OpenFlexure Microscope v7.0.0-alpha1 released!

We are happy to announce the release of the first alpha version of v7.0.0.

This includes

  • More stable illumination
  • Better cable management
  • A new base
  • More nut traps to avoid striping plastic on the body
  • A large refactor of the code-base for maintainability, stability, and to ease understanding
  • All new instructions written in GitBuilding- A project that was started to improve the OpenFlexure documentation

Things which are not in this release but will be in v7.0.0

  • Complete instructions including mostly renders - We are releasing the now to get feedback but the documentation is unfinished, and we have some issues with renders taking too long on the CI
  • Improved illumination mounting including a custom board (There will remain an option to use a normal LED)
  • Refactoring the RMS optics module code OFEP2

There are lots of great improvements in v7. If you are printing a new microscope it is worth trying out.

If you are not building new, you can improve the usability of a v6 microscope with the new illumination dovetail and condenser mount that are backwards compatible. The condenser is much narrower, which allows the sample clips to be alongside the condenser and gives really good access to the slide.

The improved Pi lens spacer for the low-cost optics option is also compatible with v6

Something I forgot to mention! Very rude of me to forget @WilliamW’s contribution to the OpenSCAD :neutral_face:

Thank you, but my contribution was tiny. @j.stirling has done a huge quantity of work, both in the changes that you can see and also under the hood to make the code neater and so easier to understand and customise. The Upright microscope prototype would have been much harder without all of that.

This looks fantastic !
I will probably print and test that one in the next days !

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I have been going through the printed parts list to print one of these.
For anyone else building it, in the Print the plastic parts tab of the instructions, there are parts of the base missing.
There is the main base part microscope_stand.stl, and a part listed as motor_driver_case_sangaboard.stl. This part does not exist in v7, but the microscope stand will need the tray for the Raspberry Pi and also a tray to go on top of that to hold an Arduino Nano and motor drivers. This is shown in the posts OpenFlexure Microscope v7.0.0-Alpha is nearing. The parts needed I think are:
pi_stand.stl for the tray for the Pi
nano_converter_plate.stl for the tray to hold the Arduino Nano and motor controllers
nano_converter_plate_gripper.stl but I have not printed it yet, so not sure exactly where it goes.
There must be a place I could link directly to the STLs, but currently I find them through the build artefacts of the tagged release on GitLab.

Click on image at the right hand side and select build. That gets you a .zip file with all of the STLs

Edit: 6/9/2021: The build artefacts are no-longer available through this link

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@WilliamW thanks for mentioning that the artifacts associated with the release seem to have vanished. I’m not entirely sure why, because they do still exist! I can get them if I search for the relevant tag in the CI page, but Julian’s link below is much better.

(edit: I’ve removed the link to the pipelines page, because the release page is much better.)

We shouldn’t be sending people to the pipelines page. The relevant artefacts are attached to the release:

They are in the directory called “models

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ah, that’s much better - I didn’t appreciate the distinction between the “tag” rather than the “release”. It’s a shame GitLab doesn’t make the connection there more obvious (and I’m still a bit confused why the artifacts don’t show up there, given that they both reference the same git object). I’ve removed the link from my post to avoid confusion. I don’t know why I checked the CI pipeline before the build server…!