No Comments
stock lenses

Stock optics seem to be your best bet if you want optics fast. However, there are other ways in order to get your optics not only on time, but also on spec. In this article we will discuss the pros and cons of stock optics versus custom polymer optics. After reading this article you will have found out if making the switch to custom optics is the right choice for your project.

Why choose stock optics?

There is a huge advantage in being the first to market. Using stock optics has been one of the best methods for staying ahead of the competition. In addition to the speed benefit that stock optics provide, they are also less expensive than most custom optics.

Tooling and nonrecurring engineering (NRE) charges, associated with custom optics, are completely eliminated. Resulting in cost-effective pricing, even for small quantities. This could make stock optics a good fit for prototyping.

However, Off-the-Shelf optics do have some downsides: there is no design freedom and you are limited by the stock optics’ properties. In order to save costs and get an optic that (better) suits your needs you could modify stock optics. In order to modify stock optics there are a couple of steps: grinding, polishing, and edging. These steps will need to be performed for each side of the optic.

Unfortunately, modifying stock optics does not offer a huge amount of design freedom. Modifying stock optics also takes a lot of time, up to 3 weeks. For some projects that will be okay, for other projects you will need to have your optics a lot faster.

Advantages of stock optics

  • No tooling costs
  • Cost-effective pricing for small quantities
  • Short lead times

Disadvantages of stock optics

  • No design freedom
  • Modifying stock optics still takes a lot of time
  • Modifying stock optics limits design freedom

What is the alternative?

Your business may have relied on stock optics or modified stock optics for many projects. However, you could switch to custom optics that better match your needs and have your optics delivered to you faster.

We specialize in prototyping and batch production of custom optics. With our unique approach you are able to have you custom optics in a matter of days.

Every optic we manufacture is custom made. As such most of the usual design limits are gone. You can incorporate aspherical, or even freeform surfaces in your optic, without having to spend a lot on tooling.

Due to our process we are able to do fast and cost-effective work. This makes Addoptics the ideal partner for prototyping and batch production of your polymer optics. Our unique manufacturing process is the ideal fit for your optics project.

Advantages of custom polymer optics

  • Full design freedom
  • No high investments for tooling required
  • Short lead times (couple of days!)
  • No MOQ

Disadvantages of custom polymer optics

  • Switching to a new way of working might take some time adjusting, luckily we’re here to help!

Design with stock optics or switch to custom optics?

If you would like to work with Addoptics and have your optics manufactured within a couple of days, please feel free to reach out to us so we can discuss your project. Request your sample and experience the quality of our optics.


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