Laser-cut glass is one of those tools in the engineering arsenal that can be used for countless applications. Whether that’s precisely etched crosshairs on a rifle scope or fabricated glass components for medical devices, the laser-imaged patterns need to be incredibly precise. We’re detailing our laser cutting services, including machine tech, process, and precision.
Laser-Cut Glass Requires Detailed Precision
Over the years, we’ve worked with dozens of clients needing laser-cut glass to integrate into their instruments and tools for precision measuring, targeting, and aiming. We rely on cutting-edge laser technology to achieve the detailed precision needed for optimal performance. But first, we must have an acute understanding of glass’s properties and limitations.
Laser-cutting glass relies on meeting the coefficient of thermal expansion. Most types of glass meet the minimum requirement necessary, but understanding the thermal-mechanical stress (plus splitting speed and fracture depth), means we can guarantee the highest quality product. The benefits of using a tool like a laser versus mechanical glass cutting include:
Non-contact cutting: For intricate components using glass, cracks on the surface negatively impact performance. Non-contact cutting eliminates this worry.
Flexibility: Investing in a technologically advanced laser cutting process means we have better control, automation, and flexibility within a project.
Complex patterns: With the right laser machining, we can achieve sets of patterns like intricate crosshairs on reticles.
Accuracy and precision: Because the process is automated, we have fewer issues of user error from manual intervention, ultimately resulting in a higher quality product.
Photo Solutions’ Vision Recognition Technology
Fine details require cutting-edge technology. At Photo Solutions, we use vision recognition laser equipment to micromachine high-tolerance parts to imaged parts for accurate pattern-to-part outlines.
Vision recognition technology generally uses a camera to automate quality control during the laser cutting process, making the machines more accurate and efficient. What was traditionally a manual service has now become an automated process that uses computers to compensate for rotation and distortion while imaging intricate patterns onto glass and other materials. With high tolerance laser machining on customer-provided materials, we can accurately cut holes, slots, and outlines of parts to features using our vision recognition technology.
With this machining—and our overall laser cutting system—we can achieve greater flexibility, precision, repeatability, speed, and automation. These each contribute to the highest quality precision laser cutting services we can offer our customers.
Laser Cut Glass Applications and Use Cases
Although laser-cut glass is one of the many materials we can image, its applications and use cases are far-reaching, with implications for robotics, medicine, and beyond.
Laser-Cut Masks for Electron Microscopy
Correlative light electron microscopy (CLEM) uses customized patterns on glass substrates to observe living cells in nanometer resolution. This process uses patterned glass coverslips (cut with lasers) for higher magnification and observance under optimal conditions.
Glass Micro-Sheet Optics for Hard X-Ray Telescopes
Advancements in astrophysics have changed the way scientists can observe space. For example, hard x-rays allow for more focused observances that use “thermally-formed micro-sheet optics.” For these and other telescopes, laser-cut glass and its focal plane placement are crucial for accurate measurement.
Reticles for Scopes, Microscopes, and Telescopes
The thin patterns and lines on reticles make precise measurement possible for rifle scopes. The laser-cut glass combined with the particular focal plane placement allows for multiple crosshair variations and complex aiming and measuring. Optimal accuracy can be achieved by using the laser cutting and microlithography process instead of traditional wires or other materials to achieve these patterns.
Our Laser Cutting Process
We know your productivity is only as good as our process, which is why we keep our services streamlined and transparent. For laser-cut glass and other laser-cutting projects, our process is as follows:
- The customer provides the drawings or files
- We review the drawings and provide a quote
- The customer provides or we source the material (typically glass, Mylar, or aluminum)
- We turn around the finished laser-cutting project in an average of two to three weeks
- We ship the material back to the customer
We can also laminate material with PSA and tabbed protective liners for “peel and stick” applications if necessary. No matter the scale of your project, we pride ourselves on using only the highest quality materials and the latest industry practices.
Precision You Can Trust
When you need an imaged pattern on an optical component, you need precision down to the smallest detail. The high-quality machining we used (and outlined above) allows us to hold tight tolerance from panel outlines and cutouts to imaged features. For glass components, we can cut .150 to 6mm thick and 200mm x 200mm maximum in size.
Our service range—from glass cutting and engraving to small precision parts on plastics—makes the Photo Solutions difference.
Laser-Cut Glass and More With Photo Solutions
Whether your project needs include laser-cut glass, custom optical components, or precision micromachining, our team is well-versed in industry best practices. With our vision recognition technology, we can turn around precision photonic engineering promptly and to the highest standards. Ready to get started on your next project?