Stock optical components are very attractive option for a developer. You get parts ASAP, keep prototyping costs down and one gets fitting optomechanical parts to go, and you can do all by yourself as well. Then again, there are whole factories spewing out same parts to your competitor, with same instructions and howto’s. So it comes down to this: what SPECIAL can you do with stock optical parts? Turns out, quite a lot. However, they might need an optical engineer to pull them off. I’ll go through some examples of common tripping points of stock optical components, and a short description on how an optical designer can overcome them.