A Home Made Stage for Stereo Microscopes

By Daniel Holloway

Illinois USA


I do most of my microscope work with the compound microscope. After many hours or days peering and photographing I need a change. I find that change with my Lomo MBC-10 stereo microscope. Beetles, spiders, flys and various other backyard, window sill subjects are available during the summer and fall.

I have grown accustomed to using the x-y mechanical stage with my compound microscopes and really wanted one on the stereoscope. After checking for prices and having a tough time finding one for a Lomo I decided to try to make one for myself.

The prices were too high for someone like me who uses the stereoscope only occasionally. So I went to the drawing board and came up with a simple solution that works for me and cost me about $27.00 (US).

Below is a step by step description of how this can be done. (Any wood can be substituted for those I used). Obtain an inexpensive graduated mechanical stage attachment. You can buy these on eBay for about $25.00. Precision World has them. They look like this.

On the underside are two short pins and the thread on the thumb bolt that would ordinarily attach to a metal stage. Here is the underside.

I used a poplar square piece of board for my base. In order for the graduated mechanical stage attachment to sit level on the board you need to make three holes. I used an awl for the pin holes and made them a little oversized by rotating the awl. The hole for the threaded bolt needs to be very close the size of the bolt so you get no jiggle. I used a drill bit to make this hole. I didn't do this, but the hole on the underside where the bolt comes though could be counter sunk and a nut of the proper size used to tighten the parts together. Here is the drilled board.

The board must be very flat on both sides to prevent rocking, which would take your specimen in and out of focus.

Now you need to make a small carrier for a slide or specimen. I made mine out of a thin piece of oak. It needs to be larger than a slide with a stop on either end of the carrier to secure the slide. I used wood toothpicks as stops. Here is the carrier.

The slide should fit snug in the carrier. You need the carrier because a slide alone sometimes slips under the spring loaded clamps on the mechanism as you move it right and left. The oak carrier is thick enough that this cannot happen. Here is the board with mechanism.

And here is the completed home made stage! (The construction paper below the slide is really black.)

Now I can place a specimen on the slide or on the carrier and by placing one hand on an empty place on the board I can move the specimen up or down a very short distance. This comes in handy for anaglyph photography too. The reason I chose black felt and black construction paper is because some subjects look better with a black or white background. For a white background a strip of printer paper can be used.

Here is the stage being used on my Lomo.

All comments are welcome. I may be contacted at admin@hollosenso.com


Now all I have to do is figure out how to fix the stage to the base with an easy attach/detach feature.(A friend suggested magnets for a ferrous base.)

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Published in the August 2007 edition of Micscape.
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