Christmas holiday build

Just a quick one to note the build I did over Christmas. I saw the project mentioned recently in Physics World. Being the happy owner of a 3D printer and always wondering what real use it was, I knew I had to build a microscope. I’ve played with microscopes since childhood, but I’m completely blown away by this one!

I’ve built the pi camera lens version, the image quality is simply amazing. My childhood optical microsocpes could never really reveal very much detail - I used to search for insect compund eyes but never saw them, with openflexure a whole new world is revealed! I’d tried as a child to image red blood cells but never succeeded - now they are revealed in some detail. Nuclei in cells from the inside of my cheek, or the front end of an ant are all equally exciting.

I can’t tell you how impressed I am, thank you for such a great project. I’ve ordered a 40x objective and will fit that when it arrives. My son is a primary school teacher, my next build will be for him to use in the classroom, he thinks it will be a great resource!

My only problem was the small gears were a very loose fit on the stepper motors supplied by Amazon. I’ve modified the OpenSCAD source to make them a much better fit, would it be helpful if I contribute that back?

Thanks again, Martin


That is great. Have you got any pictures of what you have seen that you could post?

The gears are usually a reasonable fit, but not tight enough stay put a long time. The next version (v7.0.0-alpha currently) recommends threadlock to attach the gears (Alpha instructions).
Contributions of modified files are always welcome - as a merge request if you do GitLab (OpenFlexure · GitLab), or in a thread in Contributions - OpenFlexure Forum here.

Hi William, thanks for the reply. I’ve attached a few images from the microscope, and a photo of the build itself. I’m not a biologist, so might have mis-identified the ‘ant mouth’!

I’ll get the modified gear model uploaded either via gitlab or the forum, as you suggest.

Happy New Year!

Ant eye:

other eye:

Ant mouth:

Lilly Pollen:

Red blood cells (mine!):

The build:


Very nice! Thanks for posting some pictures, it’s always great to see builds and to hear that people are enjoying it :slight_smile:

Making a reliable push-fit that works on lots of different printers is notoriously tricky! I think sharing the modified SCAD/STL file in the forum as William suggests might be most immediately useful to people; we’d want to make sure that the revised part doesn’t end up too tight on some printers before merging it in - and we are keen to find a way of redesigning the push fit so it’s less critically dependent on your printer (we’ve done this to almost all the push-fits that used to exist on the microscope, and are continuing to do this in v7).

All the best, and do keep posting how you get on! We’re currently working on some educational materials (including a Scratch-like interface) so your son would be very welcome to get in touch as well. We’re aiming at Key Stage 3, early secondary school, but I’m sure some of what we do will be useful in a primary classroom with a bit more supervision!

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