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The Cage Assembly System provides a convenient way to construct large optomechanical systems using an established line of precision-machined building blocks that were designed for high flexibility and accurate alignment. See the Cage Overview tab for a full definition of this widely adapted construction standard.
The 16 mm cage plates are a family of construction blocks ideally suited for assembling optical systems based upon Ø1/2" optical components. Each cage plate contains four corner-located, Ø4 mm through-holes with a center-to-center spacing of 16 mm. These holes are machined for a precision slip fit with mating cage rods and provide side-accessible locking screws that fasten the plate to their mating assembly rods for positioning.
Cage System Compatibility: Thorlabs offers 16 mm, 30 mm, and 60 mm cage systems designed for Ø1/2", Ø1", and Ø2" optical components, respectively. The parts on this page are compatible with our 16 mm cage system and utilize Ø4 mm SR cage rods.
An example of the standard cage
plate measurements determining
cage system compatibility.
Cage System Overview
The Cage Assembly System provides a convenient way to construct large optomechanical systems with an established line of precision-machined building blocks designed for high flexibility and accurate alignment.
16 mm, 30 mm, and 60 mm Cage System Standards
Thorlabs offers three standards defined by the center-to-center spacing of the cage assembly rods (see image to right). The 16 mm cage, 30 mm cage, and 60 mm cage standards are designed to accomodate Ø1/2", Ø1", and Ø2" optics, respectively. Specialized cage plates that allow smaller optics to be directly inserted into our larger cage systems are also available. All locking setscrews used in these cage plates are standard 4-40 setscrews, which use a 0.05" hex key.
The flexibility of our Cage Assembly System stems from well-defined mounting and thread standards designed to directly interface with a wide range of specialized products. The three most prevalent thread standards are our SM05 Series (0.535"-40 thread), SM1 Series (1.035"-40 thread), and SM2 Series (2.035"-40 thread), all of which were defined to house the industry's most common optic sizes. Essential building blocks, such as our popular lens tubes, directly interface to these standards.
The SP Series of cage plates for 16 mm systems are ideally suited for assembling optical systems that are based upon Ø1/2" optical components. Each cage plate contains four through-holes, which are located at the corners. These holes are machined for a precision slip fit with SR cage rods and are fastened using locking 4-40 setscrews (tighten with a 0.05" hex key) located on the side of the plate.
This SM05-Threaded Cage Plate is designed for use with our compact 16 mm cage assembly system. It features four through-holes that accept Ø4 mm SR Series cage rods. Each cage rod through hole is accompanied by a side-located locking 4-40 setscrew, which can be secured using a 0.05" hex key (Item # HK050). In addition, 3-48 cap screws are included for bolting it onto the SC6W six-way cage cube. One SM05RR retaining ring is included.
The SP03 has a 16mm clear aperture for mounting of optical element into our compact, 16mm cage system. Each cage rod through hole is accompanied by a side-located locking 4-40 setscrew, which can be secured using a 0.05" hex key. A 4-40 and an M3 tapped mounting hole are featured on opposite sides. This plate is designed to hold prism mounts and beamsplitter mounts.
The QRC05A cage mount is equipped with a unique spring-loaded dovetail design used to engage cage rods for positioning. By simply squeezing the dovetails together via the cupped actuator levers, the dovetail mechanism disengages the cage rods, allowing the mount to be either quickly repositioned or completely removed from a cage assembly. This convenient one-handed mechanism does not require any additional tools to actuate the clamping mechanism.
The SCPA1 alignment plate provides a convenient tool for aligning 16 mm cage-based optical systems. This drop-in plate locates a Ø1mm through-hole at the exact center of a cage assembly, providing a convenient visual target to assist in beam alignment.
The 16 mm Slip Plate Positioner is designed to provide coarse XY positioning of optical components within our cage assembly system. This design provides manual adjustment only and is best utilized in conjunction with an alignment laser to monitor centricity. The movable carriage is internally SM05-threaded and compatible with our Ø1/2" lens tubes, which can be used to hold Ø1/2" optics. Each cage rod through hole is accompanied by a side-located locking 4-40 setscrew, which can be secured using a 0.05" hex key (Item # HK050).