Simple Microscopes

A Short Tour

[Constantly Under Construction]



Leeuwenhoek Scope

Our class-made scopes will look like this one by Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723),

minus the fancy screw-adjusted specimen mount.



2008-Head of a Tick

David Leung's photograph using the camera on his phone

looking through a simple microscope made in class.

Not bad for a phone-camera, a hand-made lens, and the total lack of focusing control.


By limiting the color spectrum of illumination, the image would be sharper.

Here is a photograph I took of a tick's head from a simple microscope in 12/2011.

The central "beak" is broken because my specimen was really old and dry.

:SimpleScopes-pics:Tick "tongues":IMG_8514sm.jpg

Here are some tick heads from higher quality microscopes for comparison:

The image on the right roughly corresponds to the photos above.

:::::Downloads:Amblyomma_imitator,_nymph,_body_top,I_NTC58_1.jpg  :::::Downloads:Boophilus_annulatus,_male,_front_head_bottom,I_NTC280_1.jpg



Here are some photos of a fly's wing taken in 12/2011 from a homemade simple scope.

:SimpleScopes-pics:Fly wing:IMG_8519.JPG    :SimpleScopes-pics:Fly wing:IMG_8516.JPG

Here are two movies of "animicules" found in stream water.

These movies were taken using a cheap Canon digital camera and one of my home-made simple microscopes.

I haven't spent a lot of time trying to make videos of these animicules, so the quality of these is not great.

[Click on images for movies.]


::video&stills-swamp water:movies:ScreenShot-8537.jpg           ::video&stills-swamp water:movies:ScreenShot-8536.jpg  

The movie on the left is 21.8 MB and the one on the right is 9.5 MB.

These are the sorts of microscopic creatures that Leeuwenhoek saw, and it sort of freaked him out.


The image dances about the frame because I cannot get my camera close enough to the apeture to get a fuller view.

So I move it around to survey the general field.  It's hit or miss with my particular camera.  The LCD screen doesn't give a very high resolution image of what is being recorded, so I was sort of flying blind.  I caught these two creatures in the act.  Without the camera, just looking with my eye, I saw hundreds of little animules of many different shapes and sizes.  I still have some work to do to get better pictures.  I imagine an SLR would help a lot. 


Here are some photos of the manufacturing process.

:Simple_Microscopes-construction-2011-12:IMG_8386.JPG :Simple_Microscopes-construction-2011-12:IMG_8387.JPG

Drilled Out Penny 

I tap a gouge into the countersunk depression and then sand the other side until I get an aperture that I like.

 I switched to copper flashing recently.  It occurred to me that drilling a hole in Lincoln's head was in poor taste,

and might be illegal.  Let's just say I found these pennies, pre-drilled. 

Here is a short movie that shows the making of a lens.

::::::Images:ScreenShots:Picture 2.jpg

[Click on image for movie.]



A Simple Lens

It's easy to make a tiny lens, but they are very hard to use

– extremely short focal lengths and the magnifications are too high to be practical.

I try to make my lenses as large as I can.  Two or three millimeter lenses are relatively easy to make, but anything over that size starts to get tricky– they don't stay spherical, they tend to have lots of bubbles in them, they cloud over, they get a scaly surface.  You figure, the more glass you have to look through, the more possibility for problems.




I consider these to be medium to medium large lenses.



I make a lot of lenses in a session.

Unless the lens is obviously clouded or bubbly,

you never really know how it will perform until you mount it and take it on a test run.

I use 5-minute epoxy for mounting.

The little glass tails are helpful so that you can keep the glue off of the lens.

Once I have them provisionally secured by the tail, I can then go back and carefully apply more glue

around the circumference of the lens and/or apply some washers (as seen below)

to protect the lens from getting knocked off.

My method is always changing.



I then put the mounted lenses that work well into larger mounts for ease of use.

This is one of several styles of mounts that I've come up with.

This one is on the large side, which is good for supporting standard microscope slides,

but such a large mount can be awkward against your face.




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