Jacking Up The Microscope

Microscope with machinists jack

Microscope with machinists jack

The stereo zoom microscope over the electronics bench lives on the end of long support arm that tends to be just slightly wobbly. Part of the problem is that the far end is anchored on the sponge-backed laminate flooring I put atop the bench, but it’d be slightly wobbly even with a firm base on the plywood bench top.

So I prop up the microscope with a machinist’s jack and it’s all stable & good.

This one happens to be from an ancient Starret 190 set that I accumulated along with some other tooling, but any of the cheap imitations would work just as well.

The two bubble level vials help get the microscope axis exactly perpendicular to the bench surface, which makes the difference between good overall focus and a blurred image with a single line in focus. Here the jack is vertical and the microscope is tilted slightly toward the edge of the bench; the jack has a pivot below its knurled top plate.

  1. #1 by Rob on 2012-07-03 - 22:12

    Prolly needed that contraption for reading the part number of the AMP 842448-2 HF PCB Filters? ;-)

    Nice one Ed!

    Keeps me thinking. Need to get my shop/storage shed IN ORDER

    • #2 by Ed on 2012-07-04 - 08:17

      reading the part number

      I admit to peering at SMD topmarks through the thing… [sigh]

      The next stage, I suppose, will be a micro-manipulation waldo.

      • #3 by Rob on 2012-07-04 - 09:32

        Seriously, tho, do you have any good recommendations for overall
        magnification? I look at coin dates sometimes, and part numbers ETC.
        Sometimes it helps for circuits too… I did the cataract thing when I was 42

        • #4 by Ed on 2012-07-04 - 10:57

          overall magnification

          Couldn’t live without the zoom knob on the side of that microscope!

          The range is 0.7x to 4.2x, so with 10x eyepieces it’s 7x to 42x. The field-of-view is about 18 mm at 10x, which is actually a bit too tight. So something with 5x overall magnification would be about right.

          Eks gave me a -0.7x lens that fits over the objective end, but that increases the working distance to the point where I can’t quite get my eyes in the right position with me on the chair and stuff on the bench; obviously, I need a lower workbench!