Microscope Stage Positioner: Rigid MakerBeam Edition

Rebuilding the XYZ stage positioner with MakerBeam aluminum struts, but without the steel brackets, produce a much more rigid result:

Microscope Stage Positioner - rigid Makerbeam
Microscope Stage Positioner – rigid Makerbeam

This requires drilling holes through the extrusions:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Makerbeam drilling
Microscope Stage Positioner – Makerbeam drilling

Running the center drill down until it just nicks the sides produces enough of a pilot hole through the center section to capture the 3 mm drill. If I had to drill enough holes to make a fixture worthwhile, I could probably eliminate the divots.

Two more holes + epoxied M3 brass inserts attached the 60 mm beam directly to the Z Axis stage, thereby eliminating the vertical beam and a steel bracket:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Makerbeam joints
Microscope Stage Positioner – Makerbeam joints

The M3 SHCS attaching the 100 mm beam goes through both beams. I think you could get the same result with a Tee Nut or a 12 mm Square Head bolt, should you have those lying around and don’t want to drill another hole. The Corner Cube screwed into both beams prevents rotation and helps ensure perpendicularity.

The Y stage now attaches directly to the beam, rather than through a pair of Corner Cubes, because I realized I wasn’t ever going to adjust its position.

The Z Axis stage stands on the plastic plate through a hellish mixture of metric and USA-ian screws. Basically, the 6-40 screws into the stage were long enough, the 6-32 screws through the plate fit the existing holes, and M3 screws are for MakerBeam:

Microscope Stage Positioner - Z Axis base
Microscope Stage Positioner – Z Axis base

To my utter astonishment, the threads in the end of the vertical beam had the proper alignment to let a Square Head bolt snug the beam against the 40 mm beam on the plate. As a result, the L Bracket just prevents the vertical beam from turning on the screw and the combination is as rigid as you (well, I) could want.

The 40 mm beam has two spurious holes, because I thought I could avoid drilling another hole in the baseplate. Nobody will ever notice.

After squaring and tightening everything, the 100 mm beam along the Y Axis is now horizontal within 0.2 mm and the X Axis is horizontal to better than I can measure.

It’s definitely Good Enough™ for me:

Microscope Stage Positioner - in use
Microscope Stage Positioner – in use

Remember, nothing exceeds like excess …

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