Upright microscope prototype

Here is a photograph of the upright microscope now in use viewing a bee leg.

We have now built a working upright microscope and we are in the progress of refining its structure and OpenScad code. The photograph below shows the progress of the rectangular z-axis and the z-spacer on the top row, and the condenser and mount on the second row, arranged in design order with the oldest designs on the righthand side moving the to the newest designs on the left hand side.


Hi @MilliRowland thanks for posting these :slight_smile: This is great to see and I’m sure there will be plenty more people interested in building one of these once it’s ready.

For the benefit of anyone coming across this, Milli’s work is already shared in a couple of merge requests, but isn’t yet documented or extensively tested, so play with it at your own risk… We hope to get it documented and make STLs available, but we’ve not set a date to do that. We will update here when that happens.

What is the benefit of the upright version?

In the ‘upright’ version, the condenser and the camera are the other way around compared to the ‘inverted’ microscope which is the main Openflexure model. It is advantageous to the ‘inverted’ microscope because you can view samples which are in a suspension or are large which is advantageous for example in biological observations or when looking at optical fibres. I am currently designing a spacer which at the moment is 25mm high, but this can be adapted in the future to have a variable height which would allow the condenser to be higher or lower depending on the thickness of the sample.


Upright microscope in use. Here are a few photographs of different slides being observed using the new upright microscope. The samples are listed below:

  1. Young pine staminate cone
  2. Cucurbita stem
  3. Feather
  4. Ipomea leaf
  5. Rabbit testis


I guess it will be much easier to change the objectives if anyone wishes to change in upright version.

@pristinscope It is not necessarily better, just different and will be appropriate for some applications. There are benefits to an inverted design in keeping all of the mechanics together below and only having the lightweight illumination high up. This is at least partly why the Openflexure microscope is designed from the start as an inverted microscope. If used with reflection or fluorescence optics an inverted design is particularly neat with nothing at all above the stage. However as @MilliRowland says there are some samples that are best not turned over to view from below. There have been a couple of threads here and elsewhere asking whether it is possible to make an upright version. I also had a thought of a particular project where I would need to observe the same whole leaf specimen from both sides simultaneously: with the upright version there is conceptually the possibility of placing a reflection optics module both above and below the stage. @Ram, I had only seen the potential to make optics changes easier when I looked at the latest version today.

I was slightly doubtful about the stability with the heavy optics module cantilevered over from the illumination mount. With the modifications @MilliRowland has made it seems fine. An aim is to make it work with the standard Openflexure Microscope body. It does benefit from a third screw on the triangular illumination mounting plate, which is now planned to be included in Version 7. Other than that it needs three new parts, the extra z-actuator, a spacer and a different condenser module. As @r.w.bowman says, it is at early draft stage, and it is not decided whether it will be a tested and supported option.

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This is soooo cool. It is amazing how versatile this microscope is. Great work!

Really excited about this, we are waiting on the files for this version so we can make a live nematode activity system, if a working beta-version is around with a pi-lens let me know.

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This is AWESOME! I would really like to build a version of the OFM like this.

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The microscope v7.0.0-alpha1 is out, which is the base version that the upright needs. Development of the upright is complete as far as it will go for now, but the final commits are spread a bit across multiple repositories.

We intend to tidy that up over the next couple of weeks so that there is a link that we can give for instructions and STLs.

Hi @WilliamW
I was wondering if there was any advance on this…
I was thinking about printing and testing the upright setup.

I see that I said ‘next couple of weeks’ back on 26th August. I have been doing some tidying to make the underlying code cleaner, but the STLs exist in the merge request !260.
I don’t quite know how to make the instructions available for you.

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Gracias @WilliamW
I will look there and see what I can get… maybe I will come back with some questions

I think William figured out how to get a version up on our build server:

I don’t know how ready it is to test, but I think with a bit of imagination you should be able to build one, provided the STLs are somewhere.

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The Upright microscope tab in those instructions should have everything. Links to all the STLs are in the Print the plastic parts step. @nanocastro has been testing it for me.

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hi all
So we finally assembly the upright microscope with @naikymen.
We followed the documentation and made some comments on the repo. We had some minor problems with the motors (not enough current from powersource) but otherwise everything seems to work

We already use it during a DIY soil microscopy workshop

We can upload some better pictures of the microscope if you need some. @naikymen took some notes of the upright assembly here (in spanish)

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That is very nice to see. Thank you for the comments on the documentation.

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I am pleased to say that the Upright microscope is now integrated into the main repository and incorporated in today’s release of A new alpha! v7.0.0-alpha2

Thanks once again to @MilliRowland for doing most of the work on this one, and @j.stirling for completing the integration with the rest of the release.