DIY Rotating Video Glide Stages

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Tom Jones
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Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:47 pm

DIY Rotating Video Glide Stages

#1 Post by Tom Jones » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:01 pm

Several people were intrigued by the smooth panning I was able to achieve in the Mayfly Nymph video with my home made glide stage. (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3436). billben74 asked for pictures, so here we go.

The first photo shows the SZH glide stage in place. The original glass stage plate is removed, and the bottom plate of the glide stage is installed in the opening in its place. The bottom plate is machined to fit snugly into the opening in the base to allow smooth motion in any direction without the bottom plate moving relative to the microscope base. The fact that it is circular will also allow rotation around the center of the field for framing, if the microscope head is carefully aligned with the hole in the base. There is no grease between the bottom plate and the microscope base. That was to both keep the scope base clean, and make it easier to rotate it around the center. The grease between the plates provides enough resistance to allow for rotation of the entire assembly by rotating the top plate only.

The top of the upper plate is smooth to allow the specimen to be placed in any position necessary to center it in the field. The glide stage can then be moved smoothly to chase anything moving, or to smoothly pan or rotate in any direction desired.

The hole in the center has proven to be problematic in that smaller specimen holders such as the 60mm petri dishes I have, are not large enough to move around the opening. 100mm dishes work fine. I have acquired an optical glass window and will be making another top plate that will have a recessed hole for the window, resulting in a smooth top allowing any size specimen container.

The second photo shows the two piece assembly from the bottom. You can see the lower portion of the base plate that fits into the microscope base. The bottom outer rim of the upper plate has a ridge that constrains the movement of the upper plate relative to the bottom. A small amount of the Nye damping grease is placed between the plates to lubricate the plates and dampen the movement. This is the same style as use by the AO 60 grease/glide stage, but they use regular grease, and the bottom plate on the AO is fixed to the stand. I've found the regular grease to be unsatisfactory for the video stage in that it seems to have a "breakaway" point which causes an initial jerk when starting a move.

The third image shows the two mating surfaces of the bottom plate on the left and the top plate on the right. The retaining ridge is also evident.

Tom
Attachments
This shows the SZH glide stage in place.
This shows the SZH glide stage in place.
IMG_0555.jpg (54.09 KiB) Viewed 1291 times
The underside of SZH glide stage assembly.
The underside of SZH glide stage assembly.
IMG_0558.jpg (76.07 KiB) Viewed 1291 times
Stage plate mating surfaces.
Stage plate mating surfaces.
IMG_0560.jpg (70.09 KiB) Viewed 1291 times
Last edited by Tom Jones on Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom Jones
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:47 pm

Re: DIY Video Rotating Glide Stages

#2 Post by Tom Jones » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:34 pm

Here are three images of the Lomo rotating glide stage for compound microscopes. It cost me $75 on EBay.

This was the first glide stage I tried. Before this, the only glide stages I had ever seen were essentially flat-top stage plates without slide clips or the mechanical slide holder. They were designed generally to be used in Pathology, and other areas where small, precise movements are not necessary, and no sequential scanning is required. Slides are held in place and moved by use of your fingers. Movement is nowhere near smooth or precise enough for decent video.

(Edit: The first was really the round AO 60 stage. Before that I had never seen a greased glide stage. I thought it solved the problem of kids having a hard time controlling slide positioning with their fingers. Gripping and moving the entire stage seemed much easier. Using one for video didn't occur to me until a bit later.)

This Lomo stage allows both gliding with its grease plate, and rotation, as the lower circular part fits into the stage holder on the Lomo scopes. You may rotate the stage 360 degrees for framing and then move the grease plate as needed.

The first picture shows the entire assembly from the bottom. Sideways movement of the Lomo stage is constrained by the inner ring you can see on the top plate, against the inner edge of the bottom plate. In reality, this can potentially impact the sub stage condenser and further limit movement. That is the reason I went with the AO style outer ring to limit movement.

The inner ring method also severely limits the lateral travel of the stage. It's fine if your subject doesn't move too far too fast, but the first things I tried chasing were Aeolosoma sp. worms, and they can quickly move a long way.

The second picture shows the adapter ring I made to fit the BH-2 series, mounted on the assembly.

The third picture shows the assembly, including the adapter ring, as it is mounted on the Olympus stage support. The three nylon 10-32 screws go into the dovetail and hold the adapter secure. The Lomo portion is then free to rotate the full 360 degrees if the stage clips are not attached. I found that, at least on the BHS, they get in the way of the objectives. They're not needed anyway unless perhaps you are using a high viscosity immersion oil.

I made an adapter ring to allow this to be used on my BX scopes, but ran into a problem. It seems the Lomo stage assembly was too thick vertically to allow proper condenser height adjustment. I couldn't get it high enough. The BH-2/BHS series will allow higher vertical movement than the BX series.

Next post will show the final version for my compound microscopes.

Tom
Attachments
Lomo glide stage bottom
Lomo glide stage bottom
IMG_0563.jpg (83.82 KiB) Viewed 1285 times
Lomo glide stage from bottom with adapter ring
Lomo glide stage from bottom with adapter ring
IMG_0566.jpg (78.73 KiB) Viewed 1285 times
Lomo glide stage, including adapter ring, from top
Lomo glide stage, including adapter ring, from top
IMG_0567.jpg (59.78 KiB) Viewed 1285 times
Last edited by Tom Jones on Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tom Jones
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:47 pm

Re: DIY Video Rotating Glide Stages

#3 Post by Tom Jones » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:17 pm

This post details the final version of my rotating glide stage for the BX/BH-2 series of microscopes. As I recall, the stage mount on the Nikon Labophot 1 is the same as the BH-2 so the same style will probably work there. Other microscopes would probably need to have different adapter plates designed. Also, condenser clearances and stage to objective heights will need to be taken into consideration. A previous version of this worked wonderfully on the BX. The only problem was I couldn't focus as I had ignored :? the stage to objective height requirement.

The first photo shows the completed glide stage mounted on my BHS. If you look closely, you can see the machined relief areas the hold either a 25mm x 75mm slide, or a 50mm x x75mm slide without the need for stage clips. This was modeled after slide holders found on inverted scopes such as the Olympus IMT-2 series and works well. The outer edge was knurled to make it easier to grip.

The second photo shows the bottom of the top plate with the bottom grease plate in place in place. The raised center ring on the bottom plate fits onto the circular hole in the center of the adapter ring. The raised outer ring on the top plate constrains lateral movement as on the SZH stage. This was necessary in order to maximize available lateral movement.

The third photo is a closeup showing the relief machined into the bottom inside of the hole in the top plate. The allows maximum clearance for the objectives and maximum horizontal travel for the stage.

The fourth photo shows an adapter ring I made for the BH-2/BHS series to convert it to the same size stage holder as the BX series. With this, I can use the same adapter plate I made to fit the larger BX stage holder on the smaller BH-2/BHS stage holder. There are three buried set screws holding the inner adapter in place over the dovetail

The last picture shows the BX adapter ring mounted over the smaller ring. The three nylon set screws hold the outer adapter ring firmly onto the inner adapter ring. The glide stage grease plates drop into the center hole. They are machined to close tolerances so there is no play between the adapter ring and the rotating lower grease plate. No grease is used here so the friction of the grease between the grease plates is more than enough to cause rotation when the large, upper plate is rotated. In that way you don't need to be able to get to the lower plate to accomplish any part of a 360 degree rotation.

As with the SZH stage, Nye Very Low Viscosity damping grease was used to allow nice, smooth motion with no break away issues.

The next post will show the last two photos of the assembly.

Tom
Attachments
IMG_0568.jpg
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IMG_0570.jpg (68.25 KiB) Viewed 1279 times

Tom Jones
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Re: DIY Video Rotating Glide Stages

#4 Post by Tom Jones » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:24 pm

These last two photos show the bottom of the assembly.

The first shows the grease plate assembly and the BX adapter plate, and the second photo shows them assembled and ready to mount on either the BH-2/BHS or the BX series of microscope.

Sadly, I don't have any drawings or good measurements for any of these parts. I machined them iteratively, measuring, fitting and modifying as I went. I'm really happy with the results, but there was sure a lot of aluminum (6061 T6 if anyone is interested) left on the floor of my shop when I was done!

Tom
Attachments
IMG_0576.jpg
IMG_0576.jpg (91.13 KiB) Viewed 1278 times
IMG_0575.jpg
IMG_0575.jpg (82.7 KiB) Viewed 1278 times

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c-krebs
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Re: DIY Video Rotating Glide Stages

#5 Post by c-krebs » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:28 pm

Tom,
Great! Thanks for posing this. Well thought out and executed.
It is surprising how few similar pieces are available "commercially" (with the exception of some very expensive large ones), I know...I've looked in the past. My mind is now percolating with ideas for my strereo stand.

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billben74
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Re: DIY Rotating Video Glide Stages

#6 Post by billben74 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:46 pm

Top post.
I'm sure many of us will put this on to the "I must do that at some time in the future" list.

Especially the video specialists (or those that wish to join them).

Tom Jones
Posts: 129
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Re: DIY Rotating Video Glide Stages

#7 Post by Tom Jones » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:17 am

Hi Charlie,

You're welcome! It took quite awhile before I finally figured out what I wanted to do. I had a rough drawing sitting on my counter for almost a year before I finally decided to just start cutting metal and see what happened. Fortunately they aren't too hard to make. My machining skills leave a lot to be desired. If I had been forced to make a proper drawing for a machinist to work from though, it wouldn't have happened.

I suspect the biggest issue in these not being available is that until very recently, video or motion picture film was only rarely shot through a microscope, and those that did it had production level budgets so they could have custom solutions that after shooting, ended up in the back room, never to be seen again. Most of us amateurs don't think much about custom made solutions for problems like these. Fortunately, my brother had been making custom research equipment for years, so the idea wasn't so far-fetched for me.

I was frustrated by seeing otherwise amazing video, some worthy of narration by Sir David Attenborough, where the only stage movements available to the microscopist were rather crude up-down and left-right. I didn't thing Sir David would approve. :) We needed the equivalent of a fluid tripod head for the microscope. I think this works pretty well, and I'm sure the general ideas will be easily adapted to many different microscopes, and hopefully improved upon.

Now if I could just get Sir David to narrate for me. 8-)

billben74 - Thanks! Obviously it was on my list for quite awhile too before I finally said to heck with it and started working on it. I'm glad you like it.

Tom

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Crater Eddie
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Re: DIY Rotating Video Glide Stages

#8 Post by Crater Eddie » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:37 pm

What a great idea! And very nice machine work too.
CE
Olympus BH-2 / BHTU with Olympus E-P1 MFT camera mounted
LOMO BIOLAM L-2-2
LOMO POLAM L-213 / BIOLAM L-211 hybrid
LOMO Multiscope (Biolam)

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gekko
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Re: DIY Rotating Video Glide Stages

#9 Post by gekko » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:36 am

Very well designed and executed. Great work!
(By the way, I believe that Labophot-1, Labophot-2, and Optiphot all use the same stage).

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75RR
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Re: DIY Rotating Video Glide Stages

#10 Post by 75RR » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:58 pm

Most interesting. Liked the smooth movement in the video. Will have to look into this.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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