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Quick-Release Lens Tube Adapters


  • Less Than 1/16 of a Turn Required to Connect and Disconnect Adapters
  • SM05-, SM1-, SM2, and SM3-Threaded Versions Available
  • Locking Setscrew

See Application Notes
Tab Below for Details

SM1QA

SM2QA

SM3QA

SM05QA

Male Half

Female Half

Related Items


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Quick-release adapters allow the user to quickly interchange items within a setup without disassembly. Separate male and female components are available for attaching multiple items to a single lens tube for all sizes except SM3.

Features

  • Quick Connect/Disconnect Design:
    • SM05QA: 1/17 of a Turn
    • SM1QA: 1/20 of a Turn
    • SM2QA: 1/23 of a Turn
    • SM3QA: 1/24 of a Turn
  • Lockable via a Brass Setscrew
  • Easily Exchange SM-Threaded Components within a System
  • Knurled Edge on Female Component for Increased Grip

These quick-release adapters provide a means to quickly connect and disconnect two similarly SM-threaded components such as lens tubes, mounted optics, detectors, and cameras (as seen in the photo below and the animation to the right). Please see the Application Notes tab for more information. Quick-release adapters are available in SM05 (0.535"-40), SM1 (1.035"-40), SM2 (2.035"-40), and SM3 (3.035"-40) threading options. Each quick-release adapter set is composed of one female and one male component. The female adapter component has external SM threads and the male adapter component has internal SM threading of the same type. For example, the male and female components of the SM1QA both have SM1 threads. Separate Female and Male adapter components are also available for all sizes except the SM3 adapter.

Quick Release Adapter Assembly
Click to Enlarge

The SM1QA Quick-Release Adapter Makes Exchanging Cameras within an Optical Setup Fast and Easy. Additional Male and Female Components are Available Separately for Connecting Several Components to a Lens Tube Assembly

Three ramps on the male component and three dowel pins on the female component allow these adapters to connect or disconnect in less than 1/16 of a turn. Quick-release adapters are ideal for use in space-constrained locations with minimal clearance between the mounted component and the rest of the setup. The female component of these adapters has a knurled outer diameter for easier torque application and a brass setscrew (0.05" hex) that locks the male and female components together with minimal displacement.

To use, thread the male adapter component onto an externally SM-threaded part and the female adapter component onto an internally SM-threaded part. Insert the male component into the female component and turn clockwise to connect. For long-term stability, tighten the setscrew on the female component with a 0.050" hex key to lock the two components together. To disconnect the components, loosen the setscrew (if locked) and turn counterclockwise. The female component is engraved with the lock and unlock directions for ease of use.

Thorlabs' quick-release adapters are not compatible with our Cage Systems because the outer diameters of the adapters are too large. However, they can be used as the terminating element of a cage system.

Please Note: The male component has two notches for use with an SPW801 spanner wrench because it is difficult to unthread by hand once attached. Be sure these notches are facing towards the female portion of the adapter prior to threading it onto a part. This ensures that the quick-release mechanism will function properly (see photo to the left).

Quick Release Adapter Camera Assembly

Quick-Release Camera Application

The application photo shown to the right uses the SM1QA quick-release adapter set to provide a way to easily connect and disconnect a DCU224C camera from an assembly. The camera can be connected and disconnected from the assembly with only 1/12 of a turn, which allows the USB cable that connects to the camera to remain attached. Without the SM1QA adapter, the camera would need to be rotated roughly three times so the USB cable should be removed. It is often necessary to make alignment adjustments in an optical assembly, thus it is time consuming to repeatedly connect and disconnect cables every time these adjustments need to be made. This same cable management issue is encountered with parts such as our power meter heads and photodetectors.

The quick-release adapter also allows multiple components to be quickly and easily exchanged without disturbing the rest of the optical setup. Separate male and female components of each adapter, other than the SM3 adapter, are available below for quickly interchanging different components.

The tables below correlate to either the imperial or metric list of all components used in the application photograph to the right.

Item #QtyDescription
Imperial Product List
DCU224C1Color CCD Camera
SM1A391Adapter with External C-Mount Threads and External SM1 Threadsa
SM1QA1SM1 Quick Release Adapter
KCB11Right Angle Kinematic Mirror Mount
CP021SM1 Threaded 30 mm Cage Plate
SM1L303SM1 Lens Tube; Lengths Depend on Application
ER64ER Cage Rod; Lengths Depend on Application
TR21Ø1/2" x 2" Stainless Steel Optical Post
PH21Post Holder with Spring-Loaded Hex-Locking Thumbscrew, L = 2"
BA21Mounting Base, 2" x 3" x 3/8"
Item #QtyDescription
Metric Product List
DCU224C1Color CCD Camera
SM1A391Adapter with External C-Mount Threads and External SM1 Threadsa
SM1QA1SM1 Quick Release Adapter
KCB1/M1Right Angle Kinematic Mirror Mount (Metric)
CP02/M1SM1 Threaded 30 mm Cage Plate (Metric)
SM1L303SM1 Lens Tube; Lengths Depend on Application
ER64ER Cage Rod; Lengths Depend on Application
TR50/M1Ø12.7 mm x 50 mm Stainless Steel Optical Post
PH50/M1Post Holder with Spring-Loaded Hex-Locking Thumbscrew, L=50 mm
BA2/M1Mounting Base, 50 mm x 75 mm x 10 mm
  • This adapter converts the internal C-mount threads on the camera to external SM1 threads that can be connected to the male portion of the SM1QA quick-release adapter.

Posted Comments:
ludoangot  (posted 2016-10-07 14:25:29.66)
In addition to your SMx series you should definitely consider making a C-mount version of these adapters. And if possible mechanically, have the male half of the C-mount version compatible with the female half of the SM1 version. I own several of these adapters in SM1 and SM2 and they are very useful (beside the small issue when the quick release releases too easily in some situation, I wrote you about it below but forgot to leave my email).
jlow  (posted 2016-10-14 02:00:17.0)
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: Thank you very much for your feedback. We will look into offering this in our catalog.
user  (posted 2016-06-13 13:06:41.293)
Does Thorlabs have a light tight version? I tried it but fortunately it did not work for my high-sensitivity camera.
tmorgus  (posted 2016-06-13 08:36:30.0)
We are currently working on designing a new product that may better serve your needs for both a quick connect feature and light tight. If you contact tech support with your contact information I could send you a prototype for your evaluation. Tyler, Mechanics Business Unit Leader
user  (posted 2015-06-03 10:53:24.973)
An excellent idea and I use it often in my setup. However the lock tends to be easily loosened: in one configuration I use the male part on a small cmount lens and when changing the focus or diaphragm it happens the adapter loosens. The tightening screw prevents this but having to use an extra tool for securing removes the attraction of the "quickness" of the release. On suggestion is that the slope on the 3 ramps of the male part could be at a slightly lower angle, this would require slightly more than the current 1/12 of a turn to secure the adapter but would offer a tighter lock, or the prongs on the female parts be machined to match the angle of the ramps providing a larger contact surface.
besembeson  (posted 2015-08-28 01:09:24.0)
Response from Bweh at Thorlabs USA: We appreciate your feedback, and will review this with our engineering team.
nkaplin1  (posted 2013-09-07 15:16:51.373)
Can I buy either the male or the female components separately? It would be useful to be able to swap out components without having to buy a full set for each one.
jlow  (posted 2013-09-09 09:33:00.0)
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: Yes we have the male and female components available separately. We will get in contact with you for a quote. You can also e-mail us at techsupport@thorlabs.com to get a quote as well.

SM05 Quick-Release Adapter

  • Compatible with SM05 Lens Tubes
  • Ø0.45" (Ø11.4 mm) Clear Aperture
  • Ø1.00" (Ø25.4 mm) Outer Diameter

The SM05QA quick-release adapter provides a way to quickly remove segments of SM05 (0.535"-40) lens tubes for alignment purposes or to swap sections of optical assemblies. This adapter is compatible with any SM05-threaded component. Please note that the outer diameter of this adapter is too large to fit inside a 16 mm cage assembly.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
SM05QA Support Documentation
SM05QACustomer Inspired! SM05 Quick-Release Adapter Set
$56.65
Today
SM05QAF Support Documentation
SM05QAFCustomer Inspired! SM05 Quick-Release Adapter (Female Half)
$28.33
Today
SM05QAM Support Documentation
SM05QAMCustomer Inspired! SM05 Quick-Release Adapter (Male Half)
$28.33
Today

SM1 Quick-Release Adapter

  • Compatible with SM1 Lens Tubes
  • Ideal for Swapping Detectors, Power Meter Heads, Cameras, and Ø1" Mounted Optics
  • Ø0.95" (Ø24.1 mm) Clear Aperture
  • Ø1.50" (Ø38.1 mm) Outer Diameter

The SM1QA quick-release adapter provides a way to quickly remove segments of SM1 (1.035"-40) lens tubes for alignment purposes or to swap sections of optical assemblies. We offer optics such as ND filters and diffusers mounted in SM1-compatible mounts. This SM1 quick-release adapter makes swapping these filters or diffusers a very quick task. Many of our power meter heads, detectors, and cameras also feature SM1 threading, which this adapter may be used with. Cameras and power meter heads can be connected and disconnected from any assembly with only 1/12 of a turn when using this quick-release adapter, which allows the USB cable that connects to the devices to remain attached. Without the SM1QA adapter, the device would need to be rotated roughly three times so the USB cable should be removed. Please note that the outer diameter of this adapter is too large to fit inside a 30 mm cage assembly.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
SM1QA Support Documentation
SM1QACustomer Inspired! SM1 Quick-Release Adapter Set
$46.35
Today
SM1QAF Support Documentation
SM1QAFCustomer Inspired! SM1 Quick-Release Adapter (Female Half)
$23.18
Today
SM1QAM Support Documentation
SM1QAMCustomer Inspired! SM1 Quick-Release Adapter (Male Half)
$23.18
Today

SM2 Quick-Release Adapter

  • Compatible with SM2 Lens Tubes
  • Ø1.90" (Ø48.3 mm) Clear Aperture
  • Ø2.50" (Ø63.5 mm) Outer Diameter

The SM2QA quick-release adapter provides a way to quickly remove segments of SM2 (2.035"-40) lens tubes for alignment purposes or to swap sections of optical assemblies. This adapter is compatible with any SM2-threaded component. Please note that the outer diameter of this adapter is too large to fit inside a 60 mm cage assembly.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
SM2QA Support Documentation
SM2QACustomer Inspired! SM2 Quick-Release Adapter Set
$67.98
Today
SM2QAF Support Documentation
SM2QAFCustomer Inspired! SM2 Quick Release Adapter (Female Half)
$33.99
Today
SM2QAM Support Documentation
SM2QAMCustomer Inspired! SM2 Quick Release Adapter (Male Half)
$33.99
Today

SM3 Quick-Release Adapter

  • Compatible with SM3 Lens Tubes
  • Ø2.81" (Ø71.4 mm) Clear Aperture
  • Ø3.50" (Ø88.9 mm) Outer Diameter

The SM3QA quick-release adapter provides a way to quickly remove segments of SM3 (3.035"-40) lens tubes for alignment purposes or to swap sections of optical assemblies. This adapter is compatible with any SM3-threaded component. Please note that the outer diameter of this adapter is too large to fit inside any of Thorlabs' cage assemblies. To order the male or female half of the set separately, please contact Tech Support.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
SM3QA Support Documentation
SM3QACustomer Inspired! SM3 Quick-Release Adapter Set
$58.62
Today
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Last Edited: Aug 14, 2013 Author: Kate Osenbach