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A home-made "shaker" for cleaning specimens in soa

 
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Rylee Isitt



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 474
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:15 pm    Post subject: A home-made "shaker" for cleaning specimens in soa Reply with quote

I had a need for a shaker to gently agitate specimens in cleaning solution, but I figured that I just needed a very small, compact device, and decided to try building something before I went out and bought something. The end product worked so well that I have no plans to buy a lab shaker at this point.

The solution I ended up taking solves a few problems at once: how to gently agitate the specimen, and how to keep the specimen fully submerged despite its tendency to float.

Here is the solution:





It uses the focus stacking controller that I built, just with a new mode added that does nothing but turn the motor back and forth, like a washing machine on the agitation cycle.

Since I use hot water + soap solution, there is steam involved that condenses on everything inside the container. To prevent the motor from getting wet, I placed a rubber o-ring between the motor and lid, and used nylon spacers where the screws are, between the motor and lid, to give the o-ring room. I smeared plumber's grease between the shaft and motor to prevent moisture from seeping into the stepper motor body. Finally, I put some vent holes in the lid for steam to escape through.

The specimen is put in a wire mesh tea ball, fully submerged, and the motor attaches to the tea ball using a coupling and some brass wire.

The focus stacking controller needed no hardware changes, just a small addition to the software.

Since I had all of these parts already, cost was $0 and the whole thing probably took 45 minutes to assemble, including writing the code. This doesn't include the prior cost of the parts of course, or the time already invested in building the stacking controller.

Maybe this will inspire someone to a similar end... it's not pretty, but it seems to do the job quite nicely.


Last edited by Rylee Isitt on Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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canonian



Joined: 31 Aug 2010
Posts: 890
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very ingenious !
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TheLostVertex



Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Posts: 292
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool. Have you decided on the best settings for speed and how far it travels in one direction before reversing?
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-Steven
Flickr Macro Rig Control Software
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Rylee Isitt



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 474
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheLostVertex,

I just made it user-configurable, rather than hard-coding numbers into the software. The UI lets you set the number of steps it turns before it reverses, and the RPM at which it turns.

All three of my motors max out at somewhere around 200 RPM before they start stalling, which is pretty slow but plenty fast for cleaning, I would think. If you've ever watched your wash machine spin back and forth during the agitation cycle, it seems to be a similar speed.

It might be tricky to test experimentally... I'll probably just use whatever seems to work well enough and leave it at that.
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BugEZ



Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 626
Location: Loves Park Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very ingenious device. Can you post a video clip of it in action ?

The insect cleaning discussions have been very helpful as I occasionally receive wet specimens that have the fatty deposits you have described in your threads.

Keith.
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Rylee Isitt



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 474
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Keith,

Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3y3IZ1ZMIA

It's not a particularly good video but hopefully it does the job!
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BugEZ



Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 626
Location: Loves Park Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rylee!

This makes it very clear how often you reverse rotation and how fast you spin the specimen. Very helpful indeed! I have a box full of stepper motors that I purchased on Ebay and several "spare" controller chips that were left over from the construction of my own bug stepping apparatus. Making something similar will be a great winter project. We got 2" of snow last night...

Keith
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