Advice on fixing stiff Carl Zeiss Jena stage table?

Have questions about the equipment used for macro- or micro- photography? Post those questions in this forum.

Moderators: Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S.

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3537
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Advice on fixing stiff Carl Zeiss Jena stage table?

Post by Chris S. »

For integration into a vertical rig I'm building, I purchased a "Carl Zeiss Jena Microscope Stage Table AMPLIVAL Mikroskop" (eBay item 322514573451, in case that link doesn't work for anyone.)

While the seller described this subject stage being in "good condition," I find that the movements are stiff. The x movement is moderately stiff, while the y movement is very stiff.

For anyone who has repaired something like this, can you give me an idea how big a job it would be to fix this issue? I assume I'd have to take the stage apart, remove old grease, and replace the grease with something appropriate. I certainly recall hearing that appropriate greases are expensive. How expensive?

Are the bearings captive, or would I be chasing them and attempting to herd them back in place?

The screws on this stage have marks, so someone has clearly taken it apart before--or at least attempted it. I see this as a potential warning. Are there likely to be any worn out parts in there that would require replacement?

My alternatives are to fix the stage myself, or pursue the seller for a "not as described" item. I paid $45 for the stage, plus $30 to have it shipped from Russia. If I have to pay return shipping, it's not worth returning. On the other hand, making the seller eat the cost seems harsh. I don't mind doing the job if it takes an hour or two. However, I don't want a big, difficult, or expensive project--have enough of those already!

Advice? Thanks!

--Chris S.

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2752
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Usually on older XY systems the problem is oxidized grease. I've found that using a light penetrating oil will often do the trick to dissolve the grease and bring the mechanics back to usability without having to disassemble.

ChrisR
Site Admin
Posts: 8561
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:58 am
Location: Near London, UK

Post by ChrisR »

I don't know much about grease so shut up.
But conventional wisdom has it that the oils can evaporate over time, leaving excess filler which is supposed to hold on to oil until it's needed, and thickeners.
So your grease is mineral, or synthetic, or a blend. We may guess it's not a silicone grease because people are scared of their oils crawling one molecule thick, all over the farm.

That still leaves a lot, but - try WD40?? I've used it more times than I can remember, and the worst it ever did was not last very long. In many odd widgets it has behaved as though it got the grease going again by replacing enough of something. The last I tried was a micromanipulator which was practically seized. It still works as well as things I've bothered to dismantle to regrease.

Handiness of the squirty tube was a major perceived technical advantage of WD40. If you can see where to apply a spot or two, you could try a synthetic motor oil (or a semi-synthetic, as WD40 is mineral), as a general purpose oil. If your scope part had used a really exotic formula, one would have hoped that it wouldn't have gummed up.


Edit - I forgot the very last was the Pol ring on a Leitz condenser. I let one drop, off the end of said squirty tube, down the clamping thumbscrew hole and rotated the ring for a while. That was a few months ago - it's fine still.
Chris R

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3537
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

Thanks, gents.

So I'll keep the stage and give WD-40 a try. If I don't get silky smoothness, I'll go ahead and take the thing apart. If that doesn't work, I'm out $75--not a particularly grievous price for an experiment within our community.

Cheers,

--Chris S.

dolmadis
Posts: 737
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: UK

Post by dolmadis »

ChrisS

For what it is worth - no warranty !!

To relieve stiff running or even freeing seized threads I use a very little of a 50:50 mixture of automatic transmission fluid and acetone.

Never had a problem after using although with seized it may take an hour or so to penetrate or a second application.

No warranties, just my trick that I found from others.

BR


John

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3537
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

Thanks, John--will bear that in mind.

--Chris S.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic