3D Printing

We use a lulzbot Taz 5 printer for rapid prototyping and construction of parts in our research (and beyond). This printer is well suited to the size and type of objects we use in our research. Often there are small parts we need quickly and would otherwise cut them from cardboard, PVC, or another simple material. It is much more elegant (and rewarding) to quickly design the perfect part, send it to the printer, and then add it to our setup.

I presented a talk on using 3d printers in Student Projects and Undergraduate Research at the 2014 Winter AAPT meeting in Orlando.


If you are in the Portland area and in need of 3D printing services, we provide a full range of low-cost printing services. To place an order, use our 3D Hub via the link below. If you have questions about what can and can't be printed, please contact me.

Order 3d prints

Optics Lab Equipment useful for optics research

We print many objects that are useful in our research.

Beam Block Base

This handy object plugs in to a 1/4-20 optical table (1" spacing) and can hold a beam viewer card, business card, or any other temporary beam-block device. We have them in a variety of places around our table. They are great for daily alignment and quick adjustments (especially those just-out-of-reach spots). Thingiverse Thing #15807

DAVLL Cell Holder

We use a Dichroic Atomic Vapor Laser Lock (DAVLL) in the lab to stabilize our laser frequency. We've used permanent magnets and solenoids but this gives the best of both worlds. Easily remove the cell by separating the two halves. The cell is held in place and mounts securely to a standard optical system with 1/4-20 cap screws. Featured on Thingiverse Thing #25902.

CCD Baffle Adapter

This is an adapter that fits two concentric pipes and mounts onto the shutter of a Princeton Instruments Pylon CCD camera, helping prevent stray light from reaching the sensor. The larger pipe outer diameter is ~114 mm (~4.5 inches) and the smaller concentric pipe outer diameter is ~48 mm (~1.9 inches). The CAD files were designed with a single-extruder 3D printer in mind, so there is no need for support material. The .stl files were generated with OpenSCAD, and .scad files are included so you can customize them if need be. Because of the limited size of the the printer I used, I divided the adapter and spacer into three identical segments. Files for these are attached as well. If possible, this should be printed in black plastic to minimize internal reflections. Unfortunately, I was almost completely out of black plastic, but I was able to print in white and used a sharpie pen to darken all exposed internal surfaces. Thingiverse Thing #103037.

Fiber Polarizer Paddle

This is the paddle for a quarter-half-quarter wave plate - an in-fiber polarization adjuster. We use a Thorlabs' 780-HP fiber. We wrapped the fiber twice around the first and third paddles in the array, and four times around the second paddle. As with waveplates, by adjusting the rotational position of each paddle, the output polarization state of the fiber can be changed. Diameter of the circular groove for the fiber is about 62mm. The OpenSCAD file the paddle was produced from is included and can be readily adapter to other groove diameters.. Thingiverse Thing #219511.

Andrew Dawes

A variety of designs at various stages of development.

Hunter D.

Large-diameter cell frame, Beam tube parts, 40 mm fan tube, and AOM adapter plate.

Noah H.

DAVLL cell holder and quadcopter parts.


We are intrested in sharing the exciting world of 3D printing. Upon request, we can bring the printer to your school or group, provide a demonstration, or simply create and mail some sample objects if you are just curious about what it does.