How to Create Car Light Guide Design for Headlight Prototypes
The vehicle industry is one of the most competitive sectors in the world. Roughly 40% of the world’s vehicles come from the Asian part of the world. In addition, the world welcomes about 72 million vehicles into the market annually. Now try to imagine the number of designs that come about every year. The number comes to an estimated few thousand. Every automobile has a minimum of 2 lights with most having extra lights on their rear windshield. This article will provide further insight into the design and creation of car light guides for headlight prototypes.
Most vehicle users value design when it comes to picking their cars. Headlamps contribute a lot to the overall image of the car. It thus advisable for any car manufacturer to invest some money and effort in coming up with high-quality headlamps. We at Creatingway play a vital role in the creation process by coming up with headlamp prototypes for our clients.
What Are Light Guides?
It refers to a unique tube that we make from polycarbonate or acrylic glass (PMMA). It plays a key role in lighting. When you put on a light source at one end of the light guide, the tube transmits the light through the entire length. Basically, the ray of light reflects onto the surface of the guide and bounces through the direction of its axis. A bigger angle of entrance results in a brighter shaft. This means we can achieve a complex light display that looks awesome on car headlamps.
What Are the Requirements and Design For Headlight Prototypes?
Coming up with a light guide first involves making the tube trajectory. We then proceed to pick the inner and outer diameter. At Creatingway, we design our light guides to showcase the lamp contours. We can achieve this by first forming the tube in the needed shape. We then have an option of placing an LED at one pipe’s end at 30-45 angles. In another case, we place several small LEDs throughout the entire length of the pipe.
There are few needs we have to meet for us to achieve a minimal light transmission efficiency of 50%. We achieve this by completely clearing the light guide of any bubbles or distortions. In addition, we have to make the inner surface extra smooth so as to transmit extra light. The light guide pipe surface finish tends to be close to Ra 0.32 microns when creating headlight prototypes.
Acrylic glass is an awesome material to subject to injection molding and vacuum casting. Unfortunately, though injection molding may be ideal for mass production, its tooling is costly for low-volume production. This is where casting plays a key role in the low-volume prototyping of headlight prototypes. Its press-form is less costly as we make it from silicone instead of steel in injection molding. One unit allows us to cast between 12 to 20 parts.
The surface finish of the final headlight prototype relies on the master model’s quality. We can choose to machine the master model or 3D print it. Afterward, we can post-process to meet the client’s demands. Notably, if you choose to cast your parts, we advise that you consider ordering a master model from a top prototyping shop like us. We guarantee top-notch parts after casting and a reduced machining time.
Most manufacturing processes involve melting and cooling to solidify. This does not guarantee very high accuracy. The surface finish also does not often end up as clear as glass. We thus prefer subjecting the headlight prototype to machining in a bid to achieve top-notch quality for the light guide. Machining allows us to machine mounting holes and secondary surfaces.
Finishing the Headlight Prototype for the light guide is the trickiest part of the process. If you make any error at this step, you simply have to start over from scratch. This stage first involves the use of a precise 5-axis CNC milling. Afterward, we use a very thin pointed diamond tool to machine acrylic glass into a glass-like part. We then polish it to achieve optimum surface uniformity. It may vary between 400-600 grit sandpaper depending on the part’s initial quality. We can even achieve between 1500-2000 grit using a special polishing paste. The end result is a clean surface with the optical feature of simple glass. In addition, its brittleness is lower while its tensile strength is higher. It is thus able to put up against considerable collisions.
How to Test the Headlight Prototypes?
Testing allows us to estimate the efficiency of the headlight prototype light guide. We subject the photometry. It basically enables us to estimate lighting and how it affects human visual perception. We first fix the headlight prototype onto a special turntable. This is a screen with a window that we use to measure part of the light. We then place the photometer behind the window. Sometimes we add a spectrometer to assess the warmth of the light. We proceed to switch the lamp on the turntable. The device then starts measuring and recording the headlight’s outcome. The results allow us to fully characterize the light guide’s luminous flux. For any further inquiries regarding headlight prototypes for light guides, simply contact us.
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