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Options & Upgrades

DIFFSYS is available in several packages and options depending on the customer needs. An outline of the available options and applications is displayed below.

Every DIFFSYS purchase comes with:

  • 12 months technical support,
  • 12 months full guarantee
  • 80 page color instruction manual

CAM Supported Parts* Optional DIFFSYS Modules
Basic A
(Point Clouds)
Flats, spheres, basic aspheres (with a single tool)          
Multi-segment aspheres            
Fresnels, diffractives            
3D flat            
3D off-axis asphere            
3D toric/biconic/cylinder            
3D polynomial freeforms            
3D using 2D multi-segments            
3D bifocal            
3D global spiral milling            
Using 2D or 3D point clouds from file            
Lenslets (global spiral milling or XZC turning)            
*Support for B axis,Y axis, and local spiral milling will be available in upcoming releases
  • Basic +

    The Basic Diffsys version is included with the sale of all machines. Basic is based on Diffsys "A" version with the following features removed:

    • Multi-Segments, Basic can only do a single asphere, and cannot create any features, e.g. edge features
    • B-Axis
    • Wheel, Flycutter and Ball cutter tools, only Diamond tools are available
    • Feedrates
    • Surface increments, Basic only allows increments along the X-Axis, and not draped over the surface
    • G01/G03 commands, Basic does not allow to use these special commands for controlling the machine with curved lines between points
    • Sinewaves
    • Second Asphere
    • 2D Lenslet array
    • Converting any surface into a fresnel

    Diffsys Basic is not available for upgrades or updates.

  • "A" Aspheres only +

    This is the entry-level version for spheres, aspheres, and multi-segment aspheres; with comprehensive diamond tool corrections, lead-in/out codes, Sag tables, resize, B-axis, inch/mm, and various jobfile formats. You can add further options later on as required

    A surface with 2 aspheric segments

    The same surface as above, but mirrored and repeated in an array
  • "AZ" Zones option +

    (You purchase either 'AZ' or 'AZ3') The 'Z' option allows you to create diffractives and fresnels.

    DIFFSYS® has become the industry standard for machining zoned surfaces.

    DIFFSYS® was originally developed for machining diffractives, and this our area of special expertise. Currently there is no international definitive specification for describing these zoned components, and over the past 10 years we have seen perhaps 15 different formats. Fortunately DIFFSYS® can handle all of them. If you have a problem with entering a design, into DIFFSYS®, we shall be pleased to help.

    Diffractives and Fresnels... What's the difference? Diffractives generally have a fixed step height, which is related to the wavelength of the light being used, and is therefore usually between 1 and 5 microns. Fresnels generally have variable step heights, which tend to be much larger than the wavelength. See the diagram below.

    Here is a mathematical curve, which has been setup in DIFFSYS. You can see how the same curve can be used to define a fixed-step-height diffractive, and also a variable-step-height fresnel. Note that in the lower case, the zone widths are constant. The vertical scales have been greatly exaggerated, and normally, the diffractive would have much smaller steps than the fresnel. Notice that the curve changes direction, and so do the step directions - DIFFSYScan handle this, although we do not see such designs very often.
  • "A3" 3D option +

    Slow-tool and rastering

    (You order either 'A3' or 'AZ3') Generates ultra-precision off-axis aspheres, atorics, acylinders, and freeforms, either by raster flycutting or 'slow/fast-tool-servo'. Lots of features and options.
    This version also includes the 2D Aspheres-only functions.

    DIFFSYS has two 3D machining modes:

    XYZ raster flycutting/milling
    With a Y-Axis attachment, you can flycut either in a standard 'zigzag' raster or an XYZ spiral. Select either round or rectangular surfaces.

    CXZ (spiral) tool servo
    This is the most popular method, requiring an encoded spindle. Either use your existing XZ machine in 'slow-tool-servo' mode, or fit a 'fast-tool-servo' attachment.

    Spiral XYZ flycutting of an off-axis asphere

    Spiral CXZ slow-tool-servo of an off-axis asphere
  • "AZ3" option 3D surfaces; freeforms +

    Above we described the 3D tooling configurations available with DIFFSYS®.
    Here are the types of 3D surfaces we can currently machine:

    • Off-Axis aspheres
    • Atorics, acylinders (various different types)
    • Polynomial freeforms
    • Micro-lens arrays

    Sinewave arrays X- and Y- tilts and offsets are available for some surfaces.

    Atoric CXZ (spiral), with polishing oscillations

    Off-Axis asphere CXZ (spiral) with polishing oscillations.

    Acylinder XYZ (raster)
  • "MC2" option: 2D imported data and measurements +

    DIFFSYS® 'MC2' option: 2D imported data and measurements

    The Taylor Hobson Talysurf is arguably the best instrument currently available for measuring aspheres. The DIFFSYS MC2 Option will read-in a Talysurf file (binary or ASCII) and use it to make the final sub-micron corrections to a machined part.

    All you do is select the measurement file, and DIFFSYS does the rest. Alternatively, there are several functions to manually manipulate the data, which is displayed graphically: Fold, Flip, Smooth and Offset.

    NEW: Multiple files - Any number of successive measurements can be stored and added together, ideal for mold corrections. Hybrid Diffractives - Use a measurement of the base curve to correct the final diffractive cut. 3D - Use one or two 2D measurements to correct a 3D surface. Replicate any surface by importing a raw measurement, and smoothing it.

    DIFFSYS can also read-in most types of XZ data from other sources. Send us a sample.
    For Talysurf, see

    Display of raw measurement data (unfolded). The centerpoint is found automatically.

    The same file with 20% smoothing
  • "MC3" option: 3D imported data and measurements +

    With the MC3 Option, you can import any XYZ ASCII data and generate an optical quality surface. Typically, customers import just 2000-3000 points. In fact you can create a perfectly smooth surface with just 20 points. DIFFSYS® performs a careful 3D 'spline' smoothing of the surface.

    You can either import CAD data to produce a surface, or measurement data to correct a 3D surface.

    Pictures show a 3D probe measurement, imported into DIFFSYS to make a 3D correction.

  • Upgrades +

    Option MC2: 2D Measurement Corrections - including Talysurf
    This option (requiring one of the above) allows the user to measure an asphere with a 2D measuring instrument, and feed the data into DIFFSYS® to make corrections. It is compatible with Taylor Hobson Talysurf files, and any instrument outputting ZX ASCII data. Multiple-measurements can be added together, and certain limited corrections can be performed on Diffractive/Fresnel and 3D surfaces.

    Option MC3: 3D Measurement Corrections and CAD import
    (requires A3 or AZ3) As MC2, PLUS: Will import any 3D XYZ ASCII CAD data or 3D measurement data. Performs a 3D spline smoothing function. Ask for details on the importable formats.

    Upgrade Z: Upgrade 'A' or 'A3' to include Zones (Diffractives and Fresnels)

    Upgrade 3D: Upgrade 'A' or 'AZ' to include 3D

    Upgrade MC+: Upgrade MC2 to MC3
    Update UP: Upgrade to the current release and includes 12 months Technical Support