Included in the CAO lab floor space is a fully functional fabrication machine shop and a rough cutting/fabrication assembly area.

primary Fabrication facility
Our primary Fabrication facility.

Should additional fabrication machines, tooling, or fabrication personnel be required for large grants, projects or quick turnaround work, the CAO also has shop privileges with the UA- Huntsville Rotorcraft Systems machine shop and their 30+ year experienced machinist. Having these resources readily available, the CAO is poised to quickly fabricate prototypes to get designs off the paper and onto the table. The CAO is also available to offer fabrication and polishing services for prototyping to local R&D companies in the Huntsville community.

Filling out a simple service agreement form, the CAO can bring a design or proof of concept to life at a very competitive cost with a short delivery schedule. Mr. Ted Rogers is our Fabrication Coordinator at the CAO. Mr. Chris Underwood is our master machinist, fabricating our optics and mechanical structures for many years and operates the diamond turning machine and, when it arrives, our new ZEEKO deterministic polishing machine. Our Optical Fabrication lab houses a newly installed NANOTECH UPL250 single point diamond turning (SPDT) machine, two optical microscopes, a spacious clean room for inspection, and classical polishing equipment. We fabricate prototypes for complex optical systems, we refurbish existing optical systems, we make our own tooling and we help to mature educational and industrial research concepts from the idea stage to a working system. We will be adding deterministic polishing machine(DPM) to our fabrication suite in January of 2011 with the addition of a ZEEKO IRP600 DPM.
We are currently rebuilding a MOORE M48 DTM donated from NASA and perfectly stored. It will make a 48 inch diameter sphere and is due to be introduced to our hardware list next year in 2011.

Our 2010 addition, the NANOTECH UPL250

In the fabrication clean room we have optical inspection instruments:

Micro Inspection DIC microscopy
Micro Inspection DIC microscopy

In the main optical fabrication room, we have:

Classical polishing1 Classical polishing2

Classical polishing
part1 part2
Mechanical fabrication in support of optical sensors and elements


clean room Inspection Station
One of our clean room Inspection Stations.

Here is a list of our primary Optical Fabrication hardware:

  1. Mills/Lathes:
    1. Nanotech 250UPL Ultra-precision, CNC, single-point diamond-turning (SPDT) lathe with C-axis, slow-tool servo, positioning control:
      • Continuous path contouring via X,Z,&C axes of 2D aspheres, diffractives, 3D spirals, raster, torics, off-axis aspheres, and polynomial freeform surfaces.
      • Flats: 350mm/13.5" max diameter.
      • Sphericals: 7" travel along z-axis.
      • Software: NanoCAM-2D and DIFFSYS 2D, 3D+zones.
    2. Lagun-Matic 250 CNC mill:
      • Communication link via drip-feed Uni-Graphics NX/5.
    3. Victor-618EM manual lathe.
  2. Grinding & Polishing (flats only, 16" max diameter):
    • Lapmaster 12
    • Strasbaugh R6Y-2
    • Strasbaugh 6UR-1
    • Strasbaugh 6DE-1
    • ULTRA TEC Ultrapol 1200
    • Accu-Finish II
      Special Note:
    • Future capability: Zeeko IRP 600X deterministic polishing machine with 1 meter capacity. ETA: 2011.
  3. Inspection:
    • Class 100 clean room
    • Klinger/Nachet microscope
    • Moller-Wedel Spherometer w/ Heidenhain display and custom 12" extension
    • Normarski/Zeiss microscope
  4. Mechanical Design CAD/CAM Software:
    • Uni-Graphics NX-7
    • Pro-Engineer Wildfire