Diamond machining is a technique that uses single crystalline diamond tools to machine a small selection of materials to very high precision. Diamond machining is generally employed when individual features on the surface are less than 0.010” in any dimension, or when a high quality surface finish is required. Diamond machining offers surface finish characteristics that can generally not be achieved with traditional cutting tools, allowing for optical quality surface finishes of both microstructures and large components.

Often, diamond machining is used to generate an initial master mold for polymer components. The diamond machined master is machined to high fidelity, and then subsequently prepared for electroforming. During the electroforming process, a direct duplicate of the original diamond machined component is generated out of nickel, which is suitable for most casting and thermoforming processes. The working nickel electroform offers greater wear resistance, protecting the original machined components from the rigors of manufacturing. Multiple working electroforms may be generated from a single diamond machined master.

MLA uses an ultraprecision diamond machining platform to perform linear raster milling and vertical milling using single crystalline diamond tools. Typical application includes lenticular lens arrays, diamond machined light pipes, corner cube retroreflector arrays, and micro optical elements.

Materials that may be machined include:

  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Hi-Phosphorous Nickel
  • Aluminum
  • Noble metals
  • Plastics
  • Zinc sulfide
  • Zinc selenide
  • Most infrared crystals
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