The original camera setup involved zip-tying t-slot aluminum to the microscope neck and positioning the camera based on a series of adjustments to the slot angles. There were a few issues with this setup. First, I didn't have any t-slot nuts, so it was always a pain to tighten things. I at first didn't have any t-slot L brackets either, but I had some nearly equivalent aluminum brackets, so that wasn't as big of a deal. Next, the small distances between the neck and the eyepiece really limited the flexibility in positioning the camera. It was very hard to position it accurately. Finally, the zip ties were only moderately stable, so if you hit it too hard, it would shift around.
The second setup I tried was to use a neck lamp as a flexible mount. It was abandoned because the camera was so much heavier than the light bulb that it caused it to sag. I took an old style fuse and ran a 1/4" bolt through it so it could mount to a camera. The camera isn't mounted to it here, but here I am disassembling it since I'm not going to use it anymore and bad things would happen if someone plugged in the lamp by mistake:
As the current setup is being upgraded for CNC control, the camera positioning will still remain manual since it doesn't need to be moved as the die is being scanned. Here is an overview of it:
Basically, this has two easy to position axis, which really help. The microscope eyepeice is on an angular axis and there is a linear slide that the camera is mounted on. Usually only minimal adjustment is needed with the t-slots, mostly for height. The slide was spring loaded to keep accurate positioning. When viewing the image manually, the eyepeice is swung around to the front of hte microscope where the neck is rather than at a 90 degree offset to standard orientation. This makes switching between manual and camera based viewing convenient.
Interesting to see the focal length as it relates to magnification. Here is 10X objective:
And here is 40X objective:
It looks like its touching, but its not. However, its very, very close. You can still get it out of focus by moving it closer. If you move it too close, the spring loaded objective lenses will move up rather than break. Here is what you see on the camera at 400X (more like 800X actually since we are zoomed in on the camera itself):
There is also a 100X objective, but I haven't looked into what it would take to use it. I believe I need to do something with immersion oil.
The original setup used an incandescent light. However, it only provided moderately acceptable light levels with the 40X objective. I recently bought a 500W halogen light that has really helped. However, its not very directional, so I installed a sandwich wrapper as a deflector to increase directionality to the sample and not blind the operator. As my friend Alex finished his lunch, he probably never thought about his burger wrapper again until he reads this. Little did he know it would become a critical ingredient in the camera setup after being banished to the gray cylinder labeled "TRASH."
Although it is festive, I'll probably replace it with some aluminum foil when I get a chance to go to the store or something.
This setup is pretty stable and I'm a lot happier with it over the previous one. It seems like a flexible mount would have been nice, but with the stability I've gained from the T-slot, this setup is probably best.
Thanks to Dane Kouttron (http://transistor-man.com/Index.html) for the pictures! Also thanks to Magesh Alagiriraj for lending me an SD card since mine died :(