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Cage Assembly Platforms
V-Slots for 30 mm and 60 mm Cage Assembly
The LCPM horizontal platform and the PM3 clamping arm mounted in a 30 mm cage system.
The LCPM(/M) serves as an excellent general-purpose cage system mounting platform. The platform features a generous array of 1/4"-20 (M6), 8-32 (M4), and 6-32 (M4) tapped mounting holes. Clamping arms with 6-32 (M4) and 8-32 (M4) threads are available separately below. The underside of the mounting plate is equipped with two V-slots, providing compatibility for the 30 mm and 60 mm cage system standards. A locking plate actuated by a spring-loaded thumbscrew provides clamping force to the mating cage rods for secure positioning.
Cage System Overview
The Cage Assembly System provides a convenient way to construct large optomechanical systems with an established line of precision-machined building blocks designed for high flexibility and accurate alignment.
16 mm, 30 mm, and 60 mm Cage System Standards
Thorlabs offers three standards defined by the center-to-center spacing of the cage assembly rods (see image below). The 16 mm cage, 30 mm cage, and 60 mm cage standards are designed to accomodate Ø1/2", Ø1", and Ø2" optics, respectively. Specialized cage plates that allow smaller optics to be directly inserted into our larger cage systems are also available.
The flexibility of our Cage Assembly System stems from well-defined mounting and thread standards designed to directly interface with a wide range of specialized products. The three most prevalent thread standards are our SM05 Series (0.535"-40 thread), SM1 Series (1.035"-40 thread), and SM2 Series (2.035"-40 thread), all of which were defined to house the industry's most common optic sizes. Essential building blocks, such as our popular lens tubes, directly interface to these standards.
An example of the standard cage plate measurements determining cage system compatibility.
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Clamping Arm Extension Posts with Metric Indicator Groove
Thorlabs' Clamping Arms provide clamping force to secure optics to our kinematic platform mounts, stages, and V-clamps. The PM3(/M) accommodates optics up to 0.97" tall and features a 0.69" center-to-center distance between the post and the nylon-tipped setscrew that holds the optic. The PM4(/M) accommodates optics up to 1.61" and features a 1.16" center-to-center distance between the post and the nylon-tipped setscrew. The maximum optic height of the PM3(/M) or PM4(/M) Clamping Arms can be extended using our PM3SP(/M) or PM4SP(/M) Extension Posts, respectively. These extension posts are identical to the posts included in each complete clamping arm. Each clamping arm features 6-32 (M4) threads. The PM3 and PM4 can be mounted in 8-32 tapped holes by using the AS6E8E thread adapter, which features internal 6-32 threads and external 8-32 threads. This thread adapter has an outer diameter of 0.24", which is the same as the PM4SP extension post and the post included with the PM4 clamping arm. This allows the clamping arm to be adjusted across the seam between either post and the adapter. The smaller diameters of the included post for the PM3 clamping arm and the PM3SP extension post cause the thread adapter to act as a stop for the clamping arm.
The PM5(/M) clamping arm is made entirely from heat-treated stainless steel, which helps maintain stability in fluctuating temperatures and provides vacuum compatibility. This clamping arm is recommended for use with the POLARIS-K1M4(/M), but it can be used with any platform mount or stage that has one or more 8-32 (M4) tapped holes. The PM5(/M) can hold optics up to 1.65" tall, and the distance from the post center to the contact point that holds the optic is 0.90".
Each clamping arm is attached to its post using a flexure mechanism that locks with a 5/64" (2.0 mm) balldriver or hex key. The setscrew on top of the clamping arm also accepts a 5/64" (2.0 mm) balldriver or hex key in order to clamp down on the optic. The post includes a through hole which can be leveraged for added torque when tightening down the post. Please see the diagram above for additional information.