From Microwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Information on microscope heavy duty chassis suitable for making custom microscope assemblies. The main issue is that most metallurgical microscopes have the XY stage integrated into a Z focus assembly that can't take a lot of weight and has little Z clearance. As motors and other accessories are added it may run out of clearance or be too heavy to operate correctly.

In lieu of this its generally better to get a microscope where the Z axis moves the optics instead of the stage. Often these are sold as a "toolmaker microscope." Some example microscopes using a heavy duty chassis like this:

  • Olympus BHMJ
  • Minnetonka Precision
  • Mitutoyo toolmaker
  • McBain Z-Scope
  • Nikon toolmaker
  • Probe stations

The least expensive / most common is probably to get an Olympus BHMJ mount. These can be mounted on hardware store steel pipe to quickly and inexpensively make custom frames. The main disadvantage is it won't be as stable as other options (TODO: add picture of IR microscope).

Another option is to take a commodity metallurgical microscope and remove the original Z axis + XY stage entirely and add a new Z axis attached to the base. A good example of this type of setup can be found here:

BH2 Toolmaker

Mcmaster chassis.jpg.jpg

Above: McMaster 2 left, McMaster 1 right. 1 originally looked more like 2 but the bottom illuminator and original XY stage were removed

I've never been able to positively identify who makes it. The common parts are:

  • Focus: crank for coarse focus as well as medium-fine focus knobs like on traditional microscopes
  • Bottom illuminator
  • Mitutoyo digimatic for Z measurement

Comparison as received:

Component Mc1 Mc2
XY stage Style 1

Large Mitutoyo manual

Style 2

Large Mitutoyo manual

Observation tube Trinocular standard Trinocular ergonomic
Objectives Mitutoyo M Plan Apo Olympus NeoDPlan, MSPlan
Illuminator BH2-UMA

LH-50 lamphouse

BH2-UMA (broken)


Focus: there is a slip plate that will very slowly drift over time. If you are doing sensitive measurements that need to maintain focus over long times, you might consider using locktite to put it in place. More info here

McMaster 2

Z top:

Multi-Axis Measurement System
Scientific Instrument Co.


Date 12-00 Due 12-01

XY stage: