Small Microscope

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McMaster laser fault injection workstation showing microscope being used to focus and aim a laser. Jiusion-1000x installed

Originally created while researching basic microscopes for McMaster SCA/FI workstation. These need to see a rough idea of a die position, but not resolve individual transistors. Goals were:

  • Light enough to mount on 3018 Pro CNC Z axis
  • Compact => not get in the way of other tools such as laser
  • Relatively inexpensive (no more than $300?)

McMaster 2022-03-10 summary:

  • Currently using a Jiusion-1000x, although its just barely enough for my application (hard to tell if laser is fully focused)
  • Tried a USB2-MICRO-250X. Not enough magnification for me but otherwise nice
  • Ordered a surplus Dino-Lite AD4013MT, a high end USB microscope
  • Ordered a Nikon CM-10A from eBay Japan
  • A local friend has an Optem system I might be able to test

USB microscope


These are the most common professional option in this category. Common models appear to be the AM2111 (basic, ~$100) and AM3111 (more LEDs, variable brightness, $150). However they have relatively low resolution (0.3 MP)


AD-4013MT mcmaster.jpg

McMaster: ordered "Dino-Lite Premier2 1280x1024 USB Microscope AD-4013MT" for $300 on eBay. With a 1.3 MP camera I'm hoping this will produce a pretty decent image.

"The AD4013MT handheld digital microscope is a 1.3 MP camera with an aluminum alloy housing and interchangeable nozzle feature and a max resolution of 1280 x 1024. The MicroTouch feature on the handheld digital microscope gives users the option of taking a picture right from the scope itself. This model comes with both a standard open faced nozzle as well as a sealed transparent cap nozzle designed to protect the lens and built in LED lights from dust, debris and moisture common to certain work environments. The removable nozzle feature also provides the user the option of increasing working distance when using the digital microscope without any nozzle installed."



One of the least expensive microscopes on Amazon.


  • The first laser workstation used one of these
    • Usable for my application but just barely. Try to replace with something I enjoy using more
  • Knob changes both focus and zoom
  • Plastic cap can be removed
  • Needed more tension to keep balls stable
    • Locking nut was replaced with a 1/4-20 bolt after drilling through
  • USB combination cable is unreliable / bad contact sometimes
  • Ground off mounting stand and epoxied the remaining ball + shaft into a 3D printed adapter to allow mounting the microscope to t-slot



McMaster: fixed zoom which unfortunately wasn't enough for my application. Otherwise I liked the focus knob


Could be interesting to try....QX5 can be had for $15 on eBay

Modular tube

These can be used to make custom microscope assemblies. Some of these support epi illumination as well as ring illumination.


Above: unit with epi illumination from inspection machine. Far left: 90 degree steering mirror. Middle knobs: zoom and focus. Side port: for epi illumination fiber. Far right: a "Mituotyo M Plan Apo 20x SL" objective was attached



edmunds compact


Interesting but wasn't clear if enough magnification

Simple microscope

These are purpose built microscopes with more integrated chassis supporting typically a single viewing port and a single objective.

Mitutoyo VMU

Nikon CM

McMaster: although these are generally fairly expensive on eBay, I found one for $80. Let's see how it does!