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Tables and Breadboards Capabilities
Tables, Breadboards, and Vibration Isolation Design and Manufacturing Processes
Thorlabs has facilities dedicated to the development and manufacture of optical tables, breadboards, and vibration isolation products. We also offer extensive custom capabilities. For details about each step in the process, click on the photos below or the tabs above.
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An engineer using SolidWorks to design an optical table.
Our team has over 25 years of experience, offering in-house design capabilities for tables, breadboards, vibration isolation products, and associated accessories. Thorlabs' optical tables and honeycomb breadboards must meet two basic design goals: the natural resonances of the table should be as high as possible (well above the frequency of ambient environmental vibrations) and the table should be well damped (to quickly damp vibrations caused by equipment on the surface). To meet these goals, our engineers use a variety of tools to refine their designs; for example, finite element analysis (FEA) allows our engineers to evaluate various materials and to identify possible unwanted material stresses. SolidWorks is employed to build 3D models of every design.
In addition to our stocked items, our engineers are capable of designing custom solutions for some of the most demanding and complex applications.
Our production team's overall goal is to utilize the latest technologies and quality materials to enable us to rapidly produce consistent best-in-class products. We have made extensive investments in a broad range of dedicated plant and processes including large-bed CNC mills, multi-point tooling systems, laminating presses, automated trasfer systems, and fine finishing machines.
Our highly skilled production teams work in dedicated, resourced cells for machining, prepping, construction, and finishing. Cross-training empowers our adaptable production personnel. This in turn allows them to float between different cells flexing our output as production needs dictate. We operate a three-shift system to achieve production 24 hours a day.
Tables and Breadboards Manufacturing Process
All of our volume production designs are subject to extensive testing to ensure that they meet defined key function specifications. These include flatness, surface finish, reflectivity, transmissibility of isolation control systems, and compliance testing of breadboards, tabletops, and support structures. Compliance testing is performed by using an impulse hammer to apply a measured force to the top surface of the table or breadboard. Transducers attached to the surface detect the resultant vibrations. The signals from the transducers are interpreted by a PC running SignalCalc, and a frequency response spectrum (also known as a compliance curve) is produced.
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An engineer performing compliance testing on a table.
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A PC running SignalCalc records the signals and generates a compliance curve.
Our in-house production teams are uniquely qualified to handle special requests for modifications to our catalog products. Tables can be provided with special plates that allow two or more units to be securely coupled together into a single monolithic structure. We can also tailor the shape and size to suit your specific requirements. Special lengths and thicknesses can be manufactured, with or without access holes and cutouts for beam steering or cable routing. Custom finishes, non-standard materials (e.g., aluminum or virtually non-magnetic stainless steel), and customized damping solutions can also be provided.
To submit a quote request for a custom optical table or breaboard, please use our Custom Table and Breadboard Request Form.