Image for post
Image for post
Current Microscope Setup with the DIY scanning stage hardware and software.

TURNING AN 30+ YEAR OLD MICROSCOPE INTO A MORE MODERN MICROSCOPE.

THE PROCESS OF MAKING A CUSTOM MADE MICROSCOPE SCANNING STAGE.

Maurice Mikkers
Jun 25, 2016 · 21 min read
Image for post
Image for post
The Images from the original Nikon TMD Inverted microscope. More technical information can be found in these PDF’s: Standard TMD, DIC and Epi Fluorescence.

The Diaphot microscope was designed for photo micrography, with photographic capability built into the optical system. The optical design utilises a built-in binocular body, inclined at 45 degrees, and only one reflecting surface in the microscope body to reduce reflections and glare and maximise image contrast.

What also makes is special is that it it comes with DIC optics (something that is very hard to get your hands on for a microscope in this “league” and budget). Next to that it was locally available at a trustworthy vendor. So I decided to go there to check it out, since you can only make such a final decision by actually using and testing it in a real life situation. Testing it with your own slides, and see if it would really be the ideal new workhorse.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Left: Crop from an image on the web showing the original mount — Right: the milled version on my microscope mount.

WHAT IS A (DIGITAL PHOTO) SCANNING STAGE.

The goals I had with this new setup and its modifications is to get more functions, a better work flow, time reduction, higher resolution pictures and a smaller error mage in the images. To do this I needed to build a digital photo scanning stage.

Image for post
Image for post
A simple example of a comprehensive grid imaging example, having 10 X axis rows and 10 Y axis column resulting in 100 images that need to be stitched together.

MORE INFO ABOUT THE HARDWARE PROCESS.

During the process of modding the microscope to give it a digital scanning stage, I came along some other “problems” that I wanted to fix.

Image for post
Image for post

(THE MAKING OF) THE DIGITAL SCANNING STAGE AND OTHER MODIFICATIONS TO THE MICROSCOPE:

Below you can find more information on the parts that are added to the microscope including the parts for the Digital photography scanning stage.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Autodesk Fusion 360 — Render of the “Controller enclosing”
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
“Controller enclosing” placed in the old second camera viewing port.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Autodesk Fusion 360 — Render of the “step motor connector for the X stage control”
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
“Step motor connected to the x stage knob”
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Autodesk Fusion 360 — Render of the “step motor connector for the Y stage control”
Image for post
Image for post
Step motor connected to stage table and the time belt with gear.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Autodesk Fusion 360 — Render of the “Stage time belt connector”
Image for post
Image for post
Stage time belt connector connected to the stage and time belt.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Autodesk Fusion 360 — Render of the “Gear Pulley Bracket”
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Images of the current situation and attachment to the table.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Autodesk Fusion 360 — Render of the “stage plate with specimen slide holder”
Image for post
Image for post
Stage specimen plate clip in place.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Autodesk Fusion 360 — Render of the “Lamp socket fix”
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Lamp cable into stable socket connector.

THE FINAL WORKING RESULT OF THE MICROSCOPES HARDWARE DIGITAL SCANNING STAGE:

Below you will see four images that will give you a “360” view of the final result of the microscope.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Complete “360” view on the final result of the modded microscope.
Some of the hardware movements controlled by the software. Some part are with big steps 150–300 steps at a time and others are 1 to 25 steps at a time making it way more accurate.

HOW DOES THE SOFT- AND HARD- WARE WORK?

To make it “simple”, there are two parts that make the scanning stage work like it does now.

Image for post
Image for post
A screenshot of the GUI that communicates with the control board trough the serial port.
Image for post
Image for post
When choosing your start location t is important to pick a spot that is say a 3 frames on the X and Y axis away from the top left corner of the area you want to index.

THE SCANNING STAGE IN PROGRESS.

Reading the above might not give you a full idea of how this then works when used, so I made a screen recording while I’m using the scanning stage. Below in the video you see the proces of photographing a crystalised tear with an total enlargement of 250X (10X objective 10X oculair 2.5X Camera), resulting in the final result of a 300 MP ( 17364 x 17364 pixels) photo of a crystalised tear.

Video showing a screen recording of the software in use and the progress during the capturing of the images when the DIY scanning stage is in use. This is a accelerated version of the +/- 25–35minute process. ( The images are taken with a 10x objective resulting with the camera in a total enlargement of 250X).
Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot of the 350 images pre-rendered by Autopano Giga, showing a great RMS score.
Image for post
Image for post

FUTURE PLANS AND ADDITIONS TO THE HARD- AND SOFT -WARE OF THE SCANNING STAGE.

Since my mind often is full of new ideas when I’m not even ready with the frist version I decided this time to first present you this version and later extent its features software and hardware wise. So what will I be adding in the future?


MICROGRAPH STORIES

Visualising the everyday things we encounter and consume in…

Maurice Mikkers

Written by

Independent Photography Professional from The Hague (The Netherlands) http://www.mauricemikkers.nl #Micrographs #Science #Tech #Art #Creative #Concepts

MICROGRAPH STORIES

Visualising the everyday things we encounter and consume in our daily life.

Maurice Mikkers

Written by

Independent Photography Professional from The Hague (The Netherlands) http://www.mauricemikkers.nl #Micrographs #Science #Tech #Art #Creative #Concepts

MICROGRAPH STORIES

Visualising the everyday things we encounter and consume in our daily life.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store