Over the last year I have been following this site with great interest.
An immense amount of very useful information and discussions regarding all kinds of equipment for use in macrophotography.
For me it started when I found a very nice cross-table:
a Vertex X-Y cross-table made of solid stainless steel and brass with a good number of ball bearings.
The cross-table can be easily disassembled, cleaned, lubricated and finely tuned.
At the moment it is running very smoothly and the minimum resolution as indicated on the dials (0.02 mm) can be easily obtained
even when loaded up with maximum equipment.
The weight of the cross-table itself is 11.3 kg (25 lbs) so it is a very stable macro platform.
While moving the cross-table in one direction is very precise, moving back and forth shows some slack, which sometimes makes focusing difficult.
Also the resolution is limited to 0.02 mm.
With envy I followed all the discussions about focusing blocks from different kind of microscopes.
I checked regularly on eBay and local markets but most microscopes on offer are very expensive.
Especially the Olympus BH microscopes are still very much in demand and are sold for high prices even second hand.
At the beginning of this year I came across a couple of Olympus CH microscopes.
The basic design of these microscopes is the same as the Olympus BH microscopes but these were mainly used for student education.
They are much less sofisticated, but have the same focusing block and stage. Some of these are sold much cheaper second hand.
I also found an Olympus CH Service Manual, which I have scanned. The file can be found here:
Olympus CH Repair Manual
I could buy two of these microscopes for a very decent price. Both were well maintained and fully serviceable.
I also have a Nikon F2 camera to microscope adapter so I intend to use one of the Olympus CH microscopes as introduction into microphotography.
The other one however is to be integrated into my macro system.
That means major surgical operations. I would not call it “traumatic”; it is more like a “re-incarnation”.
As it is, the focusing block has been "machine-tooled" out of the microscope and for full integration I designed a specific U-brace.
The U-brace is made from 8 mm aluminum. In the picture the focus block is lying on its back.
The block is mounted to the U-brace on the left (vertical leg) where the original 4x M6 threads are used to fix the focusing block to the U-brace.
The back of the focus block is perfectly parallel to the front but as can be seen it its slightly rounded which makes it basically unstable (it wobbles).
The back of the focusing block has been slightly flattened.
The bottom part of the U-brace is mounted on both sides to the vertical legs by 3x M3 screws.
Finally there is a small “locking block” on top of the U-brace, which fixes the focusing block very tightly to the U-brace.
In the 'slider' on top of the focusing block (separate 8 mm block) and in the bottom part of the U-brace in total 3 M6 threads have been made
which hold one RRS (Really Right Stuff) quick mounting clamp and two RRS mini clamps.
The focusing block can now be fully integrated into my macro system.
The block can be used both horizontally as well as vertically.
Having integrated the focus block into the macro system it is clear the system now needs an extra mounting rail on the base plate.
I have one on order and in the mean time I’m redesigning both the (silver colored) basic sllding block as well as the base plate.
When it is finished I will post some more pictures.
edited for textual improvements, typos and a new link to the repair manual . . .