My Zeiss Universal Project

What equipment do you use? Post pictures and descriptions of your microscope(s) here!
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Microworldofgems
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My Zeiss Universal Project

#1 Post by Microworldofgems » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:31 pm

Hi, I have been working on this project for a while initially sourcing some parts about 4 years ago, then a donor scope, then more parts...in particular the inko epi DIC lenses (long working distance models which are hard to find). Recently I have gotten the scope pretty well “finished” but may still upgrade a few things. Some may not like my choice of color, but I wanted to impart a modern look on a classic beauty like the Zeiss universal I ....and I like blue. One photo to show the original color. I also had to repair several optical components that were delaminated. The rotatable polarized was not usable and I had to rebuild all of the nomarski prisms which includes removing them, separating the two halves, and recementing them together with Borland optical adhesive and lastly flying them back into the carrier. Overall, the scope is pretty awesome. If you are thinking of getting one of these big Zeiss scopes and don’t mind to tinker around on things, I’d say it’s worth it.
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Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#2 Post by Microworldofgems » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:32 pm

Here are a couple of images taken on the blue Zeiss. This is the surface of a diamond crystal. (Note that the photos are sharp, but the upload resolution on the site here is pretty low. You can see more examples of Epi-DIC images on my Instagram @microworldofgems
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MicroBob
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#3 Post by MicroBob » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:39 pm

Hi,
thank you for presenting your Universal project! I have a Phomi from the same era and like it a lot. Can you go into a bit more detail on the optics repairs? What I also find interesting is the epi DIC setup - can you show the components that fit together and describe the uses of epi DIC?

I like the colour scheme of my Phomi but I like you blue version too - nice idea to give it a paint job as the surfaces are quite big on a Universal.

Bob

Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#4 Post by Microworldofgems » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:51 pm

Here is an example of the prism rebuild... I baked the prisms in the over for about an hour to try to decompose the cement holding them in place. Using a stereo microscope and a sharp pick, I was able to remove them from the mount (carefully). I then ground an index notch on the corner of the prism to ensure I reassembled them correctly, the. I used a razor blade to split the pair of wedges (these are carefully oriented quartz wedges so the have to be assembled in the correct orientation relative to each other). Then I used norland optical adhesive which is a water clear UV curing cement with a refractive index of 1.55 so it pretty much perfectly matches the prism material. Once the prism was in the right position I used a UV flashlight to set the glue, then just glued the now water clear prism back into the mount. I had to do a similar process with the rotatable polarized. This was basically the same except I had to make a polarizing filter of the correct diameter. I used a larger high quality glass polarizer and cut it down to the right diameter and mounted the Zeiss correction lens on top of the new filter with the same UV cement.
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Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#5 Post by Microworldofgems » Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:06 pm

Here is another diamond surface.
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Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#6 Post by Microworldofgems » Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:07 pm

Another example diamond surface.
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Scarodactyl
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#7 Post by Scarodactyl » Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:28 pm

It's amazing to me that something like that is fixable. Certainly an inspiring project!

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75RR
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#8 Post by 75RR » Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:57 pm

Nice work! Good to see a Universal brought back up to scratch


Would have liked to have seen bigger photos

These are the upload image specs: There is a limit to 5 pictures per post, each picture can not be larger than 512KB and can not be larger than 1024x1024.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

Hobbyst46
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#9 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:30 pm

Admirable job !

It looks like the blue is a spray paint ?
which brand is it ?
are you happy with its durability ?
Did you remove the old paint and prepare the surface for the blue paint ?
thanks in advance for the details .
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#10 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:52 pm

wow is it really a nomarski prism or is it a savart plate?
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#11 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:37 am

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:30 pm
Admirable job !

It looks like the blue is a spray paint ?
which brand is it ?
are you happy with its durability ?
Did you remove the old paint and prepare the surface for the blue paint ?
thanks in advance for the details .
It was rustoleum spray paint I bought from Home Depot. It’s been pretty good in general. I just scuffed the original paint and cleaned it with a stone, then used a primer followed by a couple coats of the blue spray paint. Some parts had to be sanded and repainted due to some runs and it was kind of a pain to get it to a “good enough” level of a paint job. If I were to go big, I would consider getting it powder coated.

Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#12 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:10 am

BramHuntingNematodes wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:52 pm
wow is it really a nomarski prism or is it a savart plate?
To my knowledge it is a nomarski prism, composed of two quartz wedges.

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#13 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:47 am

It's a bit difficult to tell the angle the prisms are ground at. Someone on this forum was interested in trying to grind some of their own out of calcite. It looks like quartz might a good alternative if calcite is too expensive and difficult to polish if that's the case.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#14 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:21 am

BramHuntingNematodes wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:47 am
It's a bit difficult to tell the angle the prisms are ground at. Someone on this forum was interested in trying to grind some of their own out of calcite. It looks like quartz might a good alternative if calcite is too expensive and difficult to polish if that's the case.
I thought about trying it once upon a time. Calcite would be a nightmare due to the three directions of perfect cleavage and the material is exceedingly soft. Quartz is much harder and easy to polish, but these prisms have a very low angle of probably a degree or two, but definitely eye visible enough to tell they have a thick end and a thin end.

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#15 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:37 am

75RR wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:57 pm
Nice work! Good to see a Universal brought back up to scratch


Would have liked to have seen bigger photos

These are the upload image specs: There is a limit to 5 pictures per post, each picture can not be larger than 512KB and can not be larger than 1024x1024.
Thanks for the photo details, I was having trouble finding a size compatible with the site so I just went small after a few attempts.
Let’s see if these are better
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75RR
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#16 Post by 75RR » Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:30 am

Diamond crystal images look sharp as tacks - do you suspend the camera?

Also what paint did you use?
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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Microworldofgems
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#17 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:07 am

75RR wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:30 am
Diamond crystal images look sharp as tacks - do you suspend the camera?

Also what paint did you use?
The camera is mounted to a black tube above the relay lens in the image. It is super rigid. I used a diagnostic instruments tube that I modified to fit an Olympus clamp that attaches to the black snoot on to of the scope.

The paint is rustoleum gloss enamel from Home Depot.

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#18 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:13 am

75RR wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:30 am
Diamond crystal images look sharp as tacks - do you suspend the camera?

Also what paint did you use?
Here is a photo showing the camera mounted.
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MicroBob
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#19 Post by MicroBob » Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:21 am

Thank you for explaining the prism prpair process! This really is a delicate repair job so no wonder nobody writes about it. I have one of thee epi DIC prisms too and was thinking about a repair solution. Are the epi prisms used with short barrel objectives ?

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#20 Post by Wes » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:52 am

Very cool thread Microworldofgems!

The paint job is great and I find your prism repair inspiring. Would Canada balsam work for gluing the prism wedges?

I noticed you removed the optovar from the tube head. I had the impression once its off its nearly impossible to get it back to its original position.

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#21 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:44 pm

Wes wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:52 am
Very cool thread Microworldofgems!

The paint job is great and I find your prism repair inspiring. Would Canada balsam work for gluing the prism wedges?

I noticed you removed the optovar from the tube head. I had the impression once its off its nearly impossible to get it back to its original position.
I imagine Canada balsam would work just fine, but the glue that I used is iv curing and I liked the idea of instantly locking the prism into place once I had the alignment right. It only takes about 30 seconds to cure the glue once you hit it with a UV light.

As for the optovar, since Generally only doing episcopic work, I didn’t need to align the whole optical system. However, the grub screws on the optovar are tapered to a sharp point so the original position is “keyed” once the screws are tightened down. To get the rotational alignment, you just have to feel the screw mate with the original divots left from the factory alignment and also only loosen 2 of the 4 screws for removal. This worked well enough for me that when I got it back together, everything seemed to work well enough. I had no choice but to remove the optovar as the focus ring on the Bertrand lens was stuck so I had to take it apart and relube everything. Also was a good opportunity to clean all the lens surfaces.

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#22 Post by Microworldofgems » Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:47 pm

MicroBob wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:21 am
Thank you for explaining the prism prpair process! This really is a delicate repair job so no wonder nobody writes about it. I have one of thee epi DIC prisms too and was thinking about a repair solution. Are the epi prisms used with short barrel objectives ?
Some of the objectives are long barrel and some are short. For the long barrel objectives the housing has been lengthened to accommodate the long barrel objectives. This is true on the 40x LD and the 100x epi lenses that I have. The 16x LD, the 8x and the 4x are short barrel objectives but they use the long housing anyway.

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#23 Post by Rossf » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:46 am

Wow-looks totally amazing-I especially like that you painted the transformer box as well-they can get pretty ordinary looking after 20-30 years! Good luck with it-the photos are really beautiful. Diamonds are a microscopist’s best friend... Have you made a whopper dust cover for it yet?
Regards ross

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#24 Post by Microworldofgems » Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:56 am

I also recently picked up this viewing screen of the same vintage as my universal on eBay for 40 dollars shipped. This too will soon have a new blue paint job.
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#25 Post by Microworldofgems » Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:08 am

Rossf wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:46 am
Wow-looks totally amazing-I especially like that you painted the transformer box as well-they can get pretty ordinary looking after 20-30 years! Good luck with it-the photos are really beautiful. Diamonds are a microscopist’s best friend... Have you made a whopper dust cover for it yet?
Regards ross
I have not made a dust cover yet, although I should put that on the to-do list!

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#26 Post by MichaelG. » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:06 pm

Great restoration job ... and amazing images
Thanks for sharing !!

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Too many 'projects'

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Rossf
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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#27 Post by Rossf » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:24 pm

Ha! Just noticed the big viewing attachment-I’m looking for one for my BH-they look kinda steampunk and they need an analogue computer sitting next to the scope to complete the effect-are they any good for observation?
Ross

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#28 Post by MicroBob » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:55 am

for todays expectations such a screen will lack in brightness and contrast - I wouldn't reserve the space for one even if I got it for free.

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#29 Post by Rossf » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:28 am

Fair enough-I’m sure they could be turned into an interesting light for the lounge room-especially if it’s painted blue...

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Re: My Zeiss Universal Project

#30 Post by Microworldofgems » Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:45 am

Rossf wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:24 pm
Ha! Just noticed the big viewing attachment-I’m looking for one for my BH-they look kinda steampunk and they need an analogue computer sitting next to the scope to complete the effect-are they any good for observation?
Ross
The view was much sharper than I was expecting, but it was significantly lacking in the brightness department...especially for epi DIC. I suspect transmitted light might be better. That being said, it was too cool to pass up for the price of 40 bucks shipped.

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