LensMechanix Frequently Asked Questions


What is LensMechanix?
LensMechanix® is a Certified Gold Partner SOLIDWORKS add-in by Zemax™ that gives mechanical engineers the tools to package, analyze, and validate their mechanical designs directly in SOLIDWORKS.  
LensMechanix loads OpticStudio design files (including lenses, materials, coatings, surface radii, edges, wavelengths, clear aperture location, sources, and detectors) into a SOLIDWORKS assembly. Mechanical engineers can then design mechanical geometry in SOLIDWORKS around the optical components, run ray traces to analyze the impact of the mechanical components on the optical performance, and correct any mechanical issues before building a physical prototype. LensMechanix uses the same ray trace engine that OpticStudio uses for simulation and analysis.
Is LensMechanix a version of OpticStudio inside of SOLIDWORKS?
No. LensMechanix is an independent product that is used for designing mechanical components for optical systems.
Is LensMechanix part of OpticStudio?
No. LensMechanix is complementary to but separate from OpticStudio. LensMechanix is licensed separately as
a SOLIDWORKS add-in.
Who is LensMechanix designed for?
LensMechanix is designed for mechanical engineers who design mechanical components around optical designs that are created in OpticStudio.

What are the key benefits of using LensMechanix?
LensMechanix simplifies the transition from optical design to optomechanical design. It streamlines communication and workflow between optical and mechanical engineers, reducing errors and failed physical prototypes.
LensMechanix uses the optical component data from OpticStudio to automatically create SOLIDWORKS component parts with actual lens dimensions, eliminating the need for STEP, IGES, or STL files. Within minutes, mechanical engineers can start building mechanical geometry from the dimensionally accurate optical components, run ray traces, and perform surface power analysis. LensMechanix enables you to:
  • Create a virtual prototype of your optomechanical design to assess its performance.
  • Get accurate analysis results from Zemax’s industry-leading ray tracing engine.
  • Easily detect and correct mechanical geometry that impacts optical system performance, such as stray light contamination, image clipping, and image focus issues—before you build a physical prototype or send the complete design to optical engineers to review.
  • Build accurate physical prototypes more quickly, so you avoid repeated prototypes and manufacturing mistakes.
  • Improve your workflow and reduce development iterations so you get to market faster.
  • Reduce the stress and delays on the team that come from repeated design iterations.


What is the main functionality in LensMechanix?
LensMechanix loads optical components, sources, and detectors designed in OpticStudio directly into a SOLIDWORKS assembly as live geometry and preserves the component data. You can run a ray trace through the system to identify problems (such as stray light and beam clipping) and to compare optical performance to the original OpticStudio output in the mechanical environment.
A simple chart shows pass/fail results for image quality and stray light metrics so you can quickly assess the performance of your optomechanical design. LensMechanix also stores detailed data results so you can quickly troubleshoot the design or gather additional insights.
Is it possible to design lenses in LensMechanix?
Yes, but this is discouraged because LensMechanix does not have optimization functionality for lens designs. The latest version of OpticStudio is our recommended software for designing lenses. LensMechanix comes with a lens catalog of standard lenses; you can also add custom lenses.
Can I run ray traces in LensMechanix?
Yes. After LensMechanix loads an OpticStudio design file, you can run ray traces and perform surface power analysis to compare the optical performance of the complete system with the original OpticStudio file. LensMechanix uses the same Zemax multi-threaded physics core used by OpticStudio and relied on by NASA to analyze and validate your complete product designs.
Does LensMechanix work with both sequential and non-sequential designs?
Yes. LensMechanix loads both sequential and non-sequential designs. If a sequential file is loaded, LensMechanix automatically converts it to a non-sequential file.
Does LensMechanix work with reflective surfaces, scattering surfaces, or mirrors?
Yes. LensMechanix ships with 11 standard material scatter profiles. You can also load your own scatter profile in .isx or .bsdf file format. For any mechanical geometry that does not have a scatter profile assigned to it, LensMechanix assumes it is a perfect reflective surface during a ray trace.
Does LensMechanix work with off-axis systems?
Yes. LensMechanix loads off-axis systems that are designed in OpticStudio.
Does LensMechanix account for thermal deformations?
No. LensMechanix accounts for changes in refractive indexes in different environmental conditions, but not thermal deformations.
What packaging, analysis, and validation tools are included in LensMechanix?
LensMechanix includes a suite of tools to analyze optical performance and validate optomechanical systems.
Packaging tools Analysis tools Validation tools
Loading tool for  sequential and non-sequential designs Baseline ray trace Optical Performance Summary (OPS)
Computational Domain Full ray trace Automatic ray filtering
Construction geometry Ray filtering Spot size validation
  Surface power analysis Beam clipping validation
  Ray scattering Image contamination validation
  Ray splitting  
  Ray animation  



How does LensMechanix improve the workflow between optical engineers and mechanical engineers?

  • Enables mechanical engineers to discover and resolve problems with their mechanical geometry before building a physical prototype or sending the design to the optical engineer to review.
  • Makes it possible for optical and mechanical engineers to work in their preferred environments and to share data without file format conversions. For example, optical engineers receive and analyze integrated designs in OpticStudio that mechanical engineers send as .zmx or .zar files.
  • Simplifies the exchange of information between SOLIDWORKS and OpticStudio.
  • Reduces the back-and-forth development iterations that inevitably cause delays, tax team resources, and drive up costs.

Configuration and Compatibility

What are the system requirements to run LensMechanix?

  • Windows 7 (64 bit) or later
  • SOLIDWORKS 2015 or later

Do I need OpticStudio to use LensMechanix?
No. LensMechanix is a separate tool. The optical engineer can have OpticStudio on one computer while the optomechanical engineer has LensMechanix on a separate computer.

Does LensMechanix work with design files from earlier versions of OpticStudio (and Zemax)?
Yes. LensMechanix works with design files from all versions of OpticStudio, including Zemax 13 and earlier.

Can I still baseline the performance of my optical system if I don’t have a sequential file from OpticStudio?
Yes. However, LensMechanix will establish the baseline by using only the optical components. You still need to enter the performance tolerances manually in LensMechanix. To do so, change the allowable deltas in the Optical Performance Summary (OPS).

Where do I get the allowable deltas for the optical performance?
You get the allowable delta from the engineer who created the optical design.  LensMechanix automatically populates the OPS with default values of 1. You can change the allowable deltas directly in the OPS.

Can files from other design programs besides OpticStudio files be loaded into LensMechanix?
No. LensMechanix loads only OpticStudio files. However, OpticStudio can convert Synopsys® Code V® files into OpticStudio files, which you can then load into LensMechanix.

Does LensMechanix work with other CAD software besides SOLIDWORKS?
No, not natively. Currently LensMechanix is an add-in for only SOLIDWORKS. However, you can use the 3D Interconnect tool in SOLIDWORKS 2017 to load parts and assemblies from other CAD packages. The parts are treated like SOLIDWORKS parts and work with LensMechanix. For more information about the 3D Interconnect tool, see SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect.

Does LensMechanix support multiconfiguration designs? 
Yes, provided they are non-sequential multiconfiguration designs. LensMechanix does not convert sequential multiconfiguration designs to non-sequential multiconfiguration designs.

Does LensMechanix include tolerancing tools?
No. However, LensMechanix displays optical tolerances that are defined in OpticStudio, but does not currently have tools to dimension mechanical components.

Do other SOLIDWORKS users need LensMechanix to open an assembly that was created in LensMechanix?
No. SOLIDWORKS users can open an assembly with all components if they don’t have LensMechanix. However, the optical components will be loaded as mechanical components and the user will not be able to view any of the optical properties.

Licensing and pricing

What is the price of LensMechanix?
LensMechanix is offered as an annual subscription. The annual subscription price is $5,600.

What is included in the price?
The annual subscription price includes product enhancements, feature updates, and support throughout the year. Discounts are available for 5 or more seats. Deeper discounts are available for 10 or more seats. Network licenses are available for 2 or more seats. In addion, Lensmechanix Productivity Assurance is included to cover loss of your license

Is there a discount for LensMechanix if I have OpticStudio?

Does LensMechanix require a hard-coded key like OpticStudio?
No. LensMechanix uses a soft key license. It does not use hard-coded USB keys.

Are shared network licenses available for LensMechanix?
Network licenses are available for organizations with two or more user seats. For information about how to install a network license, see the Knowledge Base article on the Zemax website.

For more information

Whom do I contact if I have questions?
For questions, please email sales@zemax.com.

Where can I learn more about LensMechanix?
Visit the Resources page on the Zemax website for articles, written and video tutorials, white papers, and other useful information. Check out recorded and upcoming webinars, and see some of the industry leaders who are taking advantage of LensMechanix. Try out LensMechanix by downloading a free trial. The two-week trial includes all product functionality and sample files.