Ever wonder about what it takes to build an optic?
A lot more goes on behind the scenes than most people realize. Not only does it take the resources to fabricate each and every piece, it takes highly-skilled optical technicians to assemble each component into a fully functional piece of machinery. From the chassis to the glass and everything in between, each optic is meticulously built to meet Maven's high standards to produce a highly-engineered functional work of art.
Check out the photo essay below to catch a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes for this unique manufacturing process.
At first glance, it might not appear that there’s much going on in an optic. However, there are many individual parts and elements that are needed to make a unit fully functional. These include the frame, glass, screws, diopter rings, focus wheels, logo badges, etc, etc. The Maven B.2 9x45mm binocular, for example, requires over 170 unique pieces. Popular Mechanics put together a great breakdown in their Things Come Apart series that visually illustrates just how many individual components are in a Maven B.2 binocular. Whether it’s the functional components or the cosmetic pieces, it’s an understatement to say that there is a lot of detail that goes into a single unit.
Because our B Series and S Series are handbuilt one by one, specialized tools are required to ensure every optic that goes out the door falls within our exact specifications. Whether it’s a collimator to test alignment or a gas purger to infuse an optic with inert gas, these specialized pieces of equipment are unique to the optics industry. Alongside these instruments, you’ll find power drills, compressed air, engraving machines, screw drivers, and a myriad of custom hand tools that have been fabricated to handle the macro details to fine-tune a build.
Well-oiled, fine-tuned, and efficient - these are just some adjectives to describe the assembly facility and process. Manufacturing is complicated so maintaining a standardized level of order is an important necessity when it comes to building optics. And as with any workshop, cleanliness plays a crucial role. When working with vacuum-sealed optics it becomes more imperative. Even a small bit of dust or smudge of oil inside an optic will render it out-of-spec, requiring it to be disassembled, cleaned, and re-assembled, tested, etc. Because of our stringent standards, we couldn’t produce a consistent, high-performance product without these high-priority requirements.
All of these details wouldn’t be of value without our most important asset of all - people. With extensive background knowledge and experience spanning decades, our technicians are, simply-put, experts in all things optics. With a comprehensive build checklist and inspection criteria, it’s not everyone that can consistently meet standards to withstand the rigors of fielduse. That’s on average 3-4 hours of tedious, dedicated time to build an optic from start to finish. Every hand-built optic has a minimum of six technicians that assembles, tests, examines, re-tests, and re-examines each unit before it’s released into the world.
When you combine all of these - the individual components, the tools, the factory, and the experts that keep the place humming - you get a recipe that is equally important to all aspects of the production process.
Next time you’re on a mountaintop admiring the view along with your Maven, you’ll realize just what it takes to build a world-class piece of equipment.