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Nikon , Olympus, Meiji, Swift Focus Blocks; & Setups
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JLyle



Joined: 01 Jan 2010
Posts: 15
Location: PA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChrisR wrote:
I've sent you a link to a file store site you can download the CH manual from. I originally got it from the link above. The link will, as that one has, expire in a couple of weeks.

I also have a stand which I believe is a BH variant, which feels "lumpy" so do let us know how you get on.
The focus mechanism isn't a nice discrete block you can simply unscrew. Pity!


Thanks. After looking at that I am going to pass on trying to extract the block from a CH scope. I am sure I can find some other blocks or scopes that don't require surgery.
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JLyle



Joined: 01 Jan 2010
Posts: 15
Location: PA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone here have any experience with extracting the block from a nikon Alphaphot scope??

I noticed the pictures of the nikon block earlier in this thread but saw no mention of what model it was from.
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7255
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That CH manual link:
admin - delete after 2 weeks, it'll have expired.
http://www.transferbigfiles.com/Get.aspx?id=81a93fc8-13fe-4674-9528-9b32202588b6
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Peter M. Macdonald



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 158
Location: Berwickshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A permanent (if anything on the web can be so called) source for lots of Olympus manuals, including the CH repair manual is at: -

http://www.alanwood.net/photography/olympus/downloads.html

Peter
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a BH repair manual at large?
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2530
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JLyle wrote:

I noticed the pictures of the nikon block earlier in this thread but saw no mention of what model it was from.


Some of these Nikon Focus Blocks (like the one I show) are part of a relatively simple industrial measuring scope that turn up infrequently on ebay.
Currently one
HERE
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7255
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Olympus CH microscopes, whole or as parts, are often seen for less than £100 / $100 or so.
The focus block gives about 30mm travel, all on both the coarse and fine knobs. The fine control is 200 microns per revolution.
The focus block doesn't come out as one without sawing up the metal casting though.
For extra height, the condenser mounting ring can be used as a support. Its rack can be put in upsiide down as shown to give more space.

The top end is held on with a dovetail ring, which can be fixed to a flat camera body cap with a hole in it (parts shown) to attach tubes etc, with a camera on top. Flat faced, metal body caps are available for at least some cameras, and provide a better fixing than the plastic one shown.

The lens turrent mounting is not flat, so it's not particularly easy to fix a camera lens mount such as a female body cap. The hole would also need to be enlarged for some lenses.

Click for larger pic:
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2530
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:54 am    Post subject: Nikon Focus Block Reply with quote

See this page for instructions of how to replace the fine focus drive of a Nikon Labophot/Optiphot.
For the 'older' 2 micron click models; not for the newer (?) Labphot-2/Optiphot-2 1 micron models.

HERE
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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Tesselator



Joined: 27 Mar 2010
Posts: 388
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using a microscope's focusing block for rack-focusing DOF stacks is a new idea to me. So of course I had to try it. Smile I pulled out what I thought was my cheapest scope and went to work. It was an old Oly. with several optional attachments for phase contrast and an assortment of condensers. I want to figure out a way to use those with this setup later but for now I just wanted to try the rack-focusing. Long story short: It worked! Very Happy

Here's the block after disassembly:



Man are those things super secure within the stand! Bolts and materials strong enough to hold up a house. :p So after removing it - which was actually pretty easy - I just set it on a non-slip rubber pad on my desk and pointed my camera at it. I aligned it by eye which is good enough for this test. The camera was mounted on a Linhof tripod.

I have tried stacking before but the focus on my camera isn't very precise. It for sure would never be able to rack-focus a macro shot. I could probably do a book-shelf with little trouble though. Wink So I guess you can imagine how happy I was when this 9mm wide and 15mm deep section of iron pyrite came out looking this good:


9mm wide, 8mm high, 15 mm deep, 40 images stacked in Helicon Focus 4.2.1, no post processing or sharpening, for some reason the bottom right corner came out smeary Question


I also decided to put the new version of Helicon through it's pases by choosing a very difficult subject: Flashed shinny surfaces. Helicon seems to accentuate lens bloom and probably flare too but all-in-all it did a very good job! I didn't use a microscope objective for this though. Instead I used a #5 and a #3 Kenko closeup filter stacked for 3.5:1 (3.5x) ratio at 35mm FF equivalence. I did another stack of 38 without flash - just room lighting at 1/2 a second SS - but I didn't like it as well as this one.



100% crop - bottom/center, 1/500, F/8, Flash, Subject distance: 8 cm from front lens, 22 cm from sensor plane.


Enjoy! And thanks for all the good information on setting up and using this technique! Domo arigatou gozaimasu!!! _(-.-)_
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PaulFurman



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: SF, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've acquired a BHMJ focus block and am working out how to use it in my rig. First I've got a question; the fine focus knob is extremely smooth, to the point of being downright slippery so that it's hard for me to turn without overshooting, etc. Is this normal and a good thing? I'm imagining some additional geared assist mechanism that lets me turn it more finely to get half tick marks or more, though that sounds complicated! I'd like to be able to do 20x or even 40x stacks, possibly with a large NA Mitutoyo compatible finite system like this Kramer 20x 0.60 NA or their 10x 0.45 NA which is supposed to be a good knockoff of the Optem HR 10X (ebay link for $400). Anyways, that's another discussion but something like that is going to need finer movement than the 2 micron ticks on the BHMJ block and will need a very sturdy rig.

Below I've done some rough photoshop pasteups to help understand how it'll work. I've got very limited space and will need to cut off almost half way through the post mounting hole on the focus block (removed part is shaded pink in my mock ups). There is a little brass ring inside the post hole which must be a pressure fitting but it appears I could cut through that and not impact the focus mechanism. I'm thinking of attaching it below the existing focus arm (which I currently have cut in half for the 'before' shot) so that I don't have to cut that dang cast iron again and can return to my current setup if this doesn't work out. Also that will put the fine focus knob at the bottom, away from the other knobs and in a comfortable position to reach. The blue part would be a piece of 3/8" steel plate with tripod mount hole for the bellows and 4 little holes for the focus block. So that's shown with a small cantilever to keep things from exending further. There's no room for quick release plates and I haven't worked out how to actually attach it to the focus arm. The focus block is soft aluminum and mostly hollowed out so shouldn't be too hard to cut.

My only real question here is if the fine focus knob should be so slippery and to give some context of where I'm headed but feel free to comment on other aspects. This will be a pretty big project and I want to be sure it makes sense before proceeding.

Proposal 1


Exploded Diagram


Before (currently):
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,

On the marked focus dial of the BHMJ you will see 4 holes on the inner ring close to the actual block. Insert an Allen Key in each of these...one hole at a time... and gently 'lever' the inner ring of the focus dial, either counter-clockwise or clockwise, I can't recall off-hand, but one way loosens and the other tightens (don't overdo it though). You will need to tighten it to some degree to carry the 'load' of the DSLR and bellows in addition to your other concerns.

The brass ring in the post mount has no impact on the focusing mechanism; it just makes a snug fitting for the post when the thumbscrew is tightened.

I'm looking at the other images. The BHMJ extends above and below the actual block; have you made allowances for this in your configuration? (on closer inspection, yes, you have)

The 'face plate' of the focus block is indented a few mm, so your adapter plate will need to compensate.

Paul wrote:
I've got very limited space and will need to cut off almost half way through the post mounting hole on the focus block (removed part is shaded pink in my mock ups).

That is going to be cutting it fine, maybe too close for comfort...a quarter or third at the most (the dials are in the way). How are you going to do that without dismantling the block? The BHMJ may look harmless; but there are hundreds of little bits inside that could become a problem should you decide to dismantle.

Does the toolmakers' scope have any course focus capabilites on the Z axis? You may be able to use an alternative bellows unit that does not have a focusing rail; a PB-5 for example in place of the PB-4. This may remove the need to modify the BHMJ and maintain centre positioning of objective and stage.

Craig
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PaulFurman



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: SF, CA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments Craig.

One more question... the block I got is damaged some, the un-markerd fine focus knob on the other side is actually bent so that it wobbles as it spins. That doesn't seem to be a problem (I won't even see it the way I work) but also if I pull on either knob, they will pull out a couple millimeters, each independently. It looks like it may have been modified somehow since the smallest diameter end face of the FF knob is (missing?) and a 6mm dia and long sst dowel protrudes with a sort of screwdriver slot in the end. Maybe for attaching a stepper motor.

Craig wrote:
> 4 holes on the inner ring close to the actual block. Insert an Allen Key

Ah, great!
Hmm, the hex wrench needed is somewhere between 2.5 and 3mm; 3/32 and 7/64.

> the (mounting plate) extends above and below the actual block; have you made allowances

Yep, it extends a little below so the cantilever plate length needs to span that above. You really need to have this stuff in your hands to figure it all out.

> The 'face plate' of the focus block is indented a few mm, so your adapter plate will need to compensate.

It's perfectly flush on mine but yes it'll need washers for each of the 4 screws I guess.

Paul wrote:
>> I've got very limited space and will need to cut off almost half way through the post mounting hole on the focus block (removed part is shaded pink in my mock ups).

> That is going to be cutting it fine, maybe too close for comfort...


It should be just possible to cut flush with the inside 'honeycomb' holes which are there to make it hollow, so that works out to 56mm (2-3/8") thick with 19mm (3/4") removed, about 1/3 of the post hole gone. I sure don't want to disassemble it, I can see bearings in there! The cut will need to be done with a long hack saw or band saw, which I don't have.

> You may be able to use an alternative bellows unit that does not have a focusing rail

The toolmaker's scope does have a good coarse focus (I can manage 0.5mm steps) but I like the extra reach in both directions because it allows me to put big lenses on and raise it way up high to use as a copy stand and reach all the way down to the glass stage. But I may need to do that, especially if I ever get the bottom light fixed, which needs to be aligned with the lens. Probably easier to get another condenser light & put it down inside. I do need to at least get it in the center of the stage for the stage's rotation to be useful. That's adjustable but it's best to have it centered in the range of movement. Right now it's just about perfectly centered and this change will put it off by 12mm (1/2"). The rotating stage would only work at the limit of the 1" range of movement if I don't cut off that 19mm. The PB-4 is about 125mm from mount to center of lens and I'd guess a PB-5 might gain me an inch, which would be about right. Thanks for the suggestion.

Argh, the tilting mechanism for the scopes post sticks out another couple millimeters! And if I don't have a shop make the 6mm cantilever plate for me, I could make it myself from 8mm thick wood (very hard Brazillian rosewood) but that loses another couple millimeters.
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enricosavazzi



Joined: 21 Nov 2009
Posts: 854
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,
perhaps you have already considered and discarded the option I am going to suggest, but I would do the following:

Build a square/rectangular base with a short vertical column that fits the Olympus focusing block. Mount the focusing block on this base. Attach to the moving platform of the focusing block a not-too-large aluminium stage for carrying subjects (you can make the stage with perpex if you are going to work with transmitted light). Place the focusing rack on the large XY stage of your scope (or bolt it down there if it moves around too easily while operating the fine focus).

This would avoid the need to modify the scope and the focusing rack, and still let you place the subject at the centre of the XY stage (albeit a little higher up). It would also increase the height of the bellows on the scope column, but the columns seems long enough to allow this.
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PaulFurman



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: SF, CA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ES,
I have thought about that and might do it. I could just put it aside when I don't need such fine steps. I also have a goniometer for tilt (+- 60 degrees with the pivot point 2" away) which is about the same size as the block so I could mount that off the side and mount a glass shelf off that. Then it would need a big heavy u-shaped microscope stand type of foot to keep the view clear below through the glass stage. The goniometer is solid brass and weighs as much as the focus block. I've used it alone like this on the stage with a 1/4" layer of sticky Sorbothane cushion to hold it in place. But I'm liking the glass for inserting colored backdrops.

Almost easier to just put a full microscope on the stage though with the head removed and glass on the mounting hole Smile

Add a camera mount with extension tubes and it's a portable stand.
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,

Just uploading more specific details regarding the adjustment of the focus dials on the BHMJ and some additional info on a rubber cap attachment for increased sensitivity of the fine focus adjustments.



The BHM and BHMJ microscopes manual is available for download on Alan Wood's excellent website.
http://www.alanwood.net/downloads/olympus-bhm-bh-2-brochure.pdf

Here is a picture of the BHMJ in its natural environment.







Craig
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