True Performance Never Fears Change

It Defies The Status Quo

**Shane Santi, Dream's founder and owner, has been studying optics since 1994. He was a professional photographer for 13 years, using everything from 4x5 large-format to numerous medium formats to 35mm and specialized rotating lens panoramic slit cameras which utilized a curved film plane. This included over a decade of traditional black & white darkroom experience, which taught him that a 0.5°F difference in the developer temperature would show tonal differences in the fiber prints. This reinforced a concept he had noticed his whole life; small details matter, when you are open to noticing them, and they are affecting the final outcome.
**He's been designing, building and taking things apart since he was in single digits. Shane's had a life-long obsession with the mechanics of structures, space, flight, technology and generally understanding why things tick. He lives in the details because of his desire to know why, which leads to an unquenchable desire for discovery. Each time a question is answered (discovery), it becomes knowledge, which leads to deeper questions. Over time this leads to a deep knowledge. He willingly shares this knowledge because it promotes Shane's goal of moving opto-mechanical structures into the modern era, since higher performance means greater scientific discoveries. This affinity to details and performance has made Dream's composite work desireable to other industries as well; bio-medical, precision housings, rocketry, etc.

"Hello Shane, I can't think of anyone who has delved as deeply into the mechanics of telescopes as you have."
- Dream customer
**After reading numerous scientific papers (similar to 3rd paragraph Answer 2 links) quantifying the much larger than expected performance losses associated with solid mirrors used in dynamic temperature environments and seeing the unique qualities of carbon fiber used by other high-tech industries (jets, off-shore race boats, F1 race cars, etc.), Shane formed Dream in 2003, for two main reasons;
1.) to combine the complementary technologies of modern carbon fiber with lightweight mirrors and
2.) to solve the nearly century-old problem of print-through in lightweight mirrors.
**He wanted to use carbon fiber, especially carbon fiber skinned sandwich core (CFSC - see photo & description to the right) to produce athermal telescopes and use it more extensively than he had ever seen. In moderate to larger diameter telescope systems steel, Invar and aluminum are the most commonly used materials. Since any high-density component can create thermal and mechanical losses (self-weight deflection) to system performance, it was not difficult to connect the dots, that CFSC was an ideal material. One of the most important areas is the use of lightweight, high stiffness carbon fiber mirror mounts that more closely match the mirrors, providing higher and more consistent performance as both telescope angle and temperature change. He knew that a lighter, more mechanically & thermally stable total system could; slew faster, hold optical alignment tolerances better and be far closer to thermal stealth. All features that promote, instead of degrade, total system performance.
**Shane recognized that he could take aerospace composite technology and optimized it further for the unique & extreme thermo and mechanical tolerances that are faced in modern opto-mechanical and electro-optical instruments.

****- low mass,
****low CTE and
****- extreme stiffness.

**In 2002 and 2003 he quickly discovered that standard composite companies had little to no knowledge of optical systems, little to no knowledge of stiffness (not strength) and the extreme requirements that come with them, as well as little desire to work with such a demanding customer. This began a long series of unexpected trials where Dream was forced to take over more and more aspects of the systems, in order to control and achieve the quality desired. The benefit of the long years of R&D can be seen in Dream's in-house designed & produced stainless steel inserts, to the extreme rugged performance (see CFSC screwdriver video) of Dream's advanced composites. Chasing real-world performance has to be driven by a person who understands why each parameter needs such critical control. Otherwise no company will invest in the additional time, effort and expertise that is required. Over the past 15 years Dream has compiled a team of experts in numerous fields that share Shane's desire to chase real-world performance.
**As soon as space was leased in 2003 Shane designed the largest composite oven that Dream still uses today. It is 12' wide, 6' deep, 6' high and was upgraded in 2013 after a decade of use, going from 10k watts to 33k watts. It can maintain a tight temperature tolerance of +/-1°F, which is roughly one magnitude tighter than normal aerospace composite ovens. Dream's resin content is 20-40x more tightly controlled than standard pre-pregs from a decade ago and 2-4x more tightly controlled than industry-leading space-qualified prepregs today. This is driven by the incredibly tight tolerances of high-performance optical system, as well as Dream's relentless focus on actual and measureable performance, which requires unusually high consistency in the parts.
**Companies are more recently using open-market carbon fiber in one or two components of opto-mechanical systems but buyer beware as these "carbon fiber" systems often use only 5-10% carbon fiber for the structures, while 90-95% remain metals. Look carefully and ask direct, pointed questions like, what percentage of the structural weight is carbon fiber? Is the carbon fiber actually taking the load or is it only cosmetic? How many components use CFSC? Dream has always used its engineered carbon fiber, especially CFSC, extensively in the structures it produces. We are currently using them in rocketry and other industries as well, due to Dream's expertise with CFSC and the large performance gains they offer.

Dream consistently averages 95% carbon fiber and only 5% metals for the weight of the structures in its athermal telescopes. (no optics)

**Shane began researching lightweight mirrors of all types nearly 25 years ago. This was brought on by his interest in understanding seeing, since it is a variable (detail) that degrades system performance. "Seeing" can come from numerous sources and each source is often complex; mirror, telescope, observatory, ground effect, etc. Understanding each source to a deeper level has allowed Dream's products to break new performance grounds. One of Dream's 0.4m telescopes is outperforming all other telescopes in a mulit-year NASA program, with some of those telescopes being as large as 1m, proving what Ritchey showed 100 years ago; quality of the total installed system matters far more than aperture, when the other systems are ignoring deeper level details.

Dream's full opto-mechanical systems attain superior mechanical and thermal stability by combining Dream's other core technology; zeroDELTA engineered, lightweight mirrors. This provides higher resolution, greater throughput, less down time and virtually no maintenance.

By design Dream's in-house technologies produce athermal telescopes.

**Dream's tailored composites offer extreme stiffness and produce an athermal instrument when combined with Dream's zeroDELTA engineered, lightweight mirrors. This makes them ideal for mirror mounts, including for zero-expanion mirror materials. This can eliminate the need for complex flexures, while offering higher performance. Dream's systems achieve the same extreme level of performance day after day, year after year, while having the lowest maintenance. What many have considered an atmospheric limit, may in fact be traditional mirror seeing.

Other Carbon Fiber Parts
biomedical backboard, rigid backboard, carbon fiber board
carbon fiber structures for space, carbon fiber space structures, cyanate ester, space qualified carbon fiber

The above strut is a prime example of the substantial gains that Dream achieves with its optimized carbon fiber skinned sandwich core parts. The strut is 55.7" long, weighs only 1.85 pounds and is shown in a 3-point bend arrangement under 195 lbs of load.
rocketry, IRAC, Spaceport America Cup,

Dream's carbon fiber is also superb for zero-expansion mirror materials like Astro-Sittal, Clear-Ceram, fused silica, ULE, Zerodur, etc. Click below to see a carbon fiber structure for a 25" Cassegrain that used ULE mirrors.


Connection points in any opto-mechanical or electro-optical system are often the cause of a loss in stiffness and therefore performance. This page shows the pull-out strength of Dream's stainless steel inserts used within the Dream CFSC parts.

"Your company does phenomenal work. There is a lot of thought and heart that goes into your products. Dream's engineering sets their lightweight mirrors apart from competitors. Your engineering goes beyond the lightweight aspect. You focus on actual performance!"

- Ted Kamprath

39 years in professional optics, using everything from million dollar test rooms to 144" Continuous Polishers. He's spent his career using the latest in technologies, methods, materials & science to finish precision optics.

Contact Dream to discuss your project's needs or to learn about our two standard lines of telescopes.

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