OLD Microscope - cleanup / digitizing (Project WITTSCOPE)

OLD Microscope - cleanup / digitizing (Project WITTSCOPE)

Postby mpedersen » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:40 am

Funny how things work. A few years back, while I was spawning all sorts of stuff, the only thing I had to take pictures with was my Nikon Coolpix 5700. Well, the stuff I was taking pictures of was "cool enough" to irritate an anonymous donor to basically send me my beloved QX5 Microscope - I think at that point in my life I was probably pretty financially strapped and it wouldn't have ever happened on my own. Since that point the QX5 has been a stalwart, with enough tinkering you can get some images that "get the point across" fairly well!

With the Filefish larvae, I think someone officially got fed up with the QX5 and decided to take things into their own hands. This time again, the donor was not looking for credit, however he didn't need to remain anonymous either. I've chosen to excerpt his message to me here:

Witt wrote:I put a microscope in the box for you. This was my first dissecting microscope given to me by a doctor in Georgia when I was a freshman. The optics are good and I have gotten some good images from this scope. It is a bit dusty as it has been on my shelf for a number of years. You will have to clean the optics and spruce it up a bit, but I wanted to pass it along to a good cause. The light base is pretty weak. I constructed some auxillary lights out of LEDs and flashlights to illuminate eggs and larvae. You will have to talk to John about making a microscope adapter for your camera. So, it might take you a bit of tinkering to get it working the way you want, but hell its free. Just keep up the good work and document some more great stufff.


That pretty much sums it up. GRANDE GRACIAS del Wittenrich! What Witt didn't think of was that this scope will someday be a collectors item that I can eBay for thousands! :shock:

PROJECT "WITTSCOPE"

So officially, I'd like to kick off "Project Wittscope"! I love how much character it has! Of course, I think this has been here now for at least TWO weeks. I owe it to Witt to get my butt in gear on this :oops:

So, here's the scope. I know NOTHING about scopes. Nothing about their care or what to do with them. Nothing about how I can improve it or adapt it to either of my digital cameras (the better one is currently the Nikon Coolpix 8700).

Image

Image

Image

Image

So, what do equipment and supplies do I need? How do I clean it up properly? How do I improve it? How do I "digitize" it? I know there's a fair amount of you out there with experience with this type of equipment! Weigh in!! I'll track the progress and of course, hopefully at some point we'll have a whole new point of view on baby Harlequin Filefish!!!

Matt
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Postby "Umm, fish?" » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:18 pm

Do you know anyone who can run a metal lathe for you?

This is what you'll need to make to adapt your camera for the scope:

http://www.truetex.com/micad.htm

You want the adapter to be an adjustable slip fit so that you can experiment and get the focal plane of the camera on the same plane as the other eyepiece so that the camera will quickly and easily take an in-focus photo of whatever it is you're looking at. I'm still working on that part with my set up.

As far as cleaning and care, Ron Shimek has a really good article on microscope care in issue 3 of his AHABS series:

http://www.ronshimek.com/ahabs.html

Thanks Witt! I'm looking forward to seeing what Matt can do!
Andy

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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:34 pm

"Umm, fish?" wrote:Do you know anyone who can run a metal lathe for you?


HMM. I actually do have a couple friend who do this kind of work, but they live 2 states over!!!!

"Umm, fish?" wrote:As far as cleaning and care, Ron Shimek has a really good article on microscope care in issue 3 of his AHABS series:

http://www.ronshimek.com/ahabs.html


Ah, but people have to pay for that one. I'm sure there's similar stuff out there online, for free...anyone? Of course, even better, can someone post some general "what to do" instructions / materials lists etc. here?
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Postby BaboonScience » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:04 pm

Matt
I hope that this helps a little...

I have rebuilt/restored every microscope that I use. It is really not hard, just takes practice. Special care must be taken for the optics. Mayn companies use special coatings on their lenses. These coatings are easily scratched and can also be altered by use of the wrong cleaning solutions. In addition, many companies use adhesives to secure lenses and prisms in the microscope head.

Your scope looks like it is very restorable. Is that base plate painted glass or some other material. If glass, I would clean the paint off so that you can use reflective and refractive light.

Some helpful links for cleaning and maintaining.
http://webpages.charter.net/balplanman/maintenance.htm
http://microscopy.fsu.edu/primer/index.html


Digital camera mounting.
http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... mount.html

http://truetex.com/micad.htm
http://www.barrie-tao.com/microscope_photo.html

These are some sites with lots of links and additional information. The UK site has been particularly helpful.
Last edited by BaboonScience on Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby "Umm, fish?" » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:06 pm

You can purchase the issue individually for $6. It seems like a decent investment to me as he goes into great detail. But you are right, you might be able to find it all free somewhere.

I have a friend with a large home metal shop, but he lives a good 1.5 hours away. He's told me he'll teach me how to make all of the parts but I just need to find the time....
Andy

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Postby "Umm, fish?" » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:08 pm

Wow! Cool links!
Andy

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Re:

Postby BaboonScience » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:03 pm

"Umm, fish?" wrote:Wow! Cool links!


Thanks Andy
Microscope health is what keeps me from going blind.
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Postby fishguttz » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:33 pm

Celestron makes a USB adapter for microscopes. Could this work?

http://www.celestron.com/c2/product.php ... ProdID=452
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Postby "Umm, fish?" » Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:48 am

Hey Matt, I just read a fun little article on Strobist that might help you.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/11/on-assignment-zebra-fish-and-zygotes.html

On a whim, I replaced the eyepiece and put on a 50mm lens. Then I sloooowly lowered my camera down until the front element of my lens gently rested on the eyepiece glass.

...

I couldn't believe how clear it was. I don't know if it was the specific optical designs of my lens and the scope's lens, but it sure worked.


Maybe you should try this with your camera before you spend a lot of effort on making an adapter? I know I'm going to try it the next chance I get.
Andy

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Re:

Postby BaboonScience » Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:09 am

fishguttz wrote:Celestron makes a USB adapter for microscopes. Could this work?

http://www.celestron.com/c2/product.php ... ProdID=452


I know that I have seen eyepiece usb adapters on ebay. Supposed to work well but I have a trinoc with a camera mont on my scopes, so I have not had the incentive to try. As I recall, they were not that expensive. Probably third party manufactured by the same company that the high end devices are outsourced to.
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Postby mpedersen » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:12 am

So, I took the first steps of cleaning everything up this evening. Most of those links were way more than I needed, and so specific to the particular type of scope, and without graphics, that this layperson kinda say 'f-it' and just got his hands dirty.

The lights were all in good working order. I'd say the main issue with the scope was simply dust. On the parts that were simply exterior surfaces, I simply used windex and paper towels. Then came the optix of the eyepiece - this was by far the dirtiest part of the entire scope. I hit them with air first to blow away loose dust, didn't do much. I then used a lens cleaning fluid which I sprayed onto a lens cloth (both items I have for camera lens use). That cleaned up the eyepieces nicely. I slid them out and used an air duster to blow out the interior portion...didn't seem to have anything come out. Put it all back together, got those tiny screws tight..looks like we're good to go.

Then the are the lower optics, the lenses above the stage. There is a cone-shaped shroud that is held in place by three tiny screws....these screw into a silver band, which you use to rotate between the lenses. These screws were loose, which made changing between views difficult. Of course, even my smallest screwdriver was too large, but I didn't let that stop me. I cut apart an aluminum can, folded a small square in half, and cut it into the proper shape to fit into the screw. Viola, instant flimsy screwdriver.

Well, it worked. I got the shroud off, and air-cannoned the dust away. the exteriors of the lenses needed cleaning, so again I used the lens cleaner and lens cloth on these. What I assume are the higher magnification lenses have problems internally, specifically there is a big chunk of dust in there. I'm not sure how to get that out just yet, nor am I sure how much it affects the view (in fact, things were great just looking through it while it was all still DIRTY!). At any rate, I may have to go into this, but opening up these sealed areas is something I will want to research further.

So, phase one, exterior clean, complete :)

Matt
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Postby mpedersen » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:24 am

So, my big question, since I haven't used this type of scope. Should I see the same thing through both eyepieces?
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Postby aomont » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:35 am

Yeap !
The left eyepiece have an "extra" focus device so you can have it right in both eyes. Then you´ll need the distance between the eyepiece to match your eyes distance.
Then you have to get used to everything together. :lol: Easier said, I know.
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:26 pm

aomont wrote:Yeap !
The left eyepiece have an "extra" focus device so you can have it right in both eyes.


So what if I see one view through one eyepiece, and a totally different view through the other? I.e., I feel like if I placed a bead on the stage, I'd see it in one eyepiece but not the other..
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Re:

Postby aomont » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:57 pm

mpedersen wrote:I.e., I feel like if I placed a bead on the stage, I'd see it in one eyepiece but not the other..

Have you actually done that ? If that happens, it may not be properly aligned (from transport or clean-up maybe) and it's better to seek someone who works with microscopes for a hands-on help.
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:03 pm

aomont wrote:Have you actually done that ?


Scratches on the blue stage don't match up at all...
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Postby KathyL » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:53 am

Forgive me if you already know this:

Adjust the lateral placement of the eyepieces until you can see with both of them. Focus the scope with the main knob with something to look at on the stage, looking with your right eye only. Holding that focus, rotate the left eyepiece until that eye is also in focus. Don't change that eyepiece, and you should have a focused view with both eyes at whatever you focus the main knob on, forevermore. Until your eyes change, or you put on glasses....
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:00 am

So guys, I figured out how to use the scope this evening. It's old school I think.

I had incorrectly assumed that when rotating between the two magnification levels, it would stop at one spot or the other, and then you focus from there. WRONG!

First, I have to rotate the main column / cylinder, which brings in one image (i.e. the left) from the top, and the other image (aka. the right) from the bottom. When these two images merge into one vertically, we're halfway there.

THEN I turn the knob on it to adjust depth of field focus, and viola, I got some really cool 3 dimensional looks at a 20 day old Oxymonacanthus longirostris.

So the next step, the taking pictures step? Well, I tried simply taking my Coolpix 8700 to the eyepiece...no dice. even on a tripod, with supplemental light, it's not enough. So 100%, I need to figure out some sort of adapter setup...maybe I can use my older 5700 for that (as long as I don't need "macro mode"...hmm.

That's all I have for the moment ;)

Matt
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Postby mpedersen » Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:37 am

So I looked at how that stuff was being set up, and realized that I didn't need any special mount to do what those were showing, I only needed to put the camera on a tripod and get it set in place.

However, everything was much more magnified...i.e. even at the lowest magnification I could only get the HEAD of a 6 mm filefish larvae into the frame. I'm sucking the pictures out now...I took enough to create a gigantic composit of a 20 day old filefish larvae, but it'd be a heck of a lot easier to just get it all in one shot!!!

Thoughts?

Matt
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