There's one thing left to worry about. The left hand focus knobs are, for whatever reason, set in toward the centerline of the focus block about a quarter of an inch compared to the right. The coarse knob almost-- but won't quite-- clear the SZH's uniquely wide microscope body.
If only I had some roughly 80-mil plate with which to fashion some spacers! Oh right...
(/me fishes spacer pieces from previous adapter attempt out of the scrap aluminum pile)
OK! First I need a ring spacer to set the coarse focus knob further away from the centerline.
Done! Now, the fine focus knob needs to be set away as well.
I considered making a shaft spacer, but it will weaken the overall assembly. Instead, I heated the brass inset in the fine focus knob until the ABS softened, then pushed it in 80 mil. I did use a guide to make sure it pushed in straight and flat-- no wobbling allowed.
The fine focus also has a spring-loaded friction mechanism to add a little resistance to it drifting. One side is built into the knob, which I just moved out 80-mil. So I need an 80-mil spacer to take up the slack.
Don't worry, the hammer in the background is a specially designed precision optics hammer.
I've set myself three requirements for the focus block graft:
- No modifications whatsoever to the original SZH microscope body
- End result has to work exactly as intended. No half-functional hacks.
- The end result must look professional, bordering on factory quality.
My original plan: Remove the microscope body mount from the block's dovetail, cut the ring part off, machine the remaining bit flat and add some additional bolt holes to secure it to the SZH.
And that kinda sorta works!
Unfortunately, the remaining block is not quite deep enough for the adjustment knobs to clear, nor is it tall enough to reach all four mounting holes on the back of the SZH body. That means I need to machine a spacer that would have to bolt to the mounting block, then those two pieces could mount to the dovetail and the scope.
Then I thought 'what am I doing?', chucked it, and grabbed a piece of aluminum that's actually the right size to start with.
So let's do this part again.
Sadly, no Chinese manufacturer to date has cloned an SZH, but there are clones of other Olympus focus blocks.
None of these will fit as-is of course, the SZH is weird. But several look to be moddable with a little effort. So I chose a clone of a nicer Olympus coarse/fine assembly.
And now, a review of the FYSCOPE STEREO ZOOM MICROSCOPE COARSE AND FINE FOCUS ARM A4 76mm Size! ( Read more... )
I actually like my AmScope. It's not exactly precision-manufacture and god only knows what glass it uses, but it's durably made, fairly ergonomic, and works well for the price. Only one regret: The camera port is damned near useless.
For some reason, Chinese stereo scopes mostly appear to be clones of old, low- and mid-range Olympus designs. That planted the Olympus bee in my bonnet.
You've probably heard that Nikon is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make cameras. Well, Olympus is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make microscopes.
Looking for no-holds-barred top shelf stereo optics, the current top of the Olympus stereo line is the SZX12. Which is awesome and even broken surplus parts are so far out of budget it's not funny. Mostly the same for the SZX10, its slightly less featureful little brother.
But it turns out the very top of the discontinued predecessor line, the SZH10, is similar enough that it takes many of the same accessories and was every bit as good a scope. And the SZH10 was just a minor feature tweak of the earlier SZH.
And the SZH line is so gloriously 1980s. I mean, just look at this ad. It's not a stereo zoom. No, it's a *super* stereo zoom. And raytracing is involved somehow. And lightning. This here 'scope is obviously real wrath-of-god stuff.
Anyway, the rest is serendipity: There just happened to be enough cheap-ish parts on eBay to hopefully piece together a complete SZH with no major flaws.
Parts have arrived, so here we go...
With the printer fuser repaired, I was able to get a good overlay print onto Papilio white self-adhesive polyester. Setting the print type to 'labels' produced the best result by far.
Then I cold-laminated a protective textured vinyl overlay onto that. It took a few attempts to find a technique that proces a good lamination with no bubbles, but here we are!
What good is a tool if you don't know what it can and cannot do?
...and that is how I lost a round of fuser roulette with my laser printer.
I was running self-adhesive polyester through the printer in some test runs for the control panel overlays, and a sheet separated from the liner in the feed, the adhesive on the folded-over corner caught the fuser, and, well, that was that.
"Paper jam in tray 2"
The good and rather unexpected news: Despite other failings, HP is still publishing highly-complete tear-down and service manuals for its consumer printers, and my M277dw was no exception.
The fuser is not a user-replaceable part, and the printer is not designed to be easy to disassemble. It took me almost an hour of work to finally extract the fuser unit. But everything came apart according to the manual, and although the fuser wasn't intended to be disassembled either, it too broke down without fuss. Another half hour of slowly peeling sticky, melted polyester off the roller later, I had it clean.
And, miraculously, after getting everything back together-- the printer still worked perfectly. No damage. Whew.
In any case, lesson learned: From now on I run my adhesive media with a masking tape leader folded over the front edge.
Most makers I know keep a bunch of paint colors around.
Me, I have a few primaries and maybe 40 different whites. Nothing messes with me like THE WRONG WHITE. And yes, I *do* own a handheld spectrophotometer! Why do you ask?
I need to paint my new control panel with a good match to the other panels, so I got out my paint test strips. It's hard to tell, but there are five different white stripes on the particular pictured strip.
Anyway, we have a winner! Spectrophotometer agrees! The laser cutter's white matches Duplicolor 'Toyota White'.
Switch and indicator cutouts, final welds, and a nice layer of light-grey primer: DONE.
The cutouts were done on Fox's nice DeWalt scroll saw. Strong enough for a metal, even if it's made for a wood.
I didn't bother with super-precise cuts, nor was I particularly careful with the grinder. There's a number of imperfections that aren't obvious in the picture (though the wiggly cuts kinda are). But that's OK: it all gets covered by the printed control overlay, so none of that will show.
Next step is real painting. Humidity is near 100% right now though, so I probably won't be able to do that until tomorrow.
The tack welds for the bend, hinge, and closure are in. It's time for a test fit.
Not too bad, not perfect. I started the half-inch-radius bend in the front just a smidge too far up the hatch so there's a 1/16" or so mismatch backward and up.
Also, I had a little trouble with one of the tack welds for the right hinge fitting. It's angled up slightly to put the pin at the right height, so it's not actually sitting flat against the 22ga steel the hatch is made of. The not-quite-a-lap-weld Just Would Not Bridge.
Cranking the amps up to somewhere between Righteous Fury and Raining Hellfire did the trick, but thank goodness for the aluminum chill strip or I'd have punched a dime size hole right through. As it is, it's nothing a grinder can't fix.
I think I'm going with this. It's not like the OEM enclosure is exactly precision manufacture either.
Guess who I found all spiffy and alert and about three inches across as I opened the door toward the shop room!
What a gorgeous fishing spider. Either she just got in, or there's more for her to eat in here than I expected.
[Fishing spiders are huge but ~ harmless. And yes, they really do catch fish.]