Hacking a Metallurgical Microscope

[Amen] wanted to inspect ICs on the PCBs for suitability for reuse, so he bought a metallurgical microscope that illuminates from above rather than below, since it normally looks at opaque things. It has a working distance of 0.5 and 10mm, which isn’t a lot of room to solder.

The microscope didn’t come with a slide tray, so [amen] found a cheap one on eBay. Needing a connector block, he melted down some food trays into an ingot, which he then milled down into a block shape, drilled, and used to attach the slide tray to the microscope.

The thing came with a manual XY table, which the operator adjusts by turning knobs. It’s fine for most basic applications but it’s also a pain for more complicated projects, like tiling together a huge photo of a die. [amen]’s currently working on a powered XY based on a DVD drive’s stepper assemblies.

If you’re looking for more microscope projects, read up on the hacked inspection microscope and a Pi Zero ‘scope we previously published.

6 thoughts on “Hacking a Metallurgical Microscope

  1. Given that the microscope seems set up to allow for bottom lighting I would not describe it as a metallurgical scope (though it can certainly be used for that) but more generally as a trinocular stereo microscope. (trinocular means it has the third tube in the center for a camera or fixed single oculair lens. It seems to be set up for through lens lighting, also not a feature I’ve seen much for metallurgy. They tend to use external (ring) lights in my experience as through lens lighting can cause glare on metal parts.

    1. I should add, I’m slightly jealous. I’m on the lookout for a somewhat affordable stereo microscope but I’ve so far never found anything decent for a good price (after accounting for shipping.)

    2. i think your wrong because if you look closely you clearly see an (old style) lamp housing on the tube and i don’t see a condenser or light underneath. i definitely like the new holder.
      as far as the article goes stitching together a 5mm*5mm (?) die is not a big deal but obviously it depends on magnification and imaging system ( as in camera and adapter if it has a lens) i see a projection tube/c-mount??? that’s going to be a pretty narrow FoV which means lots of pictures… outch….. next upgrade should be a trinocular head with a large mount (if they exist can seem to make out the brand) should improve FoV drastically. combine that with a DSLR and you have to take about 4 times less pictures. by the way PTgui works very nicely with microscope pictures if you haven’t picked a stitching software yet and its fast (GPU acceleration)
      probably a LED upgrade is in order for light strength and evenness. depending on the material properties lighting from the side might work as well.

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