ADAPTING PARTS TO DEVELOP
A WORKING MICROSCOPE
by Chuck Huck, USA
I have always been interested in finding used parts and creating a workable microscope. Several months ago, I found a used Nikon Model S stand, sans optics and head, on eBay. The price was cheap and I won it. When it arrived, I found it to be in excellent mechanical shape, with mechanical stage and condenser holder, but no condenser nor mirror.
I added four spare objectives—4X, 10X, 25X and 40X — and 5X and 10X widefield eyepieces. I also added a single "condenser" lens in an old filter holder that fitted the condenser holder. I added one of my Olympus binocular heads, and this fitted the Nikon perfectly, which surprised me. Since the unit had no mirror I found I could use a woman's compact mirror, or better yet an LED book reading light, which I obtained at a local drug store for $2.99. To improve the illumination, I added a small piece of ground glass to the condenser holder. The LED light is placed in front of the base and moved so the illumination level is even across the field of view.
I wondered about the optical quality since the microscope had no regular condenser. Surprisingly, even at 400X magnification, the quality is quite good. I tested all objectives using a prepared slide of diatoms. The resolving power was more than acceptable at all magnifications.
The first picture shows the Nikon S microscope with added Olympus head, objectives and 5X eyepieces. The ground glass can be seen sitting on top of the condenser holder and is removable. The second picture is a prepared slide of mosquito mouth parts using the 5X eyepieces and 10X objective.
Being innovative in adapting parts found on eBay or surplus stores can save money over buying brand new microscopes or even complete used models. A place where I have purchased some eyepieces and a few objectives over the years is the Surplus Shed ( www.surplusshed.com ). Their prices are very low, and the quality is quite good.
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