Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

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farnsy
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Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#1 Post by farnsy » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:03 am

Ok, folks. I decided to buy a couple of American Optical scopes and put together the best parts from each. Well, I may have bid too aggressively because somehow I ended up with 6 scopes. I could use some advice on what stuff to put together and keep. Currently I'm thinking of having one scope dedicated only to brightfield and Rheinberg filters and one for phase contrast. I am considering the possibility of keeping a third for DIY polarization, but that's probably not a good justification for a whole separate scope--it wouldn't cost anything but it would take up space. The rest I'll sell or give away. I expect that I'll still need to buy a few parts.

Image

I have 2 quintuple nosepieces. I have two trinocular heads, though one of them seems to be different from the rest. It doesn't fit my extender. I have one phase turret condenser. All the other condensers seem basic (although all are different from each other) except the one currently mounted on microscope 6, which has a swing out lens.

Micrscope 1 This is the one I've been using for some time. It's a 1036A and the scope with the most hard use--it was in a military hospital originally. Everything pretty much functions, but the gears are not as tight as I might want. I had to jam a little piece of plastic in the head so the eyepieces would align. Something I could probably fix, but why bother? This has the basic abbe condenser at present. Also, the stage controls are on the left side, unlike the other scopes.

Microscope 2 Another 1036A. In better condition but otherwise quite similar to microscope 1.

Microscope 3 Another 1036A. I bought this for the trinocular head. Otherwise it's very much like the first two, though not identical.

Microscope 4 This one is way different from the others. The stage controls are separate and attached to the stage and it's smaller. It has a trinocular port but it doesn't fit my tube. The eyepieces are Leitz Wetzlar periplan. It doesn't seem to have a fine focus knob, but the condenser currently mounted seems centerable. At present it doesn't have a lamp. What is this? A later model? I also don't recognize the objective cat numbers.

Microscope 5 This one has the lamb built in. Does that mean it's a 110? I can't tell if this is better or worse than the microscopes I'm more familiar with. It also seems to have no fine focus and the stage has come loose.

Microscope 6 I bought this one for the objectives but it seems to be in the best shape of all of them. The body seems similar to the others, but it has continuously variable illumination.

Here is my list of objectives. I don't know anything about any of them that are more than 4 digits.

Code: Select all

Lens  Magn   Cat#   
1     4X     1017                                                                                                      
2     4X     1017   
3     4X     1017   
4     4X     1075   
5     10X    1076   
6     10X    1224 (Dark Phase)   
7     10X    1109   
8     10X    1019   
9     10X    1021   
10    10X    B52325   
11    10X    C10284   
12    20X    1077   
13    20X    1022   
14    20X    1022   
15    36X    None (says NA 09)   
16    40X    1023   
17    40X    1213 (Dark Phase)   
18    40X    1309   
19    45X    1116   
20    43X    B34160 (Dark M, whatever that is)   
21    43X    C16313   
22    97X    A88299   
23    97X    C72955   
24    100X   1079   
25    100X   1079   
26    100X   1029
My current thinking

* Brightfield Body from microscope 6 for my brightfield along with objectives 1, 9, 13, 18, and 26. Keep the condenser with the swing-out lens. Or should I use the centerable one currently on microscope 4? I don't know enough about condensers to know if I can attach the swing-out lens to the centerable condenser or if I would want to. I would use the trinocular head currently on microscope 3.

* Phase Contrast Body from microscope 2. Will need to get another trinocular head. Will use objectives 6 and 17 but will need 3 more phase contrast. Would be interested in trying both the light and dark phase contrast objectives.

Not currently planning on getting a darkfield condenser (I do have some 32mm darkfield filters coming).

What do you think of my plan? Would you do it differently? Any info on the objectives or microscopes that I don't recognize?

Also, if anyone has parts for sale that I might need to flesh this out or if you live near me and are interested in some stuff I might not keep, let me know.

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zzffnn
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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#2 Post by zzffnn » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:16 am

Welcome from Houston!

AO objective list can be found here:

https://user.xmission.com/~psneeley/Per ... ctives.htm

Scope model list:
https://user.xmission.com/~psneeley/Per ... oscope.htm

Try to use the correct matching eyepiece for objectives and scopes: https://user.xmission.com/~psneeley/Per ... pieces.htm

Your scopes #4 and #5 are older series 2 or 4 that use 160mm tube length. Their original objectives won't work well on the rest of your scopes (which are all infinity series 10 an should use objectives with oo symbol).

From your objective (catalog number) list, it seems that scopes #4 and #5 did come with the proper 160 tube length objectives.

All those scopes have very good fine focus, if they are not frozen by grease or damaged.

The centerable condenser on scope #4 may be a darkfield one, but I cannot tell for sure from your photo.

I am not sure if condenser from #4 and #5 would mount on other scopes or work well. Forum member Apochronaut is an AO expert.

Your 2-scope plan is what I would do for myself, if I was in your shoes (use bright field scope for polarization). You can use larger mismatched phase condenser annulus for Rheiberg, or simply DIY. But it is hard for me to decide for you.

PeteM
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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#3 Post by PeteM » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:39 am

Scope #6 has the best (brightest) illumination system. While it runs a bit hot, my experience is that it's reliable.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#4 Post by apochronaut » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:06 am

The aformentioned condenser is not DF. It is just a centerable mount for , likely an abbe 1.25.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#5 Post by apochronaut » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:05 pm

The objectives embossed with numbers that begin with an A, B or C etc. are 160mm tube objectives. The one beginning with a C is a coated objective. Those are serial #'s not model #'s. Those all date from the 1950's or early 60's.
Dark M is a 160mm tube phase obective. Dark M means ; dark phase, medium contrast. There were 26 such objectives( maybe more) for the 160mm series 2 and 4 scopes, all marked with specific details as to type of phase: dark,bright or B-Minus plus in the early days, the lambda shift, then later converting that to light, medium or high contrast; L,M or H.

The objective you have noted as 36X is in fact a 3.5X 0.9 objective for the 160mm tube system. The number is probably poorly embossed or damaged.

You could probably build up a decent series 4 phase scope eventually, with scope # 5. There is a condenser on ebay. It's been there a while and the seller would be lacking in common sense, if they didn't grab an offer on that. Dark M objectives are the most easily found, so a set shouldn't be too hard to put together.
You will require a 6v. power supply like this for that scope, unless you want to change the plug and use another type. The original power supplies are sturdy and seldom fail unless used to death.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/AO-American-Op ... 518cbc14e6



Microscopes 1.2.and 3 all have the series 10, earlier ,18 watt tungsten illuminator. These also require a remote power supply but the plug is different than the above. Either will work with either, though as long as the plug is converted to the correct one. Power supply:https://www.ebay.com/itm/AMERIACAN-OPTI ... Sw-NBdG7AF

Microscope 6 has the later 20 watt halogen illuminator with a built in power supply. That one should light up when plugged in and turned on. The pots sometimes go( it's a standard one used in many things...there is a thread about it here from a year ago or so).
The bulb sockets sometimes lose a bit of contact at some point, arc a little, oxidize a little, and over time the situation gets worse, with a little extra heat. That microscope is 40 years old or so, so no telling what the situation is. Some dealers still have new sockets ...Martin Microscope is one.

What I would do is first test the focus on all of the series 10's. Pick the one with the smoothest focus. Then check the stages and pick the best.
#1 has a left hand stage and a left hand slide carrier. You may want that. They are fairly rare. If you don't want it, tighten everything up, clean it up and sell it on ebay as a unit. Somebody out there wants it.
Check the condenser carriers and choose the best.
Phase condenser may need reconditioning. There is a good chance some of the annulus adjusters are rounded out. They can be replaced but getting them out is a bit of work. Top surface of the phase condenser lens might be euchred . Sometimes , users were sloppy, removing and replacing them, dragging the lens against the bottom of the stage.

# 1 and 6 have 5 place nosepieces. Those are great, because you can put in a 4,10,20,40 and 100.
Your best BF objective complement is 1) 4X # 1017. 2) 10X # 1021 3) 20X 1022 4) 40X # 1309 5) 100X 1079. That's about as good as they had in planachros except for the 1079 until they went over to 45mm D.I.N. I would be looking for an inexpensive # 1029 or 1311, 100X planachro. The 1079 was an excellent objective and was made for almost 40 years. It is close to plan but the later planachros are better. If some of the same objectives are about the same condition, check them all out and choose the ones with the closest parfocality. There will be small differences. You will have to use the # 1309 objective as a base line because you have only one.

Looks like you have only one trino head but you have the tube with it. Best eyepiece for the tube is either a # 1054 or # 437. Both are focusing types and take reticles. Remove the reticle, if there is one. You will need an adapter that can clamp to the upper portion of the tube and then be adjusted along it's length for height. Macro rings and or distance pieces can be used to get the correct eyepiece to sensor distance. It is around 55mm, depending on your sensor dimensions. You can get full coverage of the frame and parfocality with such a system. I use a small mirrorless camera up there with a 3.00 electronic shutter release.
No vibration and well corrected images. You can get away with using a spare # 176 eyepiece in the photo tube but the focusing feature plus field characteristics of the aformentioned ones, I like better.

I have tried several incarnations of Leiz Periplans in a series 4 without much success. I tried the versions corrected for the 37mm 170mm system, the 45mm 170mm system and the 45mm 160mm system. All of them gave poor peripheral corrections when the series 4 was fitted with it's compensating lens above the nosepiece, as it should be. Without it, I don't know. My guess would be that the Leitz Periplans in a series 2/4 with AO objectives would be malcorrected, without the compensating lens too.Most of them have a narrower f.o.v. too. The correct optics are cat.# 146. 10X and Cat.# 147 15X.

The series 10 microscopes use cat.# 176 or 176A 10X and cat.# 184 15X.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#6 Post by farnsy » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:10 pm

Wonderful replies so far. Thank you! you guys are awesome. I especially appreciate the clarification on what microscopes 4 and 5 are, as well as their objectives. At the moment my plan is still to get rid of them and retain two 10-series microscopes.

Couple of things I or other people have expressed uncertainty about:
  • Microscopes 1, 2, 3, and 6 all do illuminate. In fact, to me they seem quite bright indeed, even with the neutral density filter. I have the external transformers, though one of them makes a buzzing sound. The plug on microscope 5 is funny and I'm not that interested in keeping it so I probably won't try and find a solution.
  • The condenser from microscope 4 (which is not darkfield) does physically fit in the other scopes. It even has the little notch. I'm not sure whether it will work well in other scopes, but it fits. Centering seems like a good thing but my recollection is that the condenser in 6 (with the swing out) is aplanic. Am I right in thinking that 6's condenser is better? Or in light of the other conversation, perhaps there's yet a better condenser that I should be looking for?
  • zzffnn, you are correct that these older scopes do have a coarse and fine focus. They just weren't on the same knob so I didn't recognize them as such. In fact, the focus and stage gears seem to work pretty well on all these microscopes. The stage control is a little loosey goosey on #1 but I'm guessing that's something that can be adjusted if needed.
  • I haven't tried the phase condenseryet. I'll see if I can do that today. I'm not certain how one centers these without the little centering eyepiece, but that's probably something I just haven't looked up online yet.
  • apochronaut, it looks like we are on the same page about objectives, though I do have a 100X #1029. Based on your text, that would be preferred over any of my 1079's. Right? Just double checking. I think I had read this elsewhere as well.
  • I tried putting my Sony A5100 with an e-mount to 23mm adapter directly on the end of the trinocular tube without any lenses in the way. I haven't looked really closely but the image seemed OK, albeit with a decent amount of vignetting. Is the trinocular eyepiece tube really necessary other than to zoom in? Like, is there some chromatic aberration to be corrected for? My tube is not exactly parfocal with the eyepieces but that's not a big deal for me as I have the camera attached to a monitor running clean hdmi out when I'm doing photography stuff, so I don't normally use the eyepieces then anyway.
  • Regarding phase contrast, my 1224 doesn't say it is plan. Am I right in understanding that the phase contrast objectives starting with 121 are better than those starting with 122? I was going to get a smattering of phase contrast (dark and light) as available to fill up the other quintuple nosepiece. I don't see a ton of these for sale so I'm guessing there's not as many choices to make.
As a side note, I just received a bunch of neat Rheinberg filters from ebay and, though the diameter is right, at 3mm they are just a little too thick to fit in the filter slot of these condensers. Sad days. I'm currently wondering whether to try and return them or attempt to thin them down somehow.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#7 Post by Sauerkraut » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:08 pm

farnsy wrote: As a side note, I just received a bunch of neat Rheinberg filters from ebay and, though the diameter is right, at 3mm they are just a little too thick to fit in the filter slot of these condensers. Sad days. I'm currently wondering whether to try and return them or attempt to thin them down somehow.
I just received some eBay Rheinberg filters today too and have been playing with them. I was able to loosen the screw in the swing-out filter holder, install a filter, and retighten the screw. Cumbersome but works. So far I am not getting the desired Rheinberg effect. Wondering what I am doing wrong.

I hope you keep us posted on your progress with the AO scopes.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#8 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:29 pm

Sauerkraut wrote:I just received some eBay Rheinberg filters today too... So far I am not getting the desired Rheinberg effect. Wondering what I am doing wrong.
IMO, quite likely that you did nothing wrong. Rheinberg filters, as well as those DF opaque circle plates, are not guaranteed to work on specific microscopes. Their efficiency varies according to the geometry of the condenser. Usually they are recommended for low mag objectives, say 4X or 10X.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#9 Post by apochronaut » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:02 pm

farnsy wrote:Wonderful replies so far. Thank you! you guys are awesome. I especially appreciate the clarification on what microscopes 4 and 5 are, as well as their objectives. At the moment my plan is still to get rid of them and retain two 10-series microscopes.

Couple of things I or other people have expressed uncertainty about:
  • Microscopes 1, 2, 3, and 6 all do illuminate. In fact, to me they seem quite bright indeed, even with the neutral density filter. I have the external transformers, though one of them makes a buzzing sound. The plug on microscope 5 is funny and I'm not that interested in keeping it so I probably won't try and find a solution.
That's a twist and turn plug that was used on the series 4 transformer. Sometimes series 4s have been converted to the two pin plug used on later transformers. One of the advantages of the 4, is that for very little , a set of apos can be found that will convert it to a very fine instrument. They can be Spencer( harder to find) or Bausch & Lomb( easier to find) but as long as you use the correct set(s) of compens eyepieces the results are similar. Forum member Rod Nabholz has posted some very fine diatom images taken through the optics of a series 4 equipped with apochromats
farnsy wrote: The condenser from microscope 4 (which is not darkfield) does physically fit in the other scopes. It even has the little notch. I'm not sure whether it will work well in other scopes, but it fits. Centering seems like a good thing but my recollection is that the condenser in 6 (with the swing out) is aplanic. Am I right in thinking that 6's condenser is better? Or in light of the other conversation, perhaps there's yet a better condenser that I should be looking for?
The series 2/4 and the 10/20s used the same condenser dovetail, so the condensers are interchangeable. In the 50's and 60's, there wasn't such an impetus to have a centering condenser mount , though. So, a lot of instruments of that era have condensers mounted in non-centering mounts. The condenser is centered by adjusting mounting screws. The microscopes with the centering housings will accept any of the condensers made for those scopes. There were only 5 BF condensers for the series 2/4 :a .66 N.A. abbe, a 1.25 N.A. abbe, a 1.4 N.A. wide field abbe, a 1.30 N.A. achromat aplanat and a 1.4 N.A. achromat aplanat. Those will also work in the series 10.
For the series 10, there was additionally a 1.25 N.A. abbe aspheric that fitted that condenser yoke. They are marked . If it just says 1.25, then it is an abbe.
farnsy wrote: zzffnn, you are correct that these older scopes do have a coarse and fine focus. They just weren't on the same knob so I didn't recognize them as such. In fact, the focus and stage gears seem to work pretty well on all these microscopes. The stage control is a little loosey goosey on #1 but I'm guessing that's something that can be adjusted if needed.
I would fix up that left hand stage and put it out on the market, if you don't need it.
farnsy wrote: I haven't tried the phase condenseryet. I'll see if I can do that today. I'm not certain how one centers these without the little centering eyepiece, but that's probably something I just haven't looked up online yet.
If you stack a pair of the 176 eyepieces, one on top of each other; that works as a bertrand lens to center the phase annuli
farnsy wrote:apochronaut, it looks like we are on the same page about objectives, though I do have a 100X #1029. Based on your text, that would be preferred over any of my 1079's. Right? Just double checking. I think I had read this elsewhere as well.
yes.
farnsy wrote: I tried putting my Sony A5100 with an e-mount to 23mm adapter directly on the end of the trinocular tube without any lenses in the way. I haven't looked really closely but the image seemed OK, albeit with a decent amount of vignetting. Is the trinocular eyepiece tube really necessary other than to zoom in? Like, is there some chromatic aberration to be corrected for? My tube is not exactly parfocal with the eyepieces but that's not a big deal for me as I have the camera attached to a monitor running clean hdmi out when I'm doing photography stuff, so I don't normally use the eyepieces then anyway.
whatever works for you.
farnsy wrote: Regarding phase contrast, my 1224 doesn't say it is plan. Am I right in understanding that the phase contrast objectives starting with 121 are better than those starting with 122? I was going to get a smattering of phase contrast (dark and light) as available to fill up the other quintuple nosepiece. I don't see a ton of these for sale so I'm guessing there's not as many choices to make.[/list]
There are only 13 phase objectives available for the series 10s. the 1211,12,13and 14 are dark planachro. All the others are not plan.
The difference in image quality is mainly determined by the type of phase, not whether they are plan or not , although the planachro dark phase objectives are probably a nudge better than the dark phase achromat series. If you want bright phase, you don't have a choice but to use the 1234 to 1237 bright phase achromats, excellent because they are bright phase.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#10 Post by Sauerkraut » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:12 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote:
Sauerkraut wrote:I just received some eBay Rheinberg filters today too... So far I am not getting the desired Rheinberg effect. Wondering what I am doing wrong.
IMO, quite likely that you did nothing wrong. Rheinberg filters, as well as those DF opaque circle plates, are not guaranteed to work on specific microscopes. Their efficiency varies according to the geometry of the condenser. Usually they are recommended for low mag objectives, say 4X or 10X.
I'm starting to arrive at the same conclusion. Perhaps it is in part my microscope, as darkfield also has been difficult to achieve with consistency. I just picked up an Abbe 1.25 NA Nikon condenser (Optiphot/labophot) for comparison sake and although have only had it a day, have concluded that the condenser might not be the problem either. At least so far, the no-name and Nikon condensers perform identically.

With the Nikon, since it doesn't have a filter holder, I am interested in fabbing one that would let me adjust the location of the filter up inside the condenser to see if filter height could be optimized for special effects. But that doesn't make any sense, now that I think about it.

Or perhaps as we have been discussing elsewhere, an aplanatic or achromatic/aplanatic condenser could perform better, though maybe I'm reaching with such a conclusion.

If nothing works, I will be forced to shop for another microscope or two. ;)

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#11 Post by farnsy » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:04 pm

apochronaut wrote:
farnsy wrote: I tried putting my Sony A5100with an e-mount to 23mm adapter directly on the end of the trinocular tube without any lenses in the way. I haven't looked really closely but the image seemed OK, albeit with a decent amount of vignetting. Is the trinocular eyepiece tube really necessary other than to zoom in? Like, is there some chromatic aberration to be corrected for? My tube is not exactly parfocal with the eyepieces but that's not a big deal for me as I have the camera attached to a monitor running clean hdmi out when I'm doing photography stuff, so I don't normally use the eyepieces then anyway.
whatever works for you.
There was one question here I wasn't sure of the answer on and I'm still wondering about. My understanding is that some objectives completely correct for chromatic aberration, while others only do so in tandem with the associated eyepiece. Does anyone know which camp American Optical infinity objectives are in?

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#12 Post by KurtM » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:18 am

Everybody sees things differently of course, so here are a couple comments from an old AO/Spencer enthusiast that are meant only to offer my own personal take on life. First, the bright field, POL, and phase contrast all can be in the same stand - why not? If I had room and inclination to keep (yet) another stand, it'd be a dedicated dark field one with the AO toroidal dark field condenser since swapping condensers ain't so convenient. In my experience the toroidal DF condenser is quite easy to get along with (some DF condensers can be fussy) and deliver beautiful views. It also enables use of 50x and 100x iris objectives. Assuming you're looking at pond life, DF gives the truest color representation in my opinion.

I agree with others that the 1031 lamp is the best of the AO bunch - that's the one with two knobs up front. Namely, it delivers lots of light, and doesn't require the separate power supply that's always a hassle in my world.

Random note from left field: I found the 1036A lamp to the perfect candidate for conversion to LED. The AO 10 I built up for a travel scope (not field scope) has a battery powered LED 1036A conversion with battery pack onboard for totally self-contained cordless operation, which works a treat with (in this case bright) phase contrast and POL. This scope was built up much as you suggest and others are advising upon: I bought several stands and picked the best parts from each to assemble one killer stand, and the result is one of my pride and joys...

...which I show in the following picture to note the two intermediate tubes installed under the trino head. One is the POL turret that allows me to flip in a polarizer, and the other is a Bertrand lens, or "phase viewing unit" I think they call it, that acts as a built-in phase telescope. The official condenser-end AO polarization filter (I can never remember which is supposed to be the "analyzer") is also shown installed, on the lamp. As you may have noticed by now, I like collecting and using all the original AO bits and bobs. Yes, that's an AO carry/storage case too.
Attachments
cordless AO10 1024px.jpg
cordless AO10 1024px.jpg (210.38 KiB) Viewed 1712 times
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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#13 Post by apochronaut » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:19 am

The 34mm parfocal infinity objectives have most of the correction completed in the telan lens that is installed in the bottom of the head. That lens also converts the beam from infinity to convergent. I haven't investigated the effect of the 176 eyepieces exhaustively but I would say that there is a small amount of further correction being accomplished by them as well. Field flattening would be one area but also a small amount of correction for peripheral ca.

I have tried various eyepieces in the photo tube and most end up displaying some ca at the periphery of the sensor.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#14 Post by apochronaut » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:23 am

KurtM wrote: This scope was built up much as you suggest and others are advising upon: I bought several stands and picked the best parts from each to assemble one killer stand, and the result is one of my pride and joys...

Extremely nice stand, Kurt. Certainly one to be proud of.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#15 Post by zzffnn » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:55 pm

To everyone in this thread,

I know a newbie microscopist in Houston Texas looking for a scope for polarization (chemical crystals, not phase contrast is needed, though 4, 10, 20, 40 objectives should be plan achromats, an 100x is an option but not required). I suggested him to consider an AO series 10 or 110.

Please let me know if you have a good offer for him. I saw two complete AO scopes for $80 shipped on eBay but wonder if you want to beat that price.

He has a full frame camera: Canon 5D mk2. A dual (teaching) monocular head is best for him (his eyes do not work well with binocular heads, so bino or trino is not optimal for him). But he would consider an offer if price is right.

If all parts cannot be bought in one deal, then he would likely contact Apochronaut (for dual mono heads, and 2x projection lens, for example).

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#16 Post by apochronaut » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:22 pm

Fan. Accessories for polarizing, even for AO, which fly in under the radar in terms of their price/quality ratio are usually pretty expensive; if you can find them. Joblots of older AO microscopes show up all the time at ridiculous prices, because so many of them were used in schools, labs , research facilities, hospitals but building one up with all the strain free goodies to function as a good pol scope would be a task.

I would be looking for an older pol scope, if he only wants monocular. You see relatively more B & L pol scopes.
Getting a 10 or 100 up and running with all the bells and whistles for polarization would be pretty difficult and not all that cheap.

2X projection lens for an AO 34mm parfocal microscope? Which one would you recommend?

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#17 Post by farnsy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:34 pm

Sauerkraut wrote:
farnsy wrote: As a side note, I just received a bunch of neat Rheinberg filters from ebay and, though the diameter is right, at 3mm they are just a little too thick to fit in the filter slot of these condensers. Sad days. I'm currently wondering whether to try and return them or attempt to thin them down somehow.
I just received some eBay Rheinberg filters today too and have been playing with them. I was able to loosen the screw in the swing-out filter holder, install a filter, and retighten the screw. Cumbersome but works.
[snip]
I'm really glad you mentioned this. I loosened up the screws on one of my AO condensers and the 3mm filters fit in with no problem. Not bad. Bit of a pain to get out but I'm sure I can figure out a solution for that. Actually I'm a little inclined to get a bunch of photography gels and make my own filters as Oliver illustrated, that way I can make them lots of different sizes and leave a tab sticking out and not feel like I have wasted a lot of money on filters I don't use.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#18 Post by zzffnn » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:40 pm

Phil,

He most likely does not need professional pol scope or strain free optics. His use is artistic and not scientific. My suggestion for him is get in with an AO and probably upgrade to Mitutoyos or high end infinity Nikon/Oly later on, if he can sell his prints really well. Mitutoyos are not easy to adapt for beginners, but AO cost 90% less and offers 80% of the performance (though my numbers may not be accurate).

I don't know about AO projection optics for full frame. Nikon and Olympus offered projections eyepiece for full frame sensor at about 2.2-2.5x if I remember correctly. Did AO offer something similar? Again, his sensor is a full frame Canon 5D mk2.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#19 Post by billbillt » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:26 pm

"Actually I'm a little inclined to get a bunch of photography gels and make my own filters as Oliver illustrated, that way I can make them lots of different sizes and leave a tab sticking out and not feel like I have wasted a lot of money on filters I don't use."

Yes.. The gel filters work very well...

BillT

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#20 Post by apochronaut » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:36 am

zzffnn wrote:Phil,

He most likely does not need professional pol scope or strain free optics. His use is artistic and not scientific. My suggestion for him is get in with an AO and probably upgrade to Mitutoyos or high end infinity Nikon/Oly later on, if he can sell his prints really well. Mitutoyos are not easy to adapt for beginners, but AO cost 90% less and offers 80% of the performance (though my numbers may not be accurate).

I don't know about AO projection optics for full frame. Nikon and Olympus offered projections eyepiece for full frame sensor at about 2.2-2.5x if I remember correctly. Did AO offer something similar? Again, his sensor is a full frame Canon 5D mk2.
The best scenario economy wise, would be to aim for a 110 or 120 monocular( hard to find but they exist)with later optics from the 34mm parfocal range. Those were made to strain free performance, like most others of the quality scopes were by about the mid 80's. That could be used with a teaching head carrying a dedicated dovetailed photo tube. All of that, other than the 110 monocular is easy. May have to settle for a series 10 monocular, which has a slightly lesser f.o.v.

With regard to future upgrades, it would be a stretch to go to Olympus or Nikon and certainly eat some cash. Mitutoyo is out of the question. The objectives are very long and have a 26mm thread. I also don't think they make cover slip corrected objectives? I am assuming he wants cover slip corrected objectives, maybe both? Anyway to use Nikon or Mitutoyo in incarnations, where they would be an optical upgrade over the 1985 era AO planachros he would have to spring for another stand. Olympus would fit into the existing stand but retrofitting the heads would be not that easy and why bother?



From both an optical and economical standpoint, the next stage of improvement would be to go to AO/Reichert D.I.N. optics. The 110 frame could accommodate them and the only retrofits needed would be to change the telan lens in the monocular and photo tube from a 34mm compatible one, to a couple out of derelict series 400 binoculars. I've probably got a couple of them sitting right here. I have never seen a series 400 monocular tube but that doesn't mean they didn't make them, so that might be an option too.
He could then use D.I.N. planachros of pretty much the same performance as Olympus from the same era, with magnification options being 2.5X,4X,10X,20X,25X,40X,50X Neoplan oil,63X glyz, 63X oil and 100X oil and glyz., with an eye towards sourcing planfluorites or planapos in the future, while keeping the same stand.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#21 Post by wabutter » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:57 pm

To further enhance the optical performance, if moving to the 45mm DIN standard barrel, The Reichert objectives from the Polyvar are compatible and especially when combined withe 5 element 1.30 NA condenser (1971 in think) that was offered on the 410/420 series. Full Plan Fluorite or Plan Apo corrected objectives were available for that product. Also keep in mind if looking to use other brand infinity objectives that barrel length and thread pitch can differ. AO/Reichert from Series 10 Microstar to 410 Microstar all used RMS threading for life science objectives.

Regards ,
Wayne

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#22 Post by apochronaut » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:29 pm

You hit the nail on the head. There are 3 of them and they all look quite similar. They will thread into any of the condenser housings that have the 1 1/4" female thread, which includes all of the phase condenser housings that were made for the infinity series microscopes and the fairly common cat.# 1092 iris diaphragm equipped condenser housing which has a dovetail that will fit any series 100 or series 400 microscope.

The condenser bodies themselves are a polished chrome in the case of cat.# 2110, a 1.30 N.A. achromat aplanat( fairly rare) , or the brushed chrome but similar bodied cat.# 1973, a 1.40 N.A. achromat aplanat, or cat.# 1973A, also a 1.40 N.A. achromat aplanat. I don't know what the difference in the latter two is but 1973A has a red mark on it. My guess is that they have been tested to determine whether they are strain free but I have found no info. as to the significance of the red mark or the A suffix.
Last edited by apochronaut on Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#23 Post by apochronaut » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:14 pm

In each case an aux. lens is necessary as well, for the low power planfluorites or planapos. The 1092 condenser body has facility to accept one of those.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#24 Post by farnsy » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:53 am

Update

Image

Ok, I now have 4 fully working microscopes and 2 just holding on to parts. I'll go from left to right.

Main Microscope
  • 1036a with the best working parts of all my microscopes
  • Aspheric condenser
  • quintuple nosepiece
  • Best objectives (all are nicely parfocal):
    • 4X cat 1019
    • 10X cat 1021
    • 20X cat 1022 (amazing image on this one)
    • 40X cat 1023
    • 100X cat 1029
  • Asahi adapter and generic T to E mount adapter
  • Cat 437 eyepiece
  • Sony A5100
Working good. Only a few small hitches:
  • The cat 1309 40X is waaaaaay far from parfocal with the rest and it was bugging me, so I took it off. Moreover, it seems to have way less magnification than the 1023. I'm wondering if this 1309 is really appropriate in this microscope. Unfortunate because it was a little pricey.
  • The A5100 can't be charged and used at the same time (lame). I should have sprung for the A6300, which can. I bought an A/C adapter that looks like a battery to the camera. We'll see how it works out. I also made some filters out of photographic gel. At the moment I just keep a light blue one over the light source all the time (though not for this picture) to make the light pure white.
  • the condenser isn't perfectly aligned (none of them are). Makes it hard to use the DIY darkfield and rheinberg patches from ebay. The field diaphram is centerable, but not the condenser. Not sure this is a defect, since it doesn't seem like AO thought aligning the condenser was necessary. Even my centerable condenser only has centering for the filter, not for the condenser itself. I'm probably going to test out some shims and see if I can improve on it.
I actually prefer the left-handed stage (I got used to focusing and moving at the same time) but it's not nearly as tight and precise as the one I'm using. It also is in cosmetically poorer condition. I may make a project of figuring out how to adjust it...how hard can it be?

Things that aren't critical but I'm keeping an eye out for: An achromatic condenser, a polarizer analyzer, a darkfield condenser. Eventually I'll probably do a DIY LED conversion. I'll start with a spare microscope and if it works well, implement it in my main scopes.

Phase Contrast Scope

I used the one with the brightest light for this, the 1031, and put a quintuple nosepiece on it (still have one more of those left, actually). Working good--the condenser turret was in really good condition. I still want a trinocular head for it, along with a couple more phase contrast objectives. I haven't played with this one much yet, other than putting it together. I'm also keeping my eye open for one of those phase star apertures for it.

Working Series 4

Has a trinocular head and all working hardware now, but I don't have much use for it. I'll probably give this to my daughter or sell/trade it away. My only issue so far is that it only has a triple nosepiece. I'd like to steal the quadruple from the other 160mm scope but I simply cannot figure out how to get those nosepieces off. It was a piece of cake with the 10 series.

Another working 10 series

Another candidate to give to my daughter or sell. Everthing works. I'm not one to ship heavy packages, so I'm thinking of breaking it down and selling each part on ebay or putting it on craigslist for peanuts.

The Other Two

The other two have significant things that don't work (one is missing the illumination lens and the other doesn't have illumination at all and the stage is broken). Probably I'll scrounge for extra parts and parts that might be worth selling and then throw away.

Anyone near DFW want some American Optical parts? Anyone have parts they want to sell or trade me? I'll probably post in the buy/sell forum once I get a little more stabilized.

Still a work in progress. A special thanks to Pete and Phil for your wonderful guidance. Actually, thanks to all of you who have pitched in with your knowledge. You guys are heroes. I have had a lot of fun putting this together and there is still more fun on the way. For me and my daughter, actually.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#25 Post by apochronaut » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:00 am

The 1309 objective should be about the same magnification as the partner objectives and as well should be within a tweak of parfocal.
40X objectives, especially short working distance ones like the 1309 are prone to being dipped into immersion oil, after the 100X oil immersion objective has been used, when either absent mindedly rotating nosepiece or taking another look with a lower power. That's why they invented oil immersion 40s and 50s. My guess is that your 1309 has oil invasion, which would create a reducing lens in the 1st to 2nd lens interval and both reduce the magnification and as well alter the w.d. Likely it can be cleaned but it takes some time and skill.

AO had several condenser carrier choices. An average university or lab scope, where only BF would be employed might be ordered with a precentered condenser. Swap that condenser for another and whoops; all of a sudden the centering might be off some. A centering condenser mount was also available at extra cost. I thought some of your scopes had that. I will have to take another look........... I see one there, I think ; 4th scope from the left? Might want to move that carrier over to your scope of choice.

The Asahi mount looks pretty comfortable up there. Nice group.

If you had a spare 5 hole nosepiece, I would be interested in that.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#26 Post by farnsy » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:29 am

apochronaut wrote:The 1309 objective should be about the same magnification as the partner objectives and as well should be within a tweak of parfocal.
40X objectives, especially short working distance ones like the 1309 are prone to being dipped into immersion oil, after the 100X oil immersion objective has been used, when either absent mindedly rotating nosepiece or taking another look with a lower power. That's why they invented oil immersion 40s and 50s. My guess is that your 1309 has oil invasion, which would create a reducing lens in the 1st to 2nd lens interval and both reduce the magnification and as well alter the w.d. Likely it can be cleaned but it takes some time and skill.
Too bad. The image looks clean too. Just not the right magnification or focus point.
AO had several condenser carrier choices. An average university or lab scope, where only BF would be employed might be ordered with a precentered condenser. Swap that condenser for another and whoops; all of a sudden the centering might be off some. A centering condenser mount was also available at extra cost. I thought some of your scopes had that. I will have to take another look........... I see one there, I think ; 4th scope from the left? Might want to move that carrier over to your scope of choice.
The lens part of the centering condenser does not seem to be interchangeable with the aspheric one. Different sizes, unfortunately. Also on the centering condenser, only the filter can be moved, not the cone of light. I may be misunderstanding the problem and would love to have any diagnosis anyone has.

Here's my symptom: if I put on the 4X objective, remove the swing in lens and open the field diaphragm all the way, I see the cone of illumination significantly off center and to the right. If I close the field iris so it is smaller than the cone of illumination and put it in focus like I was doing Kohler, I can move it around with its adjustment screws, but when I open it up, the illuminated area is still where it was. If I loosen the screw holding the condenser and manually push the condenser over, I can push that cone to the center. Same symptom happens with any condenser I use. That's why I'm thinking it's the condenser fork that is at fault. Can it be adjusted? I'd switch out the body for a different one except this one has the smoothest focus.

Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps it's my objective/nose-piece that's wrong. It looks like the little piece of metal that holds the nose-piece detent in place may be adjustable using those screws...

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#27 Post by ebenbildmicroscopy » Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:55 am

Transfer the head from #3 and the phase optics from #2 and put them on #6.... DONE! #6 has the coveted 5 place nose-piece AND great illuminator! Find a phase contrast intermediate/Bertrand tube for same = SUPER DONE!!
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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#28 Post by apochronaut » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:36 am

farnsy wrote:
apochronaut wrote:The 1309 objective should be about the same magnification as the partner objectives and as well should be within a tweak of parfocal.
40X objectives, especially short working distance ones like the 1309 are prone to being dipped into immersion oil, after the 100X oil immersion objective has been used, when either absent mindedly rotating nosepiece or taking another look with a lower power. That's why they invented oil immersion 40s and 50s. My guess is that your 1309 has oil invasion, which would create a reducing lens in the 1st to 2nd lens interval and both reduce the magnification and as well alter the w.d. Likely it can be cleaned but it takes some time and skill.
Too bad. The image looks clean too. Just not the right magnification or focus point.
AO had several condenser carrier choices. An average university or lab scope, where only BF would be employed might be ordered with a precentered condenser. Swap that condenser for another and whoops; all of a sudden the centering might be off some. A centering condenser mount was also available at extra cost. I thought some of your scopes had that. I will have to take another look........... I see one there, I think ; 4th scope from the left? Might want to move that carrier over to your scope of choice.
The lens part of the centering condenser does not seem to be interchangeable with the aspheric one. Different sizes, unfortunately. Also on the centering condenser, only the filter can be moved, not the cone of light. I may be misunderstanding the problem and would love to have any diagnosis anyone has.

Here's my symptom: if I put on the 4X objective, remove the swing in lens and open the field diaphragm all the way, I see the cone of illumination significantly off center and to the right. If I close the field iris so it is smaller than the cone of illumination and put it in focus like I was doing Kohler, I can move it around with its adjustment screws, but when I open it up, the illuminated area is still where it was. If I loosen the screw holding the condenser and manually push the condenser over, I can push that cone to the center. Same symptom happens with any condenser I use. That's why I'm thinking it's the condenser fork that is at fault. Can it be adjusted? I'd switch out the body for a different one except this one has the smoothest focus.

Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps it's my objective/nose-piece that's wrong. It looks like the little piece of metal that holds the nose-piece detent in place may be adjustable using those screws...
The fork could be misaligned and also possibly the nosepiece. There is a little movement in the condenser fork mounting screws and the nospiece is aligned by adjusting the 3 allen screws that grip it's dovetail. The detente stop spring for the nosepiece, also moves the objective a bit laterally, and therefore can put the objective out of level, with a slightly offset image center.
I usually start by centering the field iris housing by lining it up to match the casting that it rests on.Then adjust the nospiece stop spring , so that the objective is dropping level to the stage, then adjust the nosepiece, to visually center over a closed field diaphragm. Align the condenser, lastly, to conform to the rest , then repeat with finer precision.
You may have to adjust the mirror, in order to center the illumination beam too.

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Re: Help me build an American Optical frankenscope

#29 Post by farnsy » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:18 am

The fork could be misaligned and also possibly the nosepiece. There is a little movement in the condenser fork mounting screws and the nospiece is aligned by adjusting the 3 allen screws that grip it's dovetail. The detente stop spring for the nosepiece, also moves the objective a bit laterally, and therefore can put the objective out of level, with a slightly offset image center.
I usually start by centering the field iris housing by lining it up to match the casting that it rests on.Then adjust the nospiece stop spring , so that the objective is dropping level to the stage, then adjust the nosepiece, to visually center over a closed field diaphragm. Align the condenser, lastly, to conform to the rest , then repeat with finer precision.
You may have to adjust the mirror, in order to center the illumination beam too.
This is exactly what I need to do--appreciate the guidance. I already tried adjusting the mirror but it did not make any difference that I saw. Going to give it some more love tomorrow. Several moving parts here to get right. I mean, it all works OK, but I really want this thing operating at optimal capacity.

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