Author Topic: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work  (Read 1261 times)

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Offline ollihd

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Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« on: May 12, 2021, 10:19:59 am »
Hi all,

I'm sure this is covered a million times, but was wondering if there is some new information out there. I had a flimsy MUSTOOL G1200 microscope from Bangood attached to a modified articulating arm (for a lamp) and it worked pretty well (until it quit working forever). The build quality was pretty poor as was the camera and firmware.

Now I'm looking to upgrade. What would you suggest? I like the fact of an integrated/attached monitor for inspection work and the ability to capture image/video on device. That said, I also like the idea of a stereoscopic microscope. What brands would you suggest looking at? I don't do that much of SMD work, but for the little I do, the old MUSTOOL worked for that.




 

Offline Psi

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2021, 10:30:09 am »
What price are you looking to spend?

Typical price for the general china microscope that most of us use is around USD$350 to USD$650 depending if you want a basic stand or a boom stand. 
Also a cameras upgrade can add a little extra too, they usually come with a cheapish 720p camera.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 10:32:13 am by Psi »
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Offline ollihd

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2021, 10:36:21 am »
Good question. I would say 500-700usd
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 10:43:45 am »
This is pretty good.
And luckyzoom is a known good seller
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32921214270.html

You just need to decide on simulfocus head or normal head.

The simulfocus head allows for both eyepieces and camera at the same time, the normal head has a switch with redirects one eyepiece to the camera.
Simulfocus is nice but the extra optics needed result in a small reduction in image quality compared to the normal head.

(Note: I don't know anything about the camera that is included in that bundle, YMMV)


Good things with that bundle are that
-Includes both the barlow lenses
-Includes the 1/2 camera adaptor that gives you a bigger picture via camera, without that your cameras only sees a tiny area in the center.
-Has a good double boom stand.

EDIT: Sorry, i didn't notice the huge shipping cost.  Shipping costs have really got crazy since covid :(
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 10:49:53 am by Psi »
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Offline wizard69

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 12:13:25 pm »
If you just want to be able to view a board on a video monitor you may be able to rework a USB camera designed for video conferencing.   That would be the extreme low end and can help minimize the number of video monitors on you desk.   Plus it should be easy to integrate into your current arm support.   

A more dedicated solution would be a video camera with HDMI output.   At th elow end you have something like this: https://www.amazon.com/MOKOSE-Digital-Security-Industry-Distortion/dp/B08BZPDRTS/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIj5v8tonE8AIVi8izCh2yRwSrEAMYAiAAEgI_8vD_BwE&hvadid=417005710537&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9005653&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=6365455859891983729&hvtargid=kwd-302125063582&hydadcr=18477_9831761&keywords=hd+camera+with+hdmi+output&qid=1620820261&sr=8-4.   Higher end solutions would use a common lens mount allowing for adaptation with the lens that fits your needs best.   Going with a common C Mount, you can go a low as: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33011944310.html?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.9.5ebd62b7px4WkP.

Now you may be wondering why I'm suggesting piecing together a system out of components, instead of an integrated system.   Well there are two big reasons, it is almost a certainty that the hardware you buy today will not be available tomorrow or the following year.    I run into this a lot at work, digital camera designs don't last long before they are replaced by something else in the market place.   I run into this a lot at work, as cameras fail you are generally forced to seek a new model to replace the old.   However buying a camera beats that expense of buying new optics and mechanicals.

The second reason to go with a camera that has a standard mount (C-Mount and F Mount just being two of a few popular mounts), is the availability of lens with a wide array of capabilities.   A company like Edmunds has a massive selection of lens, for example: https://www.edmundoptics.com/c/imaging-lenses/1000/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=homepage%20products&utm_term=imaging# and they are just one supplier.   

In the end there are two important elements of a vision system that frankly are more important than the camera itself.   That is the lens and the second item is the lighting.   The more control you have over these two things the better off you are.   The unfortunate thing is that lighting is a lot like the cameras themselves, what is here today may not be here tomorrow.   
 

Offline Manul

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 01:42:41 pm »
For me stereoscopic microscope is like day and night compared to 2D image on a screen. It feels real, it feels 3D, easier to have good hand coordination. But it needs to have a heavy stand and be stable. For example, Olympus makes some. Trinocular ones have a camera attached. I work a lot with SMD. But maybe even for someone who does not work a lot it might be a good investment, because good optical instrument can be used for the rest of your life basically.
 
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Offline jfiresto

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2021, 02:11:06 pm »
+1 that a good microscope will last a lifetime. I consider myself the present caretaker of mine.

... EDIT: Sorry, i didn't notice the huge shipping cost.  Shipping costs have really got crazy since covid :(

That is odd. When I view the link, it advertises free shipping to Germany with Fedex. I would expect much the same for Finland.
 

Offline ollihd

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2021, 02:44:31 pm »
Very true about the shipping.... If Germany is free it's almost smarter to order to Germany (forwarder) and forward to Finland :) Thanks for the replies so far! I will start doing some research. Space is also limited (very limited) -> have to do some measurements

EDIT: When you change to Germany it just adds the shipping price to the unit price....
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 02:46:15 pm by ollihd »
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 08:59:25 am »
+1 that a good microscope will last a lifetime. I consider myself the present caretaker of mine.

... EDIT: Sorry, i didn't notice the huge shipping cost.  Shipping costs have really got crazy since covid :(

That is odd. When I view the link, it advertises free shipping to Germany with Fedex. I would expect much the same for Finland.

I get +$362.04 shipping cost
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Offline gtm

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 01:05:51 pm »
Before buying a stereoscopic microscope I would first check whether you have stereo vision and how much of it.
Based on everyone recommending them for soldering, I bought a trinocular microscope with camera a few months ago, and I've come to the conclusion that it's easier and much more comfortable for me to solder using the camera and a monitor than the optical system.
I thought I had discovered that I was stereo-blind, but that's not the case, I have better depth perception with a stereo image, but just a little bit better, definitely not night and day.
I've come to the conclusion that although I have stereo vision, it's probably not a lot of it, and my brain also relies on other visual cues to determine depth, so the difference between stereo and mono is not that dramatic.
The problem I have with the optical microscope is that I have to set it up just right and be very still while looking through the eyepieces, moving half a millimeter will make me loose the image partially, or totally, in one or both oculars. This gets a bit tiring, sometimes I am more focused in keeping my neck/eyes perfectly aligned than in the actual soldering.
The quality of the optical image is of course very nice, and as I said, depth perception is a little bit better for me. But since I'm perfectly capable of soldering while looking at a display, and the ergonomics and working distance is better, I think that's what I'll use.
YMMV
 

Offline Manul

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2021, 06:16:29 pm »
Before buying a stereoscopic microscope I would first check whether you have stereo vision and how much of it.
Based on everyone recommending them for soldering, I bought a trinocular microscope with camera a few months ago, and I've come to the conclusion that it's easier and much more comfortable for me to solder using the camera and a monitor than the optical system.
I thought I had discovered that I was stereo-blind, but that's not the case, I have better depth perception with a stereo image, but just a little bit better, definitely not night and day.
I've come to the conclusion that although I have stereo vision, it's probably not a lot of it, and my brain also relies on other visual cues to determine depth, so the difference between stereo and mono is not that dramatic.
The problem I have with the optical microscope is that I have to set it up just right and be very still while looking through the eyepieces, moving half a millimeter will make me loose the image partially, or totally, in one or both oculars. This gets a bit tiring, sometimes I am more focused in keeping my neck/eyes perfectly aligned than in the actual soldering.
The quality of the optical image is of course very nice, and as I said, depth perception is a little bit better for me. But since I'm perfectly capable of soldering while looking at a display, and the ergonomics and working distance is better, I think that's what I'll use.
YMMV

I think, that not all stereoscopic microscopes are equal in providing stereo effect. Someone with optics knowledge will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that the amount of separation differs. The fact, that light goes into each eye separately does not by itself make it stereoscopic. It needs to have different left and right light paths through main objective lens. And the ratio between working distance and how much these paths are separated should define the depth of stereo effect.

Edit: Just measured, my microscope has 36mm main objective lens (quite big), 20mm separated left and right channels, working distance around 65mm. Maybe it is why it has good 3D? I don't know.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 06:26:13 pm by Manul »
 

Offline wizard69

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2021, 06:58:24 pm »
+1 that a good microscope will last a lifetime. I consider myself the present caretaker of mine.
The optics will the camera and electronics not so much.   This is why I prefer component systems built around lens systems with standard camera mounts.
Quote
... EDIT: Sorry, i didn't notice the huge shipping cost.  Shipping costs have really got crazy since covid :(

That is odd. When I view the link, it advertises free shipping to Germany with Fedex. I would expect much the same for Finland.
Shipping is always a problem and free just means it is built into the price somehow.   
 

Offline wizard69

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2021, 07:18:12 pm »
Before buying a stereoscopic microscope I would first check whether you have stereo vision and how much of it.
Based on everyone recommending them for soldering, I bought a trinocular microscope with camera a few months ago, and I've come to the conclusion that it's easier and much more comfortable for me to solder using the camera and a monitor than the optical system.
I thought I had discovered that I was stereo-blind, but that's not the case, I have better depth perception with a stereo image, but just a little bit better, definitely not night and day.
I've come to the conclusion that although I have stereo vision, it's probably not a lot of it, and my brain also relies on other visual cues to determine depth, so the difference between stereo and mono is not that dramatic.
The problem I have with the optical microscope is that I have to set it up just right and be very still while looking through the eyepieces, moving half a millimeter will make me loose the image partially, or totally, in one or both oculars. This gets a bit tiring, sometimes I am more focused in keeping my neck/eyes perfectly aligned than in the actual soldering.
The quality of the optical image is of course very nice, and as I said, depth perception is a little bit better for me. But since I'm perfectly capable of soldering while looking at a display, and the ergonomics and working distance is better, I think that's what I'll use.
YMMV

I think, that not all stereoscopic microscopes are equal in providing stereo effect.
A so called "binoviewer" is not a stereoscopic microscope.   The stereoscopic systems I know about have two lens systems.   Frankly I'm not sure if you could even produce a stereoscopic image with a single objective lens system.
Quote
Someone with optics knowledge will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that the amount of separation differs. The fact, that light goes into each eye separately does not by itself make it stereoscopic.
Exactly!
Quote
It needs to have different left and right light paths through main objective lens. And the ratio between working distance and how much these paths are separated should define the depth of stereo effect.

Edit: Just measured, my microscope has 36mm main objective lens (quite big), 20mm separated left and right channels, working distance around 65mm. Maybe it is why it has good 3D? I don't know.
Most likely.    There is a lot to how we perceive 3D, but you need the two light paths to the eyes.

In any event from my perspective the difference between using a video system vs a stereoscopic microscope is fatigue.     Obviously this only matters if you are doing a lot of work at a stereoscopic microscope but such  microscopes enforce very particular relationships between the part being inspected or worked on and the person viewing the work.   That is there is only one good position for your head with respect to the eyepieces and the microscope itself an only be positioned in one position relative to the board under inspection.   This can be a huge problem for people that are at the bench 8 hours a day working in front of a microscope.    For more casual users probably not a problem.

This isn't to say that video systems don't have user problems just that they are different than what you have with traditional microscopes.   One big advantage of a video system in my opinion is that you can get a larger board area on screen, in focus and often at a higher "magnification".   You also have freedom of viewing positions and can avoid the cramped conditions working in front of a microscope can create.

In the end neither approach is a perfect solution.    If one can afford it having both in a shop is a good idea.

 

Offline jfiresto

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2021, 07:37:56 pm »
Here is a grizzled example of a microscope, of the sort manul mentions, that passes both the left and right sides through a single main objective:



The images you get looking through the left and right sides of the lens are a bit different than you get out of a Greenough, double converging-objectives microscope, but the human brain can roll with it, and produces a nice 3-D effect. How much depends on the total magnification and the distance from the objective to the specimen. A single, big objective can gather a lot more light.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 07:43:05 pm by jfiresto »
 
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Offline tkamiya

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2021, 08:19:55 pm »
I have several stereo microscopes - the purely optical kind.  It will give you some sense of depth as opposed to flat image LCD and camera combination would give.  But the depth is very shallow because correct focus can only be obtained at a plane.  That will give a little bit of sense of depth and rest is out of focus. 

If you are going to buy one, I would recommend zoom type that goes LOW magnification enough.  Mine is 10x to 40x so, I have to add a barrow lens under the objective lens to make it 5x to 20x.  I will build using 5x and inspect really close trace or possible bridge at 20x.  40x is useful when looking for crack in solder.

As to particular brand, I like LaboMed.  It's an Indian brand but build quality is pretty high.  Nikon, Olymus, etc are all good.  If you already have an articulating arm, measure the diameter of the collar, and be sure to get one that matches.  There are more than one standard, and ones like Bosh Lamb (sp) are even rectangular.  American Optical is also well respected.  Meiji is also a good brand from Japan.

I don't recommend lower end of AmScope. 

For illumination, cheap ring light you can find everywhere works well.  I bought one from Amazon.

As to source, I'd buy good quality used rather than new.  30 years+ is nothing for well maintained ones.  Once fungus and mold starts growing on lenses, the scope is damaged beyond reasonable repair. 
 

Offline Manul

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2021, 10:01:40 pm »
So, here is my microscope's "front end" :) Also I taken pictures of what left and right eye sees. I had to take pictures from oculars, so it is not very nice quality, but I put it side by side and you can clearly see how different are angles (stereo separation) for left and right eye.
 
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Offline gtm

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2021, 10:08:18 pm »
Quote from: Manul on Today at 12:01:40
So, here is my microscope's "front end" :) Also I taken pictures of what left and right eye sees. I had to take pictures from oculars, so it is not very nice quality, but I put it side by side and you can clearly see how different are angles (stereo separation) for left and right eye.
Well, mine was cheap, but it is definitely a Greenough type stereo microscope, the only shared lens between left and right paths is the barlow lens. It's one of those Eakins, trinocular 7x-45x zoom types. Left and Right images are also at a slight different angle
It's not the scope, it's my brain. As I said I have "some" stereo vision, just not a lot of it, and I had no idea. I had to buy a stereo microscope to actually find out.
For a couple of days I thought I was totally stereo-blind, it took me a few experiments to realize that I have, at least, "some" stereo vision.
But that's the thing, I have to do the experiments, it's not immediately obvious.
What I'm trying to say is that, before buying a stereo microscope, it might be a good idea to first check that one is not stereo-blind,which is not that uncommon (1 in 10 people , I think I read somewhere). Or you might end up wasting money.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 10:16:06 pm by gtm »
 

Offline twospoons

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2021, 10:14:08 pm »
Personally I hate video microscopes. Every one I've seen has some lag between camera and screen, which is ok for inspection but makes soldering difficult.
I have an Eakins stereo zoom microscope, and it works great.  I have x10 and x20 widefield eyepieces and x2 and x0.5 Barlow lenses, so I can cover a huge magnification range.
 

Offline Manul

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2021, 10:31:41 pm »
Probably it is not perfect, but when viewing with my eyes I do not see any noticable geometric distortion or aberrations, picture is sharp and clear. So it is perfect for me. I already own it for 30 years. I'm now 35 :) I believe it is made in 60's or 70's. Russian, but some sources say that optics are not russian. I don't know really.

Found it on sale here, almost exactly like mine:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Microscope-MBS-2-Made-in-USSR-TOP-quality-/153841463303
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 10:33:54 pm by Manul »
 

Offline gtm

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2021, 10:57:59 pm »
Quote from: twospoons on Today at 12:14:08
Personally I hate video microscopes. Every one I've seen has some lag between camera and screen, which is ok for inspection but makes soldering difficult.
I have an Eakins stereo zoom microscope, and it works great.  I have x10 and x20 widefield eyepieces and x2 and x0.5 Barlow lenses, so I can cover a huge magnification range.
I'm thinking that my difficulties might be related to the eyepieces I use. I have a similar or same microscope but I use the 10x/20mm eyepieces. And I find almost impossible to get the full "circles of light" on both eyes, the slightest movement or even moving my eyeballs laterally, like looking at some component towards the edge of the field of view,  would cause one or both "circles of light" to blacken out, at least partially.
I wonder if widefield eyepieces would improve the situation. The truth is that I like quality of the optical image, it's just the un-forgiveness of it all that is a pain in the neck
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 12:11:32 pm by gtm »
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2021, 01:25:18 am »
At home, I have an old Olympus microscope I got surplus, and built my own stand for it.  I like it a lot.  At work, we have one of the Chinese stereo microscopes with the dual beam mount, and it is quite good, too.  I made my own illuminators that I like better.  They are a ring-shaped circuit board with two concentric ring tracks.  I mount 8 white LEDs with 1K resistors, and run it off a 12 V wall-wart supply.  The Chinese scope came with this huge fluorescent ring light that took away more than an inch of working distance.  I mount the PC board ring ABOVE the bottom edge of the scopes, so you lose NO working distance.  With about 4" (100 mm) working distance, I can do just about anything under there without
running into the scope.

These have been a godsend, for my neck and eyes!

These scopes had rubber eye guards, I removed or flipped them down, and use the scope without my glasses.  By getting the eyes close to the eyepieces you get a much bigger field of view.

Jon
 

Offline jfiresto

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2021, 06:08:52 am »
I wonder if widefield eyepieces would improve the situation. The truth is that I like the optical image, it's just the un-forgiveness of it what is a pain in the neck
If your microscope has diopter adjustments on both ocular tubes, I have a pair of nice, modern, very lightly used, fixed-focus Leica 10X/23 high eyepoint oculars I am not using, you could try, that would probably help a lot (the fixed-focus version, 10447136, of this one):



[original link]

I just need to find them and what I paid for them.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 06:39:13 am by jfiresto »
 
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Offline ollihd

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2021, 09:40:03 am »
Thank you for all the great answers. I'm kind of settling for this one atm:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001038582272.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.54182f68oemC0K&algo_pvid=a4f2ff70-3abd-4500-9d18-1ef15438e381&algo_expid=a4f2ff70-3abd-4500-9d18-1ef15438e381-1&btsid=0bb0623416208533584238663e575d&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

I can get that one delivered from Poland for 395eur. As far as I can tell, that is a pretty good price?

Thoughts:

- I know that the articulating arm will wobble a little bit, but it's a must for the space I'm going to be using the scope in
- I don't do that much of really zoomed in work, so I guess a little wobble won't bother me too much
- I can attach an external monitor for inspection work
- Has 0,5x for soldering work from a distance

Any downsides? Any experiences with Eakins? = from what I can see, almost all the chinese microscopes are more or less the same :D

 

Offline Psi

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2021, 09:56:43 am »
Any downsides? Any experiences with Eakins? = from what I can see, almost all the chinese microscopes are more or less the same :D

That microscope looks a bit different shape-wise to the general china microscopes that most of us use. (Maybe its a newer model or different brand) So I can't really say as to how good/bad it is.
You have acknowledged the wobble issue with those type of stands, so you're aware of that.
That's about all I can say.

Hopefully someone else has used that type of Eakins microscope.

Oh, and one other thing to mention. That link is fine (DHL ship), but if you end up getting a different one make sure it's not via EMS. To get a microscope from china you want DHL or FedEx.  EMS is a bad idea.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 10:06:26 am by Psi »
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Offline beanflying

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Re: Microscope for SMD and inspecting work
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2021, 10:42:19 am »

Any downsides? Any experiences with Eakins? = from what I can see, almost all the chinese microscopes are more or less the same :D

Much as this was supplied as a freebie by Eakins to SGS Electronics (a member here) and if you have a trawl through his videos you will find he has had a few other Chinese Trinoculars as a comparison. I used some of his and a bit more info to add a Camera to my recent secondhand Trinocular purchase.

My Custom shelf mount boom design idea is a WIP rather than bench mounted for mine. Some parts from a standard base mounted version, a few bits of 2040 extrusion, some 6mm Laser cut Acrylic and a couple of 20mm bolts for pivots (not shown).

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