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A couple years ago, I snagged a binocular inspection microscope off eBay for $40(cheep) because it was missing the stand. Made by American Optical, it has a .7x-3x zoom body with 10x eyepieces for a range of 7x to 30x Magnification. It a separate optical path for each eye, to maintain depth perception.
I have found this microscope to be super useful. Here are some things I use it for:
|For a quick and dirty stand I built a cantilevered design with manual adjustment and friction locking. Basically a wooden ring on a plastic stick. This worked, but it was tricky to adjust and the post interfered with larger circuit boards. The whole thing was top heavy and also used up valuable bench space. I used this for years.|
|Recently I have been working on some larger circuit boards that interfered with the stand a lot. I decided to build a better microscope mount, one that did not take up any bench space and was easier to adjust. In order to do this I attached some junk aluminum extrusion (from a sliding glass door) to the ceiling to serve as a track.|
|Next I fashioned a hanging carriage from some shower door rollers and aluminum scrap. A strip of wood spaces the track from the ceiling to provide clearince for the rollers.|
|Now that I had something to hang stuff from I needed a way to move the microscope up and down precisely. There were no tapped holes in the microscope body so I thought I had to hold it by its waist. I came up with this UFO looking design fashioned from an old music stand. That design came out pretty ugly.|
|There was a ~.260" blind hole at the rear of the microscope body, but it was not tapped. I was initially afraid to start jaming hardened steel taps into sensitive optical instruments, but eventually I gathered the courge to give it a shot. To my considerable relief, I managed to tap the hole without breaking anything. I could now hang the microscope body from a 3/8 bolt. I also traded the music stand for a length of acme screw I had left over from another project. The acme screw was threaded into the carriage. Hollow chrome tubing covers the lower half of the acme screw and contains the acme nut.|
|A short length of 80/20 extrusion forms the bearing and attachment point for the microscope. Boring a true hole in the 80/20 was quite exciting on my tiny lathe. I had to turn the spindle rpms down very slow to keep the thing from tearing itself off the faceplate due to imbalance.|
|Finally I added a small CFL floodlight. There is room for more lights on the sides.|
|I lucked out on the ergonomics, when a board is in the panavise and I am sitting on the stool the eyepieces are at a very comfortable height. In the future I would like to improve the mechanisms smoothness and rigidity, and possibly use an IR distance sensor+arduino+electric motor to provide autofocus.|