Software, Recommendations, Optics and Optomechanical, Design and Simulation

Everything that concerns the #DevOptical project
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hartung
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Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2023 9:22 pm

Software, Recommendations, Optics and Optomechanical, Design and Simulation

Post by hartung »

I am shopping and with help might do so wisely!
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Luc
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Re: Software, Recommendations, Optics and Optomechanical, Design and Simulation

Post by Luc »

The industry standard for optical design are either ZEMAX/ANSYS OpticStudio or CodeV but these software are pretty expensive. They don't advertise the price on their websites (on request only) but based on personal experience you can expect a price tag of either 3k€/yr and 6k€/yr for OpticStudio depending on if you take the "Standard" or the "Pro" version.

The standard version is already a very good starting point but it doesn't include essential features like mechanical semidiameter which is mandatory if you want to actually make lenses after. You also lack functionalities like programming API and non-sequential raytracing.

There are alternatives to these top 2 brands but they are either as expensive and not very widespread (e.g. Quadoa) or they lack lots of features (e.g. OSLO which used to be in the top 3 and which is now clearly outdated). I'm not counting 3DOptix in because it's not an optical design software.

You then need to add a mechanical design software. You have more choice there but I personally use SolidWorks. For the Pro version you can expect another 3k€-4k€/yr depending on the packages you add but they also have a "Maker" version which is 99€/yr and is restricted to non-commercial application (but it lacks features like simulation). I don't have experience with other software like Fusion 360, Creo, CATIA etc. so I can't tell if they are better or not. Only Creo where I can tell you that we moved away at the office to favor SolidWorks -- so I wouldn't recommend it.

For starting, using only free software, I can recommend you try OSLO EDU version. It's limited to 10 surfaces, including object & image plane so it's like ~3 lenses max but it's a decent start. You won't be able to export the CAD but you can make the lenses yourself in a parametric software like FreeCAD where you can also do basic CAD.

For serious work, OpticStudio or CodeV is unfortunately required.
hartung
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2023 9:22 pm

Re: Software, Recommendations, Optics and Optomechanical, Design and Simulation

Post by hartung »

Thanks Luc, This is the information I'm looking for. I like SW as well and have been using it for a long time. OSLO, which I have only now even heard of, looks to be a good choice for me. At this point my experience with understanding optical systems is pretty much limited to <= 1 (one) lens anyway.
Maybe, and especially as a group effort, we might construct and make use of a virtual spectrometer. A collaborative project like that could bring us some good experience even if a good working model that is a configurable simulation doesn't come to pass.
aqui_c
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Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:03 pm

Re: Software, Recommendations, Optics and Optomechanical, Design and Simulation

Post by aqui_c »

I just want to drop yet another software for mechanical design: OnShape. It is web-based (apparently developed by former Dassault engineers) and the free version is very complete, it just makes your designs public. It's very good for educational purposes as well.

We have been using it for a while (at 1500/year/user was very competitive, considering it also includes the PDM license) and we are very satisfied.
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