Traditionally, engineers who needed to add information concerning an optomechanical component into a computer-aided-design (CAD) program have had to look at mechanical drawings, at plan drawings in the catalog or on the web, or actually have a physical part in front of them so that they could measure it, take it apart, and measure again for internal part dimensions. They would then have to enter the data into their CAD program as if they were designing the piece from scratch. This approach has begun to change, however.
In December, Newport (Irvine, CA) announced online access to a library of two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) CAD models for its optomechanical components and certain motorized and manual positioning stages. Consequently, users are now able to download files representing more than 900 different positioners, mounts, and other optomechanical products from the company's web site and then use them directly in virtually all popular CAD, computer-aided-engineering, and solid-modeling programs, according to David Rossi, Newport marketing director, who described the online library as a first in the photonics industry. An online viewer allows users to examine rendered 3-D models through their browsers and to rotate, zoom, and pan using mouse movements.1
In addition to providing exact component dimensions directly into a design program, the online library also includes dimensions for all internal components. For instance, if a library user zooms in past the surface of a translation stage, the user would find himself virtually inside the component, looking at bearings and other internal workings.
Rossi noted that the large number of downloads that have already occurred indicates that the service is filling a strong need in the mechanical-design community.