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Finally built my dream focus stacking setup
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 973
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:38 am    Post subject: Finally built my dream focus stacking setup Reply with quote

One year ago, I was motivated by some focus stacking work I did back in 2008. Not having the kind of budget and machinery I did back then, I started playing with different kind of off the shelf parts, but in vain, well sort of, some of the setup worked but too expensive and I have to return them.

It took a long way and learned a lot during the process. For example, I learned how to measure stability of a rail using Zerene from Rik. Sure it was pain but worth it.

Now finally, I have built my dream setup : an industrial grade rail, a flexible controller that can be adapted to different motors (power can be set digitally via PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android phone), works with both iOS device and Android phone so that I do not have to fight my wife to use her iPhone, also works with PC with Bluetooth dongle.

Here is a picture of setup.



A: XYZR microstages to fine tune subject position
B: Borrowed Mitty lens
C: Raynox DCR-150 as tube lens
D: Lens support
E: Flexible Step Motor controller
F: Bluetooth BLE so that the rail can be controlled by iOS or Android devices
G: Industrial grade precision rail

One thing to do is to paint everything black to reduce reflection.

iPhone App Demo

Android App Demo

Of course, building it is one thing, using it is another, here are some pictures.




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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful images and setup!! Curious about your industrial rail and fixture components, could you please provide details?

I'm struggling with the Stackshot focus rail at small steps (~2 microns) and may just be at the limit of this rail.

Thanks,

Mike
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 1665
Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed while searching for Bill E's ZS Data Digger (which I can't find the link too), that you had been able to plot the rail movement using Zerene's core data.

Did you use Data Digger or just Excel for this?

Thanks,

Mike
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johan



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
Posts: 996

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mawyatt wrote:
Beautiful images and setup!! Curious about your industrial rail and fixture components, could you please provide details?

I'm struggling with the Stackshot focus rail at small steps (~2 microns) and may just be at the limit of this rail.

Thanks,

Mike


Peter makes and sells these - they're awesome! See https://goo.gl/Kxf3so

(1/3 micron minimum step)
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johan wrote:
mawyatt wrote:
Beautiful images and setup!! Curious about your industrial rail and fixture components, could you please provide details?

I'm struggling with the Stackshot focus rail at small steps (~2 microns) and may just be at the limit of this rail.

Thanks,

Mike


Peter makes and sells these - they're awesome! See https://goo.gl/Kxf3so

(1/3 micron minimum step)


Johan,

Thanks so much for the info. I went to Peters site and he has some very interesting items including the industrial rail.

At present I am running Zerene as a controller for Stackshot rail, and my system is built around this. Wonder if his rail could be easily adapted to work with the Stackshot box and Zerene controller? I use a Mac and not a PC, which might be an issue>

BTW do you have his industrial rail?

Cheers,

Mike
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johan



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
Posts: 996

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mawyatt wrote:
At present I am running Zerene as a controller for Stackshot rail, and my system is built around this. Wonder if his rail could be easily adapted to work with the Stackshot box and Zerene controller? I use a Mac and not a PC, which might be an issue>

BTW do you have his industrial rail?

Cheers,

Mike


You'll have to ask Peter directly about the first part of this question, but for the second part, yes I do have the industrial rail! It is extremely impressive - it has the edge over Stackshot in terms of minimum step size. Given this fact, I'd have to say it's the stage of choice for microscopists. Fwiw, it is on my list to review.
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Johan,

Thanks, I'll get a note off to Peter.

Best,

Mike
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 973
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi mawyatt,

the rail shown in the picture is actually a "prototype" for the precision rail on my website. It is an industrial surplus unit but works so beautifully that I have to make one, and is larger than the one you see. I will post some video as far as stability is concerned.

No, personally I do not think it is an easy task to make my rail to work with StackShot because I do not know specification of their system. However, I do know spec for mine, the motor I used for this setup is a bi-polar step motor with 1.5A per phase and the wires are arranged as A+ A- B+ B-, so I guess it is wiring and make sure their controller can supply 1.5A per phase current. The pitch for the lead screw is 2mm

Mac software is coming but it could take sometimes as I have a lot other projects going on. But it seems most my Mac customers are also iOS users, so the iPhone/iPad app can be helpful for them :-)

Zerene logs some data in its log view and you can extract data from there and plot the graphs. I wrote a PC software to do that, but since you are a Mac person, it does not help. However, it is amazing how accurate these data are, at subpixel level, and subsequently you can get really reliable result.

Regarding those fixtures, you can get them on eBay, they are called 8020 aluminum extrusion bars, or some call it T-slot bars. Search eBay for "8020 Aluminum" should give you enough results

Hope these answer your questions.
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Peter,

Maybe it would make sense just just use iPad until you get around to creating the Mac version.

I'll post some questions on your site and not tie your thread up.

For some reason I can't send out private messages from here, or at least I don't think they are making it since they don't show up in my sent folder. Did you get my pm??

Best,

Mike
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
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Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi mawyatt,

The rail shown is very similar to this one (disclaimer: I am not the seller on that item)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-THK-SKR3310AE-Linear-Bearing-Precision-Ground-Ballscrew-Actuator-CNC-KR33-/322299904292?hash=item4b0a924124:g:FqMAAOSwx2dYB~R4

But this one has 10mm pitch, so it is difficult to get sub-micron step. These industrial rails are amazing and they are made for precision and surplus units can be a huge bargain. Sure, they are EXPENSIVE, even surplus ones, but hey, you get what you pay for, right?
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mawyatt wrote:
For some reason I can't send out private messages from here, or at least I don't think they are making it since they don't show up in my sent folder

The forum software shows your outgoing PMs as being in your own Outbox until they are read by the reciplent. At that time they move to your Sentbox. Think of it is an unusual form of read-receipt.

--Rik
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3070
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Finally built my dream focus stacking setup Reply with quote

mawyatt wrote:
. . .I went to Peters site and he has some very interesting items including the industrial rail.

At present I am running Zerene as a controller for Stackshot rail, and my system is built around this. Wonder if his rail could be easily adapted to work with the Stackshot box and Zerene controller?

mjkzz wrote:
No, personally I do not think it is an easy task to make my rail to work with StackShot because I do not know specification of their system. However, I do know spec for mine, the motor I used for this setup is a bi-polar step motor with 1.5A per phase and the wires are arranged as A+ A- B+ B-, so I guess it is wiring and make sure their controller can supply 1.5A per phase current. The pitch for the lead screw is 2mm.

I think it would be easy to make Peter’s MJKZZ Motion Control Rail work with a StackShot controller and Zerene Stacker. I’ve done something similar with a microscope focus block. There is a good chance Peter's MJKZZ stepper motor would work well directly (though a wiring connector would need to be swapped); and if not, replacing the motor with a compatible one is neither difficult nor expensive.

The StackShot uses a bipolar stepper motor, as does the MJKZZ. The StackShot’s output current is user configurable via the torque setting. Cognisys will provide the pinouts on request, and sell you a connector for pocket change. I also know from experience that they’ll help you work through this sort of thing. (In my case, they helped me find a motor, ordered a couple specimens, terminated them, tested them, and sent me the better of the two, for a very modest fee.) Adjusting the StackShot controller's parameters for a 2mm lead screw would be trivial.

If for some reason the StackShot controller won’t work with Peter’s motor, just get a StackShot compatible motor in the same NEMA frame size and depth as Peter’s. Stepper motors are surprisingly cheap to buy.

mjkzz wrote:
One thing to do is to paint everything black to reduce reflection.

Paint? Shocked Wouldn't you prefer to anodize?

Cheers,

--Chris
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 973
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

Yes, if you know that you can change the pitch value for the screw in Stackshot controller, and given their controller can adjust output power, same as mine, it would be so easy.

And NOT just use my rails, though an industrial grade one, with that pitch and power stuff out of the way, it is just a matter of finding an industrial rail. The main purpose of this thread is to make people aware of industrial rails. I mean, think about it, these industrial rails are designed by SPECIALIZED professionals, manufactured by SPECIALIZED professionals, they have SPECIALIZED machinery and production lines just for this kind of product. A small machine shop just can not match that kind of infrastructure.

And best of all, very often you will find surplus rails like that at bargain price.
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mjkzz



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

Hahaha, I have to paint them, I do not have access to anodization shop for personal use.

Regards
Peter
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
mawyatt wrote:
For some reason I can't send out private messages from here, or at least I don't think they are making it since they don't show up in my sent folder

The forum software shows your outgoing PMs as being in your own Outbox until they are read by the reciplent. At that time they move to your Sentbox. Think of it is an unusual form of read-receipt.

--Rik


Ok, Thanks. Didn't know it worked that way.
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