At Cosina’s Iiyama factory, there is a special room where the tools and jigs required in optical manufacture are kept. The above photograph shows racks of diamond wheels for custom-made products. Besides these diamond wheels, tools for grinding, polishing and centering lenses are categorized and stored by size and application. This page introduces a few tools used to manufacture optical elements.
Diamond polishing plates. Different from those discussed in 017 (Precisely arranging diamond pellets), the plate is covered entirely by a diamond grindstone.
Diamond cutter used to cut prisms. The thickness, diameter and number of blades differ according to application and process.
Test plates. These test plates are replicated from master plates. In both grinding and polishing processes, a variety of test plates are selected to match the curvature of the target element.
These are the bell clamps mentioned in 022 (How lenses are perfectly centered). We have diverse bell clamps to fit the various elements diameters and curvatures we work with.
Bell clamps are made on a lathe as necessary. Since they are mounted directly on polished lenses, great care goes into making sure they do not damage optical elements when machining them.
A freshly machined bell clamp. We both rework and reuse old bell clamps, and machine them from new material stock.
This pictures show a mold used in optial element polishing being machined on a lathe and measured. We make them from pure brass to the exact curvature of target element.
So, we prepare, stock and use a wide variety of tools and jigs to make optical elements. After use, these tools are returned to our repository where they sleep until elements of the same specifications are made again. There are those that remain idle for a long time and others that are used more frequently, but in either case, not a single one is ever tossed or discarded. Moreover, since we aim at producing perfect optical products, there is a little bit of our soul in every one of the countless number of tools we have.