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Solid Aluminum Optical Breadboards
These solid aluminum, nonmagnetic baseplates provide a convenient and cost-effective platform for assembling prototype optical assemblies, conducting experiments, and mounting small subsystems. They are finished with a black, minimally reflective anodized coating and are through-drilled with a standard 1" (imperial) or 25 mm (metric) hole pattern offset 1/2" or 12.5 mm, respectively, from the edges of the board. The holes are threaded completely through these breadboards, allowing components to be mounted on both sides at once. Breadboards are offered in either 1/2" or 3/4" thicknesses.
Each breadboard features four or five mounting holes that are offset from the array of 1/4"-20 (M6) threaded holes to create an uninterrupted surface for any intended application. The four standard mounting holes are located at each corner of the breadboard, inset 1" from each edge (25 mm on metric). The larger imperial and metric breadboards have a fifth counterbored mounting hole at the center of each board (imperial boards 18" or wider, metric boards 450 mm or wider). Utilizing the center mounting hole increases the mounting options available, reduces stress at the corner mounting holes, and increases rigidity when heavy loads are placed on the boards (see photo to the right). The mounting holes may be used to attach the breadboards to variety of surfaces and mounts, including optical tables, other breadboards, mounting posts, and brackets. Please see the Mounting Options tab for more details.
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This finite element analysis simulation shows the vertical displacement of two breadboards with 120 N force applied at center. The 1/2"-thick breadboard on the left shows a maximum displacement of 0.047 mm, while the 3/4"-thick breadboard on the right shows only 0.014 mm. The 3/4"-thick breadboard's increased stiffness leads to lower board displacement.
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A fifth mounting hole in the middle of larger breadboards increases rigidity and reduces stress when mounting heavy loads.
Other Breadboard Options
Thorlabs also offers Double Hole Density Aluminum Breadboards with 1/2" offset hole spacing, doubling the density of mounting holes. These are offered in sizes ranging from 4" x 24" to 8" x 36"
For applications with limited space, Thorlabs offers Mini-Series Breadboards with 4-40 (M3) or both 8-32 (M4) and 1/4"-20 (M6) tapped holes. These breadboards feature an increased tapped hole density and thinner breadboard thickness.
Thorlabs' aluminum breadboards can be mounted vertically (or perpendicular to a mounting surface) using a wide variety of 90 degree mounting plates. For tall arrangements, we recommend the setup shown to the left. Here, the MB12 breadboard is vertically oriented using two VB01 Vertical Brackets. For smaller arrangements, the AB90, AP90, or AP90L Right-Angle Brackets may be used.
Vibration Isolating Feet
Thorlabs' aluminum breadboards may be mounted on a set of vibration isolation feet. These Sorbothane Mounting Feet may be used to isolate a small breadboard from its mounting surface.
Not shown: Standard RDF1 Rubber Damping Feet may also be used where high vibrational damping is not necessary.
Elevated Arrangement with Adjustable Mounting Feet
A set of Ø1.5" Mounting Posts can be used to elevate an aluminum breadboard off of the work surface. At left, an MB1824 breadboard is shown with four P6 Mounting Posts. An adjustable, self-leveling BMF4 Mounting Foot is attached to each mounting post. The self-leveling mounting feet feature rubberized feet and screw thread height adjustment.
Not shown: DP14A Damped Posts are available in 14" lengths for vibration sensitive elevated mounting applications.
Fixed Elevated Arrangement with Pedestal-Style Feet
A more permanent Aluminum Breadboard mounting option, shown to the left, features pedestal-style Ø1.5" Mounting Posts clamped to an optic bench. The MB1824 Aluminum Breadboard to the left is elevated off the optic bench surface using a set of four P6 Mounting Posts, each with a PB4 Pedestal Base Adapter and PF175 Clamping Fork.
Not shown: Ø1.5" Translating Posts or Ø1.5" Damped Posts may also be used in lieu of the P6 Mounting Posts for applications requiring further height adjustment or reduced sensitivity to vibrations, respectively.
Breadboard Enclosure Systems
Enclosures may be added to Thorlabs' aluminum breadboards to house light and dust-sensitive equipment. Thorlabs offers a variety of plexiglass and standard darkening enclosures. The enclosure shown to the left has the front panel removed for access. Enclosures with sliding doors fabricated from plexiglass or black hardboard are also available.
Breadboard Mounting Brackets
The PSY321(/S) Post Mounted Breadboard Brackets are designed to securely mount breadboards onto Ø1.5" posts. Each bracket will support any aluminum breadboard up to 12" x 12" (300 mm x 300 mm) in size, and has a maximum load capacity of 20 kg (44 lbs).
Optical Breadboard Selection Guides
The selection guides below list every size offered for our honeycomb, solid aluminum, and acrylic breadboards. Simply locate the specific width and length needed and then select the type of breadboard. Expand each table by clicking the More [+] button within the header.