A new alpha! v7.0.0-alpha2

I am using a long ball-end hex driver. The optics have to go very high to be in focus and I cannot reach it with the driver anymore. I have to tighten it and the push it hard to reach all the way up

That is a really clear picture.

Is that camera platform from the STLs of the V7? It looks as though you have the V6.1.5 where the screw is higher up than in the STL for V7.0.0 https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/v7.0.0-alpha2/models/camera_platform_picamera_2_pilens.html

There is I think a 10mm difference in screw position.
The V6.1.5 version:

I just printed the V7.0.0 Alpha2
They did a great job.
In the spirit of improving, I designed a cover for the LED, and redesigned the illumination Dovetail with a 5mm hole going from the top to the bottom; I drilled a hole at the body to take the wiring down. Then I realized that I could have gone through the hole (not opened yet in this version) of the Z cable tidy cover. Anyway, there are pictures and file for the diode cover. Cheers. Luis (lightandcolour@yahoo.com)

Microscope Dovetail v3.stl (121.8 KB)
OpenFlexure Led Cover Bottom v3.stl (255.8 KB)


Ha! That explains. Thanks. :pray:

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Nice! I have a very similar cap in design as well. Out plan was the same, put the LED in the cap, we want this to be compatible with bot the standard LED and the new circuit board we are creating and with a standard. This way we can have a diffuser on the top of the condenser and build in a well defined aperture.

We didn’t get this finished and tested for alpha-2, but it will be part of v7 release eventually

We do still need to improve the dovetail mounting. I think the biggest thing we need to change is to shorten the key-hole in the main body so that when the optics module is at the very top of the keyhole it is at the correct position.

I agree; the access to the bolt of the optics module casing cannot be accessed from the back of the Main Body when the bolt is in its upper position in the tang slot. (even when the Z stage is in its lower position)
A little tweak in the slot of the Main Body would allow the Allen wrench to reach the optics module bolt.

The optics modules should not need to go up as far as that to get focus on a slide. The suggestion from @j.stirling is that the slot is made only as long as it needs to be. That also should make it all a little stronger. The ball driver should be able to reach as far as it is needed for all standard V7 optics modules in the V7 body. I have only used the basic optics module myself so far.

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I am searching for a base model, that doesnot hold the raspi. i will use mine externally.
Save some time printing and height on the table.
can anyone point me to a file?

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Hi @dusjagr. There is a base without space for the Pi for Version 7.0.0-alpha2, but it does not seem to be linked anywhere from the build instructions. There is a download of all the files for the release where you can find it. All releases of the microscope are at https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope. The relevent zip file https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/openflexure-microscope-v7.0.0-alpha2.zip is quite large as it contains everything, but in the models directory there is the file you need microscope_stand_no_pi.stl.

Alternatively there is a simple hack in the “Where are you (OFM location survey)” thread https://openflexure.discourse.group/t/where-are-you-ofm-location-survey/771/16. The first link in that post has a microscope standing simply on long M3 bolts in the mounting holes. That is a Version 6, but the same idea would work on V7.

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For the Nano convertor plate (to use an Arduino Nano and separate motor controllers) the STL in the build docs for V7.0.0-alpha2 has the Nano in the wrong place.
See: OFM summer build - #4 by WilliamW

This is corrected in the main repository, but not on the Alpha-2 build. The simplest way around it is to use the convertor plate STL from V7.0.0-alpha1, in /models from https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/openflexure-microscope-v7.0.0-alpha1.zip

Hi everyone. I’m curious if the link to the assembly instructions will be updated on the OpenFlexure webpage soon. I realize only users from this forum or those who have been following the project are aware of this release. New users may be confused with STLs and instructions because the STL configurator doesn’t mention versions or recommend which version is better for specific components (e.g., webcam). I recently helped a PhD student (no mechanics and electronics experience) build the v7; she could access the assembly instructions only because her supervisor had the link.

I hope this feedback can help us as a community and be aware of this step before the release on the webpage.

The idea is that the web site has the version that is known to work and (should) not need extra help in understanding the build instructions. V7 Alpha2 is not quite there yet, there are parts that are not built as STLs, and the instructions are not yet complete. As you say, V7 is only accessible to people who have found this forum, but I think that the V7-Alpha does still need this forum thread, and maybe also posting questions, to complete a build. As one example the nanoconvertor plate STL in the Alpha-2 is wrong as noted in the post above.
The plan is to correct the remaining issues and complete the instructions and options. This is then a Beta release, which will be on the web site.

Thanks, @WilliamW! I just wanted to know because we will offer a workshop in Chile next month, and I’m in charge of curating documentation for participants. I hope to share our experience in another thread.

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@r.w.bowman is moving version 7.0.0-Alpha2 along to complete what @j.stirling was driving forward, and reach V7.0.0-Beta.

If you have any comments or suggestions from your experience of making and using the Alpha2 please let us know here or make an Issue on the GitLab repository. Many of the previous comments from the forum have been addressed, but we may have missed some. If you want to take a look at where we are now, the instructions and STLs from the latest build are at Assembly Instructions (openflexure.gitlab.io) (I think that link will only work until 2nd Nov 2022). Outstanding questions and comments that we know about are in the issues list Issues · OpenFlexure · GitLab for the whole project and Issues · OpenFlexure / openflexure-microscope · GitLab for the microscope hardware and instructions.

Hi, I’m building the new version and really like some of the improvements, for instance the cable slots. Great job, I am constantly amazed about all the thinking that went into the device and the nice little details you have thought of. Triangular holes for the screws - how cool is that?!

Now I have a few suggestions for the stage:

  • The connecting blocks at the upper flexure joints could be a bit taller, so that the nuts for the stage would slit into their slots more easily. Now it was a bit of a hassle to get them in because of the height difference.

  • The slide holder is really good idea and very good implementation I think, even parameterized to easily modifiy it. Great job again! Now I would prefer to have the slide aligned along the X and Y axis of the stage, e.g.for using a calibration grid or look at other periodically spaced structures. If the stage had another 4 mounting holes at 45°, one could mount the slide holder in either orientation. Unfortunately I am not proficient enough in OpenSCAD to provide a nice solution for that.

  • The central hole of the stage could be round (perhaps the outside contour of the stage, too?), so one could even have a rotating slide holder add-on. Actually, I also like the previous design with the sample riser, which makes the microscope more modular. That way, one could swap different sample holder add-ons without having to reprint the entire body.

  • The overall shape of the microscope looks awesome, compliments for the elegant design! Just for mounting it on a breadboard or attaching other things, a rectangular base or straight vertical mounting plate would be nice. Perhaps as an option? (I have been trying to hack something together, so far its not looking good, besides my poor implementation…)

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@rsxy I’m glad you are enjoying the new build, and thank you for the comments.

  • I am not sure which parts you are meaning here, could you put a photo or diagram?
  • Are you using the microscope motorised or manual? I have been thinking for some time that for the motorised version it might be easier to use with the camera rotated 45deg, which would line up with the slide holder and with the orientation of the ‘front’ relative to the illumination. There is not quite space for putting extra nut traps in the stage, I think.
  • The inside hole is faceted round, do you mean to have it basically that same shape, but with more facets so that it is rounder? Yes, the slide riser was useful because it did give that extra height to design slide holders, dish holders etc. It was taken out because the screws went straight into the plastic of the stage: if you stripped a thread in the plastic you had to print a new stage. Metal nuts in nut traps are robust, but they do take up that extra 10mm in height.
  • There are some ingenious mounting configurations around on this forum from users. Do any of those do what you want?

This seems like an easy fix which will help assembly. Thanks.

The current slide holder was somewhat cobbled together during some downtime. Glad it is helpful. I would think a 45 degree version could be made, not sure how easily a version that does both positions can be. Due to space constraints.

Modularity vs reliability has been a big discussion. The old microscope with the swapable risers had some strong advantages, however the top was too thin for nut traps and the screws would strip regularly requiring a new microscope body. This really cuts down on the reliability needed for many uses. My hope for the integrated riser was that it would still allow some modularity at the cost of trying to make the height of any attachments very low. The slide holder was the only test of this.

It would really be cool to see some people experiment with stage attachments, I think they should still be possible.

The overall shape is somewhat organic as we just fit walls around the components we need. I think that this can stay pretty much unchanged, but with the addition of some lugs. Ideally these lugs could sit on a standard breadboard spacing to avoid the need for another adapter plate. The code that that calculates the lugs for the microscope main body should be modular enough to be used for adding lugs to the base

@WilliamW, @j.stirling :

Thanks for your feedback - in the screenshot below I have marked these blocks and the step (dots). It’s just a detail but would make it easier to slip the nuts in.


For the extra holes rotated by 45°, some extra material would have to be added to the outside of the stage, as sketched in image. Sorry for the poor drawing!

As to the height and nuts - including nuts into the riser should work, if I understand right you are worried about the nuts for mounting the riser onto the stage. Here, the screws could come in from below, between the levers, through the low-profile stage, into the riser containing the nut - what do you think?

As to the central hole - that is indeed round, I had it wrong in mind, not having the microscope at hands while writing the message - my apologies!
I vaguely remember having seen something like a rotational stage, but can’t find it right now. Actually, myself, I would be allright with with the 45° option, to be able to align the slide or other object along the XY axes. So my suggestions are basically boiled down to small modifications - even better! :slight_smile:

As to the lugs - I’ll have a look at that in a future iteration. For now I’ll have a shot using my monkey-patched rectangular XY frame, let’s see how that works out…
Best regards!

Thank you for the picture, I understand what you mean now.

Building a riser that attaches from below could work, I think I can see a way to make both parts printable it just depends how awkward it is to get the screws in from below.