Tungsten carbide is widely used to make replication moulds for small aspheric and freeform optics, like camera lenses. Since aspheric generation by grinding generally fails to reach ultra-precision criteria, a time efficient method for finishing moulds is needed. Using a 7-axis CNC polishing machine, an on-machine tool forming technique and compensation software were developed to correctively polish a plano WC surface of diameter 25 mm from a form error above λ to below λ/20 (29 nm P-V) in under 1 h, while reducing roughness to 1.0 nm Ra. This automatic method and tooling are applicable to aspheric and freeform moulds.
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