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


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…!

Hi all, just to follow up from the post by @WilliamW I’m also trying to print this new version (I have already made the previous version and love it!) and I’m a little confused regarding the printing parts list.
Do all the electronics (pi+ardunio+driver boards) now go in this one component “microscope_stand.stl”

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Hi @greenalastair,

Yes. I think there is mistake on the printing list that it still tells you to print the motor base. This is on my TODO list to fix.

You should just need the microscope stand, and then the drawer for the raspberry pi. Assuming you are using and arduino nano and the little ICs that come with the motors there is a “Nano converter plate” as the drawer is designed for the new Sangaboard v0.4 (which we hope will be EMC tested and available in the near future).

This is where I have got to with printing. It is going to be in conventional microscope colours for a change from bright orange ;-). Unfortunately the assembly is not something that I can leave running in the background, and I have not got any further.
Main body, feet and illumination dovetail:

Microscope stand, lens spacer for the pi lens, and failed print of the cable tidy covers.

Reprint of the covers:

Camera platform for the low-cost optics, and sample clips,

Gears and condenser.

Then the parts missing from the build web page, pi_stand.stl, nano_converter_plate.stl and

(also a bright orange one for someone else)

Excellent! Nice prints. I’ve just finished the main body it took 19.5 hours on my ender 3v2 at 0.2mm layer height!

Regarding the base, yes nano and three ICs. I see how it fits together now, the drawer and nano plate are very tidy. Has anyone got it all fitting in the standard height stand including the wires or would you recommend printing the taller stand instead?


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It is a long print time in total, overall they are big parts.
For the base, there is only one height for the V7.0.0alpha, and it is designed to fit everything in. Part of the alpha test is whether we actually can fit it!

*****Edit: the part below is incorrect, but the thread will make less sense if I delete it. See post 16 ********
The different height bases only fit V6, but have not yet been removed from the build scripts so are still in the full list of STLs.

Seems like the base could be redesigned in separate pieces that print flat, which then fasten together. At worst, the short tapered section at the top could be printed and then mounted on top of a base made from four wall sections. I’ve seen similar changes cut ten hours off the print time.

Yes I tested it with the standard height version. I did make an effort to cable tie the leads to keep it somewhat neat:

The tall version is still needed if using the optics module for an infinity corrected objective.

The “no_pi” one may be useful for people who just want to mount the microscope without the pi inside. It will probably need some modification to get the wires out

That will teach me to look at the files, not just the file names. Oops.

Thanks all. I’ll get printing and report back.

Problem in the fixing of main body to stand …the nut slots are too large, the cable tidies are more of cosmetic use than functional.
I have little bit customized the power supply to the motors …a small power supply board fits in along with drivers and nano…from which you can power the led also. I have made a small opening(though ugly looking) in body and the pi holder for the dc jack.
I also couldnt find how & where to use the nano converter plate gripper.

This is concerning. Do you have more details. Are the nuts turning in the trap? Did you first pull the nut up into the hex seat and tighten. Here is a cutaway diagram of the nut traps for mounting main body.

The gripper is horrible, but it is just a little arm that attaches to the hole behind the nano and holds the nano in place.