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How to print a simple bi-convex lens shape - not for optics?

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Hi all,

I'd like to experiment with printing a simple bi-convex lens shape, something like an old-style magnifying glass or loupe on my UM2+. Transparency and optical qualities are not required. So it will be thick in the middle, tapering to thin on the outer edge.

[media=71309][/media]

I want use PLA to print the finish as smooth as possible, but will probably have to do some post-print sanding and polishing. Diameter will be about 4 to 5cm, max thickness about 1 to 1.5 cm.

My question is: would such a model be best printed flat on the build plate and on top of a raft.? I'm thinking of making it solid PLA. I haven't messed with rafts before.

Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you!

Edited by Guest

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I think by far the simplest method is like ahoeben says, but then you are going to have quite visible layer-steps, like stairs, especially in the center.

If you want less visible steps, maybe printing it vertical might be an option? But then you would need to design a sort of support beam structure around it, for good adhesion to the glass and for stability. If your printer has no Z-axis issues, this should give a smoother surface and require less post processing, I think. Of course the support needs to be cut off afterwards.

Would be interesting to compare both methods.

lens_vertical1b.thumb.jpg.480bc4793d1e7fa5c4d8f17f336a7825.jpg

lens_vertical1b.thumb.jpg.480bc4793d1e7fa5c4d8f17f336a7825.jpg

Edited by Guest

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I did not specify which axis to split the lens on. If you split the lens so you have a circle as the ground plane, then you are going to get fresnel-lens-like steps on the lens. But it you split the lens along the other orthogonal axis, you get a fairly smooth result (and a smaller contact area to smooth out after gluing)

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