Minimal manual version of the Openflexure microscope

Over on a different thread, the topic of a simplified version of the v7 microscope for manual operation came up. To avoid further thread creep I am starting this new topic on the manual v7.

The microscope is most capable when motorised, and when also using a Raspberry Pi camera so that the white balance and lens shading can be adjusted for the best images. However sometimes motorisation is not needed, and the image quality of a modified simple USB webcam is enough. The standard v7 body is not particularly comfortable for manual operation, and simpler legs can be appropriate when there is no Pi to enclose in the stand.

Because of the quality of the v7 code revisions led by @j.stirling, making a dedicated manual version required remarkably little development. This is not released option, and probably will not make it into the v7.0 release, so only use it if you are happy that there may be problems with the parts and the parts may change without notice. It is available from the merge request number 333, where you can access the parts in the instructions from the view app buttonimage. The manual body and simple leg stand are linked from the Customisations and alternatives page, at the bottom. There are no additional instructions, the manual main body is prepared and built into a microscope in the same way as for the motorised versions.

The manual body, printed here in ‘this is a test’ yellow, can sit on the microscope_stand_no_pi.stl for a very stable base.

I have also started on a more simple post mount that is much quicker to print and makes the smallest footprint while still being stable in use.

Printed in ‘this is a test’ yellow again, it makes a very compact overall system.

This is currently in a sub-branch while I work out what to call it. Again there is a view app button to see the built parts. I think the best name would be ‘simple post mount’. The microscope already uses ‘leg’, which refers to the actuator legs of the main stage, and ‘foot’ which refers to the parts at the base of the actuators.


Nice work @WilliamW, this is very cool. At the risk of feature-creep, I am wondering if your simple post mount might include (1) a way to screw it to the bench/a bit of wood/something heavy, possibly a couple of screw holes just behind the existing screws, and/or (2) something you could loop a cable tie through, to provide a little strain relief on the cable. On the other hand, either or both of those are not too hard for someone to add if they want to…

I think this is fab, definitely something we should include in the future but as you say, possibly not for 7.0.

I have already included a cable tie loop on the posts. Strain relief is particularly necessary as the USB cable is connected directly to the moving z-stage for this version of the optics.

There could easily be a screw hole for mounting. My first thought was in the middle of the curved wall, but actually the crook between the posts and the curved wall looks a neat place to put it.

Note: I have now merged the simple stand into the main merge request, so it is now available from there, not from its separate merge request given in the first post.


Tidying up I found that I had made provision for a screw point in my local branch, but I had not pushed it to Gitlab. That is now done, so the simple post mount now has mounting points.

There is also now a manual version of the separate z actuator for the Upright version of the microscope.

1 Like