Scaling up metallurgical builds and friendly hello

I’ve been building some metallurgical upright microscopes (for me + some others) and the main point of friction right now is building the beamsplitter. The first couple I built were based on some scrap half silvered mirror I had from old microscopes. However, to scale production up I’d ideally like to:

    1. Ideally buy pre-cut glass to size
    1. Alternatively have a very quick way to cut them to size

Long term I might talk to China optics vendors if I end up making a lot of them. Short term, I’m going to focus on cutting them down from the larger blanks easily available on AliExpress (30x30x1.1 mm is the cheapest). I know score + snap is the suggested way to do it, but I was also experimenting with machine methods to cut them down (ex: using a 50W fiber laser). Unfortunately no major breakthroughs yet. However, I also have access to a 1 kW fiber laser and maybe could also just CNC grind them.

Some background: I’ve been lurking a bit and should probably post a bit more here. I’ve been building OpenFlexure units for semiconductor applications / interest. This has ranged from general chip imaging with the metallurgical one to experimenting with low cost / computer controlled microprobing. I’ve been working on a number of mods including retrofitting it with bipolar steppers + GRBL to use with my own microscope software (pyuscope). However my main motivation is that I saw a lot of interest in this project and was trying to figure out how to get more units in the hands of interested people rather than to focus on significantly modifying the existing design. Professionally I do semiconductor focused consulting work and am also CTO of a small microscope company (Labsmore) specializing in computer controlled microscopes.

PS: is there a discord? Would be a great compliment to the forum for live project discussions


A few more build photos…



Great to see such an array of microscopes. I don’t think that I have heard of anyone using the reflection illumination on the upright before, how does it manage with stability with the off-centre mass of the illumination and potential off centre pull from the illumination wires?

From what I have seen, laser cutting glass is a tricky balance of parameters not just about power but also usually about the type of pulses. It would be beautiful to have slightly rounded corners though, like on a mobile phone screen.