LensMechanix Frequently Asked Questions


What is LensMechanix?
LensMechanix is an application for mechanical engineers who package optical systems in CAD software. It’s currently available for SOLIDWORKS and Creo.  
LensMechanix loads OpticStudio design files (including lenses, materials, coatings, surface radii, edges, wavelengths, clear aperture location, sources, and detectors) into a CAD assembly. Mechanical engineers can then design mechanical geometry in their CAD platform 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 an application for mechanical engineers who package optical systems in CAD software.
What are the key benefits of using LensMechanix?
LensMechanix simplifies the transition from optical design to mechanical design. It streamlines the communication and workflow between optical and mechanical engineers, reducing errors and failed physical prototypes.

LensMechanix uses the optical component data from OpticStudio to create native CAD parts with actual lens dimensions, eliminating the need for STEP, IGES, or STL files. Mechanical engineers can build mechanical geometry from 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 for final 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’s the main functionality in LensMechanix?
LensMechanix loads optical components, sources, and detectors designed in OpticStudio directly into a CAD 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 it’s discouraged because LensMechanix does not include optimization functionality for lens designs. The latest version of OpticStudio is the 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 to compare the optical performance of the complete system with the original OpticStudio file. LensMechanix uses the same multi-threaded physics core used by OpticStudio 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. If your mechanical geometry does not have an assigned scatter profile, LensMechanix assumes it’s 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 features Analysis features Validation features
  • Load OpticStudio files into Creo
  • Save OpticStudio files from Creo
  • Reference optical construction geometry to create mechanical components

  • Run a ray trace with both optical and mechanical components
  • Define ray filters to easily identify issues
  • Define analysis settings
    • Ray Scattering and Ray Splitting
    • Ray trace precision settings
  • Assign scattering properties to mechanical components                                
  • Easily view performance of the optical system
    • Changes in spot size
    • Beam clipping validation
  • Image contamination validation




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

  • Enabling mechanical engineers to discover and resolve problems with their mechanical geometry before building a physical prototype or sending the design to the optical engineer for final review.
  • Making 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.
  • Simplifying the exchange of information between OpticStudio and CAD platforms like SOLIDWORKS and Creo.
  • Reducing the back-and-forth development iterations that inevitably cause delays, tax team resources, and increase costs.

Configuration and Compatibility

What are the system requirements to run LensMechanix?
Windows 7 (64 bit) or later is required to run all versions of LensMechanix.

  • SOLIDWORKS 2016 or later
For Creo:
  • Creo 4.0
  • Creo Parametric (Creo Direct is not supported)

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

Does LensMechanix work with design files from earlier versions of OpticStudio?
Yes. LensMechanix works with design files from all versions of OpticStudio, including Zemax 13 and earlier. However, some functionality may be limited, as LensMechanix uses the most recent libraries and features of the latest version of OpticStudio.

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 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.

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 Optical Performance Summary with default values of 1. You can change the allowable deltas directly in the Optical Performance Summary.

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 any CAD platforms other than SOLIDWORKS and Creo?
Not at this time. However, if you’re using a different platform that you’d like to see supported by LensMechanix, please email our Sales Team to let us know.
As a workaround, you can use the 3D Interconnect tool in SOLIDWORKS 2017 or later 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 multi-configuration designs? 
Yes. LensMechanix uses the conversion tool in OpticStudio to convert sequential multi-configuration designs to non-sequential multi-configuration designs. Although not all operands can currently be converted, we encourage you to email our Sales Team about which multi-configuration operands you’d like to be able to convert. All requests will be considered in the development of future LensMechanix releases.
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 team members using SOLIDWORKS or Creo need LensMechanix to open an assembly that was created in LensMechanix?
No. SOLIDWORKS or Creo 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 or ray trace information.

Licensing and pricing

How can I try LensMechanix at no cost?
You can try LensMechanix by downloading a free trial. The two-week trial includes all product functionality and sample files.

How much does LensMechanix cost?
LensMechanix is offered as an annual subscription. The annual subscription price is $5,900.

What’s included in the LensMechanix subscription?
The annual subscription 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 addition, LensMechanix Productivity Assurance is included to cover loss of your license.

Does LensMechanix require a hard-coded key like OpticStudio?
No. LensMechanix uses a softkey 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 Knowledgebase article.

For more information

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