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Thorlabs offers both the S90R wedge scribe and the XL411 suspension cleaver as solutions for easy, manual cleaving of fibers. The S90R ruby-tipped wedge scribe can be used for easy scribing of excess fiber from ferrules in the connectorization process. The XL411 suspension cleaver is an ideal solution for the high-quality, repeatable cleaves needed for fusion splicing of fiber optics. The FTDU provides a simple safe solution for disposing of all cleaved fiber ends. We recommend using such a disposal unit to protect against injuries caused by fiber shards. In addition, Thorlabs offers a variety of complementary products and tools for fiber termination.
The S90R ruby scribe is a very convenient, easy-to-use tool for scoring or cleaving fiber. It is used extensively when connectorizing or polishing fibers. Below is a simple step-by-step description on the most common usages for this ruby scribe. For more detailed information on connectorization or polishing of fibers, please refer to the FN96A connectorization guide.
Scoring is a technique for cleaving a fiber that utilizes the ruby scribe to make a small cut in the fiber (i.e., a score) that becomes a stress point for cleaving. The picture to the right shows a fiber, protruding from a connector, undergoing scoring by a ruby scribe.
To score a fiber, the cutting edge of the scribe must be held perpendicularly to the protruding fiber. Then very lightly score the fiber in the desired location. It will not take a lot of force to score the fiber, and the fiber should not break during scoring. The scribe will only need to gently touch the fiber in order to properly score it for a clean cleave. If the fiber does break during scoring, it may produce a jagged edge that cannot be polished correctly; hence, care must be taken to prevent breakage during scoring.
Once a fiber has been scored, it can be easily cleaved. From the scored side of the fiber, gently squeeze the fiber tip and pull straight away from the rest of the fiber. Avoid bending or flexing the fiber. This should be all the force necessary to create a clean cleave. Multimode fibers may require slightly more force due to their larger core diameter.
Cleaving a fiber is a technique that is very similar to scoring. After preparing a fiber for cleaving, clean the bare fiber using a lint-free wipe moistened with isopropyl alcohol. Once clean, tape one end of the fiber to a bench or work station; leave about 6 mm between the edge of the table and tape. The image to the left shows a fiber cable prepped for cleaving. When using this technique, it helps to secure the free end of the fiber to a support in order to help prevent against breaking the fiber on the edge of the table. Even the weight from a short section of fiber can be enough to cause the fiber to break.
To start the cleave, pull the fiber taut and keep tension in the fiber as you cleave. Bring the scribe towards the fiber, keeping it perpendicular, as shown in the image to the bottom left. It's important to keep the proper amount of pressure on the scribe during this process. If too much pressure is applied to the scribe, the fiber will break, resulting in a jagged end, which may not be able to be polished correctly. Too little pressure and the fiber will not score enough to cleave cleanly. After the fiber has been scored, place a drop of water on the cleave site. Then apply pressure to the taped end of the fiber and, like with the scoring above, pull the fiber straight back until you cleave the fiber (see the image to the bottom right). Try to avoid any bending or flexing of the fiber, as this could affect the cleave.
The end of the fiber may be inspected with an eye loupe or microscope. A good cleave will be flat across the fiber and perpendicular to the optic axis. There should be no 'tag' (i.e., protrusion) from the edge of the fiber. The region where the initial scribe was made may be visible. It should be less than 5% of the core diameter. If the cleave is not acceptable, repeat the cleaving process.
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Thorlabs' Smart Pack Initiative is aimed at waste minimization while still maintaining adequate protection for our products. By eliminating any unnecessary packaging, implementing packaging design changes, and utilizing eco-friendly packaging materials for our customers when possible, this initiative seeks to improve the environmental impact of our product packaging. Products listed above are now shipped in re-engineered packaging that minimizes the weight and the use of non-recyclable materials.b As we move through our product line, we will indicate re-engineered packages with our Smart Pack logo.
This Ruby Fiber Scribe has a 30°, single bevel, ruby blade with a 5.2 mm to 5.5 mm long contact area. The blade is reversible, which doubles the life of the scribe (see below for details). However, replacement blades are not available. The soft, non-slip grip provides precise control during scribing. The scribe is approximately 5" long from end to end. Each scribe comes with a clear safety cap to protect the blade from damage when not in use.
The XL411 Suspension Cleaver has an easy to follow 3-step process that produces consistent 0.5° cleaves. For ease of use, this sequence is clearly indicated on the tool making this an ideal instrument for laboratory or production environments. Unlike rotating cleavers where the blade accesses the fiber from the side, the flat blade of the XL411 cleaves the fiber from the top, which results in the best cleave possible.
The blades on this suspension cleaver last longer than traditional cleavers because the point of contact between the flat, rectangular blade and the fiber can be moved to reduce blade wear, providing up to 1000 cleaves per blade. In addition, the precision mechanical design of the XL411 allows the blade to be replaced quickly and precisely in any location.
The FTDU offers a safe solution for disposal of cleaved fiber ends, epoxy and syringes, and other sharp objects. This high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle features a translucent lid with one circular and one rectangular hole in it (see the photo to the right). Both of these holes have individual covers that snap closed to keep the contents inside the unit. Tabs on the side of the lid hold the covers open for hands-free use. The two hole covers are connected by a plastic tab. Cut, or pull, the covers apart to use the holes separately.
To use, insert sharps into one of the holes in the lid. Do not remove the lid itself from the unit. Use the "Contents" space on the label to clearly indicate what is inside. To protect against spills, keep the holes covered when not inserting sharps. When it is full, securely cover both holes in the lid by inserting the tab on the cover into the slot in the lid and dispose of the canister according to the contents. Do not fill the sharps container past the indicated "Full" line on the label. Do not reuse this unit; it is a one-time-use container only.