Custom Fiber Optic Mandrel
A recent collaboration between TekRex and Megladon resulted in a super-compact fiber routing application. A mandrel system was designed to coil discrete lengths of fiber cable into the cassette, nesting them into one another. The size of the unit, with 7 nesting coils, over 460m of glass and 22 splices, is about the size of the typical wallet. The mandrel tool that made this work, like the rest of this product, had to be designed from the ground up to meet such a unique use case.
The mandrels are built as a cone with a flange, 3D printed at varying diameters to achieve the desired nesting. The diameters are chosen with the specifications of the glass in mind so that the fiber is not coiled past its stated bend radius. Striations created during filament-based printing can cause fiber coils to get caught, so the design team opted to leverage the DLP-powered, resin-based Carbon M2 printer for a smooth finish that the fiber coils can easily be removed from.
Once coiled, the lengths of fiber can be connected in parallel to a maximum length of nearly 460m of glass, or used individually down to a length of 3.19 meters, with many other lengths possible through various combinations of fiber spools. The combination of Megladon’s fiber optic knowledge and 3D printed products created a finished product that was previously unimaginable. The 3D printing also provided for quick revision changes and support for rapid changes in product design without significant cost penalty.