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Standard 60 mm Cage Plates
The Cage Assembly System provides a convenient way to construct large optomechanical systems using an established line of precision-machined building blocks designed for high flexibility and accurate alignment. See the Cage Overview tab for a full definition of this widely adaptable construction standard.
The 60 mm cage plates are a family of construction blocks ideally suited for assembling optical systems using Ø2" and Ø30 mm optical components. Each cage plate contains four corner-located, Ø6 mm through holes with a center-to-center spacing of 60 mm. These holes are machined for a precision slip fit with mating Ø6 mm ER cage rods and provide side-accessible locking screws that secure the plate to the rods after positioning. Additional quick-release cage plates for the 60 mm cage system are also available for applications that require elements to be inserted or removed from closed off cage structures.
Cage System Compatibility: Thorlabs offers 16 mm, 30 mm, and 60 mm cage systems designed for Ø1/2", Ø1", Ø30 mm, and Ø2" optical components, respectively. The parts on this page are compatible with our 60 mm cage system and utilize Ø6 mm ER cage rods.
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 below). 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.
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.
An example of the standard cage plate measurements determining cage system compatibility.
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This photo shows the male D1N dovetail on the trinoculars next to the female D1N dovetail on the epi-illumination arm.
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This photo shows the male 95 mm dovetail on the microscope body and the female 95 mm dovetail on the CSA1002 Fixed Arm.
Introduction to Microscope Dovetails
Dovetails are used for mechanical mating and optical port alignment of microscope components. Components are connected by inserting one dovetail into another, then tightening one or more locking setscrews on the female dovetail. Dovetails come in two shapes: linear and circular. Linear dovetails allow the mating components to slide before being locked down, providing flexible positioning options while limiting unneeded degrees of freedom. Circular dovetails align optical ports on different components, maintaining a single optical axis with minimal user intervention.
Thorlabs manufactures many components which use dovetails to mate with our own components or those of other manufacturers. To make it easier to identify dovetail compatibility, we have developed a set of dovetail designations. The naming convention of these designations is used only by Thorlabs and not other microscope manufacturers. The table to the right lists all the dovetails Thorlabs makes, along with their key dimensions.
In the case of Thorlabs’ Cerna® microscopes, different dovetail types are used on different sections of the microscope to ensure that only compatible components can be mated. For example, our WFA2002 Epi-Illuminator Module has a male D1N dovetail that mates with the female D1N dovetail on the microscope body's epi-illumination arm, while the CSS2001 XY Microscopy Stage has a female D1Y dovetail that mates with the male D1Y dovetail on the CSA1051 Mounting Arm.
To learn which dovetail type(s) are on a particular component, consult its mechanical drawing, available by clicking on the red Docs icon () below. For adapters with a female dovetail, the drawing also indicates the size of the hex key needed for the locking setscrew(s). It is important to note that mechanical compatibility does not ensure optical compatibility. Information on optical compatibility is available from Thorlabs' web presentations.
For customers interested in machining their own dovetails, the table to the right gives the outer diameter and angle (as defined by the drawings below) of each Thorlabs dovetail designation. However, the dovetail's height must be determined by the user, and for circular dovetails, the user must also determine the inner diameter and bore diameter. These quantities can vary for dovetails of the same type. One can use the intended mating part to verify compatibility.
In order to reduce wear and simplify connections, dovetails are often machined with chamfers, recesses, and other mechanical features. Some examples of these variations are shown by the drawings below.
The LCP01(/M) SM2-Threaded Cage Plate is among our most popular 60 mm cage plates. It provides a center-located SM2 (2.035"-40) threaded bore that accepts a Ø2" optic up to 0.35" (8.9 mm) thick. Two SM2RR retaining rings, providing a Ø1.90" clear aperture, are included to hold an optic within the cage plate. The cage rod through holes have side-located locking 4-40 setscrews for securing the position of the LCP01(/M) within the cage; use a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key to lock them in place. For additional convenience, an 8-32 (M4) tapped hole is provided for post mounting and OEM-mounting applications. As shown in the family image at the top of the page, the LCP01/M has a small dimple to indicate that it is a metric part.
The LCP01T(/M) 0.9" Thick Cage Plate is designed for cage mounting of Thorlabs' thickest Ø2" optics. The center-located SM2-threaded (2.035"-40) bore is designed to hold optics up to 0.70" (17.8 mm) thick. Two SM2RR retaining rings, providing a Ø1.90" clear aperture, are included to hold an optic within the cage plate. The cage rod through holes have side-located locking 4-40 setscrews for securing the position of the LCP01T(/M) within the cage; use a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key to lock them in place. Additionally, an 8-32 (M4) tapped hole is provided for post-mounting applications. Like the LCP01/M, the LCP01T/M has a small dimple to indicate that it is a metric part (see the image at the top of the page).
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View of the Flexure Clamping Mechanism
The LCP08(/M) Cage Plate with Enhanced Clamping improves upon the popular LCP01(/M) design, providing the same center-located SM2-threaded (2.035"-40) bore and 8-32 (M4) mounting hole, but offering a more stable flexure clamping mechanism for our standard ER rods. Four cap screws, each with a 5/64" (2.0 mm) hex, activate the flexure clamp, which increases the surface area in contact with the ER rods. The center-threaded bore of the LCP08(/M) can directly accept a Ø2" optic up to 0.35" (8.9 mm) thick. One SM2RR retaining ring is included, providing a Ø1.90" clear aperture; for direct mounting of optics, a second SM2RR must be purchased. Thicker optics may be mounted in an SM2 Lens Tube, which can be threaded onto the cage plate. As with the LCP01/M shown at the top of the page, the LCP08/M also features a small dimple indicating it is a metric part.
The LCP11(/M) Cage Plate provides cage mounting of Ø2" optics along with SM2-threaded components. It features an internally SM2-threaded (2.035"-40) bore on one side with an externally SM2-threaded bore on the other side, providing a clear aperture of Ø1.75". One SM2RR retaining ring is provided and can be used to secure an optic against the internal lip of the cage plate; thicker retaining rings are available for high-curvature lenses. The cage rod through holes have side-located locking 8-32 setscrews, each with a 5/64" (2 mm) hex, for securing the position of the LCP11(/M) within the cage system. Additionally, an 8-32 (M4) tapped hole is provided for post-mounting applications. As with the LCP01/M shown at the top of the page, the LCP11/M also features a small dimple indicating it is a metric part.
The LCP6S and LCP8S Cage Plates provide cage mounting of Ø2" optics along with SM2-threaded components. At 6 mm and 8 mm thick, they have a thinner profile than most other 60 mm cage plates we offer. Each plate has a center-located, SM2-threaded bore that is compatible with our SM2-threaded optomechanical components. One SM2RR retaining ring is provided for the LCP6S and can be used to secure an optic against the internal lip of the cage plate. The SM2RR retaining ring has a clear aperture of Ø1.90" (Ø48.5 mm) and a thickness of 0.1" (2.5 mm). The LCP8S has threads that go all the way through the part for an 8 mm thread depth. Retaining rings are not included with the LCP8S, but may be purchased separately. The thinness of these plates allows the close spacing of optical components within a cage system. The cage rod through holes have side-located locking M4 setscrews, which can be secured using a 5/64" (2.0 mm) hex key. Unlike the LCP01(/M) and the LCP01T(/M) sold above, these cage plates do not offer a tapped hole for post mounting.
The LCP06(/M) Cage Plate features a Ø2.00" double bore which centers the optic. A nylon-tipped locking setscrew provides a third point of contact and secures optics at least 0.27" (6.9 mm) thick. Each cage rod through hole includes a side-located 4-40 locking setscrew (compatible with a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key) for securing the position of the LCP06(/M) within a 60 mm cage system. For additional convenience, an 8-32 (M4) tapped hole is provided for post mounting and OEM mounting applications. As with the LCP01/M shown at the top of the page, the LCP06/M also features a small dimple indicating it is a metric part.
The LCP09 Cage Plate is designed to allow our SM2 lens tubes to slide into the cage plate and be locked in position with a nylon-tipped setscrew. This cage plate is ideal for situations where it is not desirable to thread the lens tube into one of our threaded cage plates. A double-bore design gives three points of contact for stable and secure mounting. Each cage rod through hole is accompanied by two side-located locking 4-40 setscrew, which can be secured using a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key.
Please note that this plate does not feature a tapped mounting hole, unlike many of our other cage plates. Due to the bore size, there would be interference between the threaded stud on our Ø1/2" posts and the clear aperture of the bore. Therefore, this cage plate cannot be used directly with Ø1/2" Posts, and a cage system utilizing this plate must be supported using a different method.
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The LCPN3 Adapter with the D5Y Dovetail
Our SM30-Threaded Cage Plates provide cage mounting of Ø30 mm optics along with SM30-threaded components, such as SM30 lens tubes. All four cage plates feature an internally SM30-threaded (M30.5 x 0.5) bore: the LCPN1 bore is 0.96" (24.4 mm) thick, the LCPN2 bore is 0.76" (19.3 mm) thick, the LCPN3 bore is 0.48" (12.2 mm) thick, and the LCPY2 bore is 0.80" (20.2 mm) thick. Two SM30RR retaining rings are provided to secure an optic in each cage plate, providing a clear aperture of Ø1.10" (Ø27.9 mm).
Each cage plate has four Ø6 mm cage rod through holes with side-located locking setscrews (5/64" [2 mm] hex) to secure it within a 60 mm cage system. The LCPN1, LCPN2, and LCPY2 have four 4-40 taps on 30 mm centers on one side to mount 30 mm cage systems.
Additionally, each cage plate features a dovetail to connect to certain Cerna microscope components as well as certain upright and inverted Nikon, and Olympus IX and BX microscopes. The LCPN1 has a male D3N dovetail that connects to the condenser holder on a Cerna, inverted Nikon Eclipse Ti, or upright Nikon Eclipse microscope. The LCPN2 and LCPN3 both have a male D1N dovetail that connects to certain Cerna components, an inverted Nikon Eclipse Ti trinocular port, or an upright Nikon Eclipse trinocular port. Additionally, the LCPN3 has a female D5Y dovetail to be used with Olympus trinoculars that have a male D5Y dovetail. The LCPY2 has a male D5Y dovetail that connects to the trinocular port of an Olympus BX or IX microscope. For complete compatibility information, see the microscope-specific presentations.
The dovetail designations are specific to Thorlabs products; see the Microscope Dovetails tab for details.
The LCP02(/M) Cage Plate provides a convenient means for coupling 30 mm and 60 mm cage assemblies via our Ø6 mm ER cage rods. The centered SM1 (1.035"-40) tapped hole directly accepts optics up to 0.35" (9 mm) thick (SM1RR retaining rings sold separately). Each cage rod through hole is accompanied by a side-located locking 4-40 setscrew, which can be secured using a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key. The LCP02(/M) also has an 8-32 (M4) tapped hole for Ø1/2" post mounting. The surface with the
Additionally, two of these cage plates can be used to straddle a 30 mm cage subassembly in such a way that the entire assembly [LCP02(/M), 30 mm subsystem, and LCP02(/M)] can slide along the 60 mm cage rods as a single optomechanical unit. A 16 mm cage assembly can also be easily integrated by utilizing the SP05 cage plate adapter (sold above).
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LCP4S Adapter Mounted to
Quantalux® sCMOS Camera for
Compatibility with 60 mm Cage Components
The LCP4S Cage Plate Adapter provides a convenient means for coupling 30 mm and 60 mm cage assemblies via our Ø6 mm ER cage rods. The thin 4 mm (0.16") profile of this adapter is ideal for situations where axial space is limited. The centered SM1 (1.035"-40) tapped hole is compatible with our SM1-threaded lens tubes. Each of the outer through holes for 60 mm cage rods is accompanied by a side-located locking 4-40 setscrew, which can be secured using a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key. The inner holes for 30 mm cage compatability are counterbored for use with 4-40 x 3/16'' cap screws which are sold seperately (SH4S019 recomended). Unlike the LCP02(/M) cage plate adapters sold above, this cage plate adapter does not have a tapped hole for post mounting due to the thin profile.
Additionally, this cage plate adapter facilitates the mounting of our compact scientific cameras on 60 mm cage components (see image to the upper right), including our 2SCM1-DC two-camera mount for microscopes. The thin profile of the adapter is required to position the image plane of the cameras within the adjustable focus range of the mount.
Blank cage plates are ideal when standard threads and hole sizes are insufficient for custom mounting and OEM-level requirements. Custom hole sizes and threads can be machined using any size drill bits and taps. These LC Series blank cage plates for 60 mm systems are ideally suited for assembling optical systems that are based upon Ø2" 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 ER cage rods and are fastened using a side-located locking 4-40 setscrew, which can be secured using a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key. The LCP03/M has a small dimple to indicate that it is a metric part.
The LCPA1 alignment plate provides a convenient tool for aligning 60 mm cage-based optical systems. This drop-in plate locates a Ø1 mm through-hole at the exact center of a cage assembly, providing a convenient visual target to assist in beam alignment.