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Machining Coated Optics?

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  • Machining Coated Optics?

    I was recently asked if I could put a hole through a parabolic mirror. In principle, it is very simple. However, I am concerned about getting through the reflective surface without any damage... the mirror body is aluminum and the reflective surface is gold with a Al(MgF2) coating a few microns thick. I told them I would get back to them later after I had a chance to scratch my head. Any thoughts on the feasibility? What would happen if I eased through the surface from the back?

    Here is a similar product:

  • #2
    I'd coat the reflective surface with two or three sprayed on coats of shellac or lacquer to protect it. Then drill undersized from the back and finish the hole with a boring bar, taking a thou or so per pass. Remove the coating by soaking in solvent.


    • #3
      That's basically what I was thinking except maybe drill most of the way oversized so you only need to bore the last 1/4" or so.
      Location: Long Island, N.Y.


      • #4
        That would work fine. The point of boring to final size is to wind up with a clean exit hole.