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Find the optical center

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    Find the optical center

    I'm a remnant of the late 70's Coburn 108 generator days. I used a caliper to determine center thickness via edge thickness around various points on the block. Prism either ground for decentration or unwanted could also be checked via a caliper @ the principle meridians while still blocked.

    For OC location use caliper to determine thickest for plus power or thinnest point for minus on the lens
    Last edited by PRECISIONLAB; 09-23-2022, 03:34 AM.


      I'll take the marking pen approach.

      Look through the lens at a vertical line (like a doorframe) and align the doorframe image through the lens with the doorframe view outside the lens. Draw the doorframe image with a marker, top to bottom.

      Look through the lens at a horizontal line (like the edge of a desk) and align the desk edge image through the lens with the desk edge view inside the lens. Draw the desk edge image with a marker, side to side.

      The intersection of the two lines is the optical center.

      WHAT DO I WIN!!!!!! A box of optical centers????




          Before I give my answer although there might be other ways to do this I will tell you about a device I have that you can’t even find a mention of it on the internet. It is probably circa 1900 made by American Optical called
          a lens centering device. The set up is something like a lensometer but no light and all open. There is an engraved target with a cross on it that can rotated with degree markings and it had a marker like a lensometer. You moved the lens until the lines on the cross were continuous both horizontally and vertically and you can align the cylinder axis as well then you marked it. This is as accurate as a lensometer but no power readings. How you did that we will save for another day.

          the prize for the closest answer is a box of candy coated optical centers very hard to come by.


            There might be more than one correct answer this is mine. Answer to Chris you surely don’t need all the items. A caliper that is generally used in ophthalmic optics is not accurate enough to find the thickest or thinnest point on a lens unless it was mounted in a fixture a dial indicator would work but marking the lens would difficult if was made with that in mind it could produce a good result.
            DRK has an idea similar to mine but it would be difficult to draw a thin line across the lens two times without even 1 mm of error maybe if you are really talented you could get good results. That earns half a bag of candy coated optical centers.
            here is my answer take the paper and the mm scale and draw a cross that is at least 10 mm larger than the lens in x and y axis. Hold the lens about 15 mm above the cross and move it until both lines on the cross are continuous then take a marker and spot the of the cross on the lens. Check results by holding the lens above the cross lining dot with center making sure the cross is not broken. Ask people you work with to try this it will start a conversation about optics that will help all of your staff.


              Oooo I like it.


                Hi Opti,

                To find the optical center on a lens, you can use the following items:

                1. Pencil
                2. Marking pen
                3. Piece of paper
                6. Caliper
                8. mm scale

                To proceed, follow these steps:

                1. Place the lens on a flat surface.
                2. Use the pencil or marking pen to make a small mark on the lens.
                3. Measure the distance between the marks using the caliper or mm scale.
                4. The midpoint of the measured distance is the optical center of the lens.

                This method will help you locate the optical center accurately.
                Last edited by sidepension; 10-31-2023, 05:18 AM.
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