Ask an Engineer: OpticStudio-CAD interoperability and OpticsBuilder

  • 30 March 2022
  • 6 replies
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Join us for our monthly “Ask an Engineer” event! Submit your questions between now and April 14th. The event will be hosted on ​​​​​this thread in text form with a focus on the spotlighted topic:

 

Topic: OpticStudio-CAD interoperability and OpticsBuilder

To turn optical designs into reality, teams of optical and mechanical engineers need to coordinate their individual expertise around one common goal. In order to convert optical designs into CAD Zemax offers different approaches. I am happy to answer question about that in this month`s "Ask an Engineer" Event. Please ask your questions on Zemax OpticsBuilder, CAD Files Export tools, CAD Parts in Zemax OpticStudio and optomechanical workflows in general.

 

Dates: March 30th - April 14th

Live Discussion Time: 8am - 9am PST, April 14th

Engineer:​​@Flurin Herren - Application Engineer II at Ansys Zemax

Submit your questions as a reply to this thread between now and the end of the event. Items may be added in any supported language (English, Japanese, Chinese). Questions added to the discussion will be answered starting 8am Pacific on April 14th. Once the event is concluded, the thread will be closed. 

If your question pertains to a particular file, the question may be moved to a private support case. In that situation, your license support status will be considered. 

 

Flurin Herren 9 months ago

Thanks a lot.

For more OpticsBuilder content have look at the Community User-group:

Or visit the getting started course on our Knowledge Base:

Have a nice weekend everyone!

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6 replies

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Hi Community,

I am happy to answer any question regarding OpticStudio-CAD interoperability and OpticsBuilder in the next hour!

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CAD - FAQ: What can I do if my STEP export looks incorrect in my CAD platform.

Zemax OpticStudio uses by default the 3D ACIS Modeler as a geometric modelling kernel. We have seen some cases, especially in connection with non-circular aperture shapes (e.g. rectangular aperture), in which the geometry can be flawed in the CAD environment and we are currently working on a solution. As a temporary workaround to this issue, the OpticStudio user can switch (before creating the export file) from the default ACIS Modeler to the SMS Modeler. This can be done via the Project Preferences -> General -> Untick: Use ACIS Libraries.(See image below)

 

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OpticsBuilder – FAQ1: What is the main advantage that the .ZBD file has over the traditional STEP format

If an optical system is exported out of Zemax OpticStudio as 3D solids in a STEP, SAT, STL or IGES format the optical properties are lost. We call this a dead geometry, as the only information which the file holds is the dimension of the optical components and the relative positioning to each other. The CAD User can add mechanical components to the optical parts with the native CAD tools, but there is no way of knowing the influence of the mechanical parts on the optical performance. And that`s where the .ZBD file has a major advantage over the traditional export file formats, as it holds all the optical parameters required to run a new optical ray trace. So, the CAD user can identify any potential influence of the mechanical components on the optical performance while modelling the optomechanical system.

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OpticsBuilder - FAQ2: Import, Export and Update a .ZBD file

A .ZBD file (Zemax Builder file) is initially created in Zemax OpticStudio with the Prepare for OpticsBuilder tool, this replaces the traditional CAD Export.

The so generated .ZBD file can be imported into the CAD environment with the OpticsBuilder Add-in via the Import .ZBD file feature. After that, mechanical components can be added and an optomechanical assembly can be modelled. The mechanical components can be CAD native or any other imported solid file format. When the optomechanical system is finished the optical performances can be analysed. If the optomechanical system needs to be analysed in Zemax OpticStudio, the Export .ZBD file feature can be used to transfer the whole system back into Zemax OpticStudio. This way the mechanical parts which have been added in the CAD platform are also exported to OpticStudio and are either a STEP file format or native CAD Parts (Depending on CAD Platform). If only the optical components are edited in OpticStudio another .ZBD file can be created and then updated with the Update .ZBD file feature in the CAD environment.

 

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Thanks a lot.

For more OpticsBuilder content have look at the Community User-group:

Or visit the getting started course on our Knowledge Base:

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Userlevel 6
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This thread is now closed. Thank you @Flurin Herren for a great overview of CAD and OpticsBuilder. For any additional questions about these topics, please refer to the pinned reply!