OpenFlexure Microscope v7.0.0-Alpha is nearing

Hi all,

We are still some way off from a final release of version 7.0. But we feel we are near enough to an alpha release version that can be built and tested.

We have been doing huge amount of work cleaning up the microscope code base to make it easier to adjust. And we have also made a number of changes to make things more robust. Nut traps in the stage to stop things stripping, cable management, a new base, an illumination dovetail that locks. , and to separate explanations from instructions.

We have also refactored the documentation to separate different versions of the microscope using a tool we have written called GitBuilding. We have a (very incomplete) test version of our new documentation format which can be found here. We will then separate pages for instructions from explanation pages. Our hope is this will make the microscope accessible to an even wider audience.

The final hurdle big-ish is our new stand, with a drawer for the Raspberry Pi and the pi-hat Sangaboard v0.4

Tonight I have managed to adapt it to also work with the home-built Nano sangaboard

(the draw is 2-tone because I ran out of filament mid print, there is then a second printed platform attached into the drawer). There a still a few things to work out, like how to fix the nano in place. And it will look a lot messier when it is wired up!!


Some of the improvements @j.stirling mentions are shown in Progress with improved documentation - General - OpenFlexure Forum and Feedback wanted! Experimental new illumination mount - General - OpenFlexure Forum

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Will this or something similar be coming to the delta stage as well? Especially the non-Sangaboard version?

I want to start printing a new delta stage now (printed one about a year ago), but I am note sure if the electronic housing already covers all my needs.

@aurel This will be an alpha release of the microscope only and the timetable is not yet fixed.

For the delta stage, it has had a large number of improvements since you printed a year ago and it is now in the first full release OpenFlexure Delta Stage v1 - Announcements - OpenFlexure Forum. The bases of the two stages are currently quite different.

@WilliamW I have seen the improvements and the lates git revision.

I just don’t see how I can fit the non-sangaboard electronics into the bottom case. And I would prefer a similiar solution with some sort of “drawer” which is inserted into the base body for this.

Also I wonder if there is enough clearance for all the Dupont cable connectors in version posted above.

I am have not yet played with either this new base or the Deltastage base so I don’t know. My general go-to solution for fitting electronics in things is hot glue. That is how I have positioned my Nano and controllers in the version 6 microscope base.
(I recently did a complete waterproof motor housing by carefully applying and moulding hot-glue around it :slight_smile:)

I wonder too :sweat_smile:

I have tested the Sangaboard v0.4 that sits a little lower. for this one if the draw shuts it will be a bit of a squeeze. We may need to do some adjusting, before the alpha release, then we will have to see how well it works. This is partly why we are doing an alpha. There are so many things to test it is best to let everyone have a play and give some feedback.

Here is a video of assembly with a (slightly modified) Sangaboard V0.4. @aurel is correct that the DuPont connectors for the nano version sit too high. This will need fixing before we merge.

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Where can the current v7 SCAD files be downloaded?

V7 alpha is not released, so the nearest thing to a current version of V7 is the master branch OpenFlexure / openflexure-microscope · GitLab. This is not a complete working version (the current release is V6.1.5). The current Master branch is a working version and may not be a great deal of use for you. It contains the source code SCAD as far as it has been merged. Physically the structure is nearly complete but there are modifications still to come. However unless you know the code well it would be tricky to turn this SCAD into a microscope. In a multi-part object like this it is not clear in the SCAD which modules need to be built with which parameters to get the STLs of the parts for V7. The build script and CI/CD build pipelines in Gitlab have not yet been modified, so for example if you look at the STL artefacts that are created in the pipelines from the latest merges they have the V7 body, but the stand that is built is V6 and would not fit.

Update time!

Things have progressed slower than hoped. But we are going to get the release out in the very near future. The big sticking points were:

  • Ensuring all M3 cap screws can be the same size (M3x10). We have done this except the RMS optics module. The RMS optics module is going to undergo major code restructure before alpha2 (See OFEP2)
  • Making sure the Sangaboard-compatible Arduino nano circuit fits in the base

The Nano sangaboard fits in the base.

A bit of drilling will be required to get the power in, this is something we can fix in alpha2 rather than waste more time

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