Public Lab Research note

Project Night: DIY Microscopes!

by partsandcrafts | October 22, 2017 21:45 | 417 views | 4 comments | #15080 | 417 views | 4 comments | #15080 22 Oct 21:45

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Project Night: DIY Microscopes!

Thursday 10/26, 6-8 pm Somerville Fab Lab 81 Highland Ave, Somerville MA 02143

As part of our first-ever Project Night at the Fab Lab, we're building microscopes!

The goal is to find an affordable, easy-to-build scope that can be used to visualize <5um particles for silica monitoring. Parts and Crafts has been exploring a variety of options for Raspberry Pi microscopes, including the Open Flexure microscope, the Hackteria scope, acrylic and LEGO scopes, the Foldscope, and a variety of 3D-printed smartphone adapters.

We've spent a lot of the past month learning, building, troubleshooting, and sourcing materials. We need YOU to come build some scopes, test out the available options, and give us feedback on how well they work! We'll have a Raspicam setup and a few separate designs to work through. Key questions include:

  • Is it easy to build?
  • Are the parts accessible?
  • Can we see what we need to see?
  • How can we break down the project to make it simpler / more understandable?


See here for an overview of Public Lab's frac sand monitoring work.

See here for more information about FabVille Somerville

What is Project Night? A monthly meet-up at the Fab Lab to hang out and share projects and ideas! Our first project night will include pizza, microscopes, open build time, and show and tell for people to share projects they're working on. Bring your friends and bring your projects! FREE and open to the public.

Workshop Debrief

Thank you to everyone who came out! We had about ten people at our first project night and had a great time building scopes. We spent a lot of time on general intro to Raspicam scopes + walkthrough of some simple builds, focusing on the Hackteria scope + the $1 Pocket Microscope, as well as introducing people to the Fab Lab.**Comparing Optics. **We looked at the side-by-side of the Open Flexure basic optics module and the high resolution assembly looking at samples of lung tissue (resolution details + images coming).

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Github print list for Open Flexure Microscope

Hackteria Microscope Build


Working through the Hackteria project build with the Open Flexure optics assembly

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Eric wrote up some very helpful build notes

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Will took all the pieces and started rearranging them.

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Next Steps

  • Compare resolution of Open Flexure optics modules (there are many)
  • Thing about how to integrate 3D printed optics with lasercut build platform
  • Document the Lego thread solution (not pictured)
  • Take more / better pictures

This event is on 10-26-2017 iCal

Please log in to RSVP


This is awesome -- are you ordering the bolts + nuts that we'd want to have at the Barnraising as well? We're trying to get a list of Amazon links together on @kgradow's post here:

@wmacfarl @bmela


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Hi @bmela, @kgradow1 and @wmacfarl - I made a worksheet so folks who build this can photo-document and share their questions and ideas!


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Yep, we have M3 and M4 screws that we are bringing to the Barnraising!

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We want to experiment with spring-mounted versions -- if you're ordering stuff, this should go on the list!

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