Ordering optical, electronic and mechancial components for continental Europe


I discovered the OpenFlexure yesterday thanks to a friend. I printed, I admit faster than expected, the parts at home so now I’m ready to get the rest. I already have few RPis and cameras so I don’t need this.

For a bit of context I’m a software prototypist but since few months, beginning with IoT, I started to tinker with hardware. The truth is I don’t need a microscope but I find the concept and the community behind this project fascinating. I’m always eager to discover how open source hardware and software can enable new usages, especially if linked to research. I don’t like to “just” read about it though and instead try to make and share back with others around me after. I’m clarifying this point to say that I’m not a medical researcher in urgent need of parts but I’d still appreciate some pointers.

The rest though of the BOM, except basic things e.g soldering iron or resistor, is missing. In particular optics or dedicated circuits e.g Sangaboard.

I noticed that some items are available via openflexure-industries but unfortunately that seems to be UK only.

I normally buy electronics with DigiKey but I’m wondering if somebody already made a BOM compatible with it (didn’t even try copy pasting the CSV as part numbers seem limited). I’d rather avoid doing multiple orders (shipped from the US) or doing several back and forth at the corner shop (Brico in my case in Belgium) to get the wrong screws.

So… to summarize does somehow have a convenient way to get all or most parts in continental Europe? Did someone else in Belgium built one and if so where did you get your parts? If you are in Brusssels, up for a beer?

3D print and RPi ready!

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This is my BOM: Mini-hematology-lab/doc at main · WOIDMO/Mini-hematology-lab · GitHub

I’m in Belgium. Took two weeks to get everything.

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Very nice printing. I can’t help with parts sources in Belgium, but there are ways you can make the microscope using fewer of the more specialist parts:

Optics: One of the more expensive parts, and one that can be hard to get, is the tube lens that you need if using a microscope objective in the high resolution optics version that you have printed. The basic optics version uses only the parts from Raspberry Pi camera, which is much easier. It has remarkably good resolution, as in this thread Comparison of a pi-camera and a 20x optical lens.

Motor control: You can of course move the controls by hand which saves on all of the motorisation. Motorised autofocus is rather nice to have, and you can do automatic tiled scans if you have motors. You don’t need a special Sangaboard. An Arduino nano works just the same, using the controller boards that usually come in the pack with the 28BYJ-48 stepper motors. Instructions are: Motor controller boards (openflexure.org)

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@WilliamW sounds like the best first step then could be hand control with RPi camera. I imagine for this I would have most part at home, maybe need few screws from a repair shop and maybe initially just an LED for illumination but not sure where I’ll find the condenser lense.

From then I could order the tube lens and motors. I have no urgency there so if it takes days to get it, that’s perfectly fine. Thanks @sputs for the BoM but where did you actually order them? A supplier in Belgium or Europe?

PS: tried my luck sending Sput’s partial BoM (minus RPi+cam) to Brico (local reseller here in Belgium) to see if they can get all or most of it directly.

You will need the o-rings too. All of the bolts and o-rings are pretty readily available on various of the online marketplaces or specialist hardware store.

Thanks for the advice. I did manage to get the o-rings and some screws so I assembled few pieces, see photo below. For the optic modules I guess the first set of STL I found was for the high resolution one. Should I instead, in order to follow 2a as you suggested, go back to the STL generator and print the missing pieces?

Also for the high resolution optics I found some on EdmundOptics but not sure if that would fit.

In the STL selector you would need the Basic with Raspberry Pi main option to see the STLs that you need - camera_platform_picamera_2_LS65.stl and lens_spacer_picamera_2_pilens_LS65.stl.

The lens spacer in V6.1.5 has some extra plastic that makes the screws hard to fit. This is corrected in V7.0.0-Alpha which is functionally the same, but easier to install https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/v7.0.0-alpha1/models/lens_spacer_picamera_2_pilens.html

By the way, it looks as though something has gone wrong in the printing of your high resolution optics module, it has a big cylinder in he middle where the lens should go. Does the STL you have look like that? It is possibly a slicing issue, which slicer are you using?

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Thanks I’m currently printing lens_spacer_picamera_2_pilens_LS65.stl right now then camera_platform_picamera_2_LS65.stl via your link, should be done in an hour.

Apologies for the confusion but kudos on the excellent eye! I did stick multiple pieces from the high resolution STL set so that I wouldn’t lose any despite not using that (for now) but indeed it shouldn’t go there. Slicing and printing went well it’s just me being silly in that specific photo.

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And here is what I hope the result should look like. Posting in case others go down that path.

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