ACute3D: A Compact, Cost-Effective, 3-D Printed Laser Autocollimator

Qingxin Meng, Julian Stirling, William J. Wadsworth, Richard W. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


The ACute3D is a compact laser autocollimator, capable of precise angle measurement in two orthogonal directions over a maximum measurement range of 7200\times5300 arcsec. The measurement uncertainty over the middle third of its range is less than 3 arcsec. Our novel design exploits the geometric freedom of fused filament 3-D printing to realize a monolithic optomechanical assembly. The monolithic block makes the instrument compact, lightweight, stiff, and resistant to drift, as well as minimizing alignment during assembly and minimizing cost. Our openly licensed design together with our use of digital fabrication makes this autocollimator convenient to customize or integrate into larger instruments. The total bill of materials cost is around 200, making precise angle measurement available in a wide range of contexts. We demonstrate an application of the ACute3D by measuring the angular deviation of a precision linear stage, showing that our design is ready for typical laboratory use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5012111
JournalIEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
Early online date13 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

This work was supported in part by the Engineering and
Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under Grant EP/R013969/1,
in part by the Royal Society under Grant URF\R1\180153 and Grant
RGF\EA\181034, in part by the University of Bath, and in part by the
Global Challenges Research Fund. The Associate Editor coordinating the
review process was Dr. Rosenda Valdés Arencibia. (Corresponding author:
Qingxin Meng.)


  • 3-D printing
  • open source hardware
  • optical sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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