Author Topic: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?  (Read 17468 times)

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« on: November 29, 2012, 02:28:10 PM »
Going to visit east coast of USA in few weeks and thinking of buying myself some goodies.

Much of the tools I can find on the net-shops are same on the both sides of the bond, but there are few things that I could lug home from US.

One is stereo microscope, something like 20x, but I know next to nothing on this matter and would hate to have one broken on luggage handling.

I have seen some pictures taken on USB-microscope that have some measuring software. Prices wary wildly and I don't know at which price range crap turns to useful.

Wants:
* Measurements (metric units), length, r, and angles would be nice. Working software is very high on my list.
* Good mounting, something like camera thread or something, not wobbly clips
* Magnification about 20x?
* How many pixcels?
* Good enough optics that will show image without that much distortion, that it is impossible to compare shapes of common threading/cutting tools.
* Do I need polarizing filter and will that deside the model or am I better of buying camera filters and mount them front of the camera?

Nice-to-have
* Is is possible to have optics that will allow front lense some distance from the object without breaking the bank? I don't want to stick the lense right into cutting tool, but 20X there should be no need?
* Lighting and mount I can build, but if I get away with build in light, even better

I'm looking for very basic unit that will do few things well, if the optics and software is good enough, then I'll work out stages, mounts, lights and micrometers etc,

Any thoughts?

My plan "B" is to get some good loupes with reticles. Any suggestions on them?

Thanks,
Pekka

Offline Brass_Machine

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5197
  • Country: us
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2012, 02:30:18 PM »
Can't help you on the microscope... but where on the east coast are you going?

Eric
Science is fun.

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2012, 03:26:01 PM »
New York city couple of days and then Troy, NY.

http://madmodder.net/index.php/topic,7705.msg82580.html#msg82580

Would have love to see the American Precision Museum, but it seem to be closed. Anything (yesterday) scientific or industrial would be nice to see.

Pekka

Offline Raggle

  • In Memoriam
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 93
  • Newtown, Powys, Mid-Wales
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2012, 07:34:20 PM »
I bought one similar to this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/500X-USB-Digital-Microscope-2-0MP-video-camera-/260848910033

and it came with Coolingtech measurement software.

I've not used it much as it runs in Windows only and I rarely leave Ubuntu linux. But it is pretty good other than the supplied stand. There are shots of the measuring software in that ad, but they suggest a download from

http://www.joinnew.com/joinnew/NewsView.asp?id=10&.html

I haven't checked that one. Your risk :)

Ray
still turning handles  -  usually the wrong way

Offline ajawamnet

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Country: us
    • AJAWAM Swarf Page

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 05:36:54 PM »
Thank you all,

Choice of USB-microscopes and their suppliers is bewildering. Really hard to make any commitment without actually trying one or maybe someone has tried to measure carbide inserts / HSS-tools and thread forms with these?

I see couple of brands showing up:
Aven tools:
Item # 26700-300, zipScope USB digital Microscope 2M
http://aventools.thomasnet-navigator.com/item/digital-microscopes/-and-shop-microscopes-digital-microscopes-zipscope/26700-300?
    
Item # 26700-200, Mighty Scope Digital - 10-200x
http://aventools.thomasnet-navigator.com/item/digital-microscopes/mighty-scope-hand-held-digital-microscopes/26700-200?&bc=100|1211|1005|1006|1244x

Item # 26700-209-PLR, Mighty Scope Digital 5M - 10-200x
http://aventools.thomasnet-navigator.com/item/digital-microscopes/mighty-scope-hand-held-digital-microscopes/26700-209-plr?&bc=100|1211|1005|1006|1244x

I'm having hard time differenting them in terms on measuring some 6-20 mm long objects with fairly low accuracy demand. Image quality and large specimen to lense distance would be plus.

They seem to come with some software that should work with some measurement functions.

But they also sell separate software, that might be same or different?
Item # 26100-406, EZ Measure Software
http://aventools.thomasnet-navigator.com/item/all-categories/tegories-optical-inspection-tools-imaging-software/26100-406?cid=5451&prodid=1270&itemid=2134&backtoname=Item+%23+26700-300&pane=sb&bc=100|1211|1005|1006|1244x

And then there is of cource Dino-Lite that has very many models, but not sure which one would have right spec. without braking my bank.
http://www.dino-lite.com/products_list_class.php?product_type_name=Handheld%20Digital%20Microscope%28USB%29

Looks like they are very spesific purposes, but when resolution goes up even with 10 times cheaper ones, price skyrockets. Or am I googling on all wrong places?

Pekka




Offline Raggle

  • In Memoriam
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 93
  • Newtown, Powys, Mid-Wales
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2012, 07:20:19 PM »
I also have one of these, bought for 30 at Lidl in UK

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-BRESSER-20x80x350-USB-MICROSCOPE-WITH-SOFTWARE-Same-day-dispatch-/230883148382?pt=UK_Collectables_Scientific_MJ&hash=item35c1b5425e

There was no measuring software with it but the CoolingTech I mentioned earlier should work. It only works for saved images so I imagine they can be imported into the program, but i haven't tried it yet
still turning handles  -  usually the wrong way

Offline srm_92000

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Country: england
  • In NW Leicester
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2012, 08:13:49 PM »
Just recently I converted an old wireless colour camera, about 49 here in UK, into an edge finder for the mill.
I will post pics if anyone is interested.
The thing is I've used it more since for measuring things. as its wireless I can spin it by hand and mark my screen (old glass tube tv) with dry wipe marker, then use the dials to measure stuff. It's come in really handy.
Steve,
I put it back together using all the right parts,
just not necessarily in the right order.:scratch:
(Eric morecambe - ish)

Offline Fergus OMore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 979
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2012, 03:23:49 AM »
There are two articles which I recall.
The first was in a series in Model Engineers Workshop on a variety of subjects including webcams and the second was by a Mr Mike Trethewey who wrote up using a cheap web cam program called Centrecam also in MEW.

I recall making up the latter and registering my use.

Actually it is still available on the net but the update has yet to materialise

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2012, 12:56:06 PM »
Just recently I converted an old wireless colour camera, about 49 here in UK, into an edge finder for the mill.
I will post pics if anyone is interested.
The thing is I've used it more since for measuring things. as its wireless I can spin it by hand and mark my screen (old glass tube tv) with dry wipe marker, then use the dials to measure stuff. It's come in really handy.

I'm definately would like to see the mechanical structure and hear how did you mannaged to zero optical and mechanical axsis.

I have allways wondering how to use crosshair, reticle or such with USB-camera, but your solution is pretty clever and dispenses with computer altogether, which is pretty good.

There are two articles which I recall.
The first was in a series in Model Engineers Workshop on a variety of subjects including webcams and the second was by a Mr Mike Trethewey who wrote up using a cheap web cam program called Centrecam also in MEW.

I recall making up the latter and registering my use.

Actually it is still available on the net but the update has yet to materialise

I remember those articles! Very inspirational. Was there a catch of using certain model of web cam for centrecam?

My wish is that if the camera needs to be hooked up to the computer then computer, then computer should provide much functionality.

Pekka

Offline Fergus OMore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 979
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2012, 01:20:10 PM »
Re CentreCam, I used a very cheap webcam from a computer fair but the problem for me was the program. It would work on older versions of windows but there were problems with my higher ones.

I suspect that the program is no longer possible to down load.
I also vaguely recall a guy that wrote about this and his use of pinhole masks for alignment.

Old age, I'm afraid
Cheers

N

Guy was Peter Rawlinson writing in Model Engineers Workshop..

Hoorah for 'Pelmanism'

Offline Raggle

  • In Memoriam
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 93
  • Newtown, Powys, Mid-Wales
still turning handles  -  usually the wrong way

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 12:43:12 PM »
http://www.miketreth.mistral.co.uk/Software.htm

Ray

Centre cam:
Those pages are not updated lately. Anyone downloaded and used this lately? And if so, on what OS?
I have one pretty basic VGA "snake" camera lying around, I could try that one.

On USB-microscope front I probably go for Aven Zip scope. less see... or I could buy cheap 20x stereo microscopes, but they are without reticles and thus great for viewing, but not that great for measurement of small objects and comparing shapes.

Noticed that Mach3 has cross hair and some other features, but a little overkill for this application only.

Pekka

Offline srm_92000

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Country: england
  • In NW Leicester
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 02:58:24 PM »
Hi pekka and all,
Got some pics of my cam.
first one shows the general idea. the innards came from the little black case on the right.
I put the brass adjuster in but its not really needed if the case is extended a bit. just trial and error to get the best mag/size/depth of field required. The lens is the one that came with it mounted a bit further away from the sensor.
the sensor board was glued to a chamfered brass ring which is centred with the three cone point screws


Second is the back.
The body was bored from this side then the lens mount bored and threaded without removing.
The back plate was made and the pin (which locates in a bore not just by the screw) tightened into place with thread lock prior to machining the diameter that locates onto the bore.
Basically I just made it all as concentric as I could, probably didn't need to be so fussy.


The insides. Note the socket on the lead from the camera had a voltage reg moulded into it !
Don't just cut the wires!


The view on a tiny 5inch B&W tv sorry the pic is rubbish this looks a lot better in real life.
The rule in view is 1/2mm Divisions -yes half millimetre so about 40x mag 80mm screen height.

Using this is a bit weird as the camera is free to rotate, its worth putting a big mark on it to indicate bottom of picture.
optical - mechanical alignment is in two parts
Lens to axis - can't do much about it, it's as good as it is.
Sensor to axis set with screws so sensor centre is roughly mid screen.
doesn't seem to matter much.
I mark the screen with an edge in view, rotate 180, mark again split the difference to mark the centre.
Do the same on the other axis.
Now you have a spot the  middle-ish of the screen that corresponds to the axis of the spindle.
Hope some of this makes sense.
Cheers.
Steve,
I put it back together using all the right parts,
just not necessarily in the right order.:scratch:
(Eric morecambe - ish)

Offline ScroungerLee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 21
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 04:39:23 PM »
You can try this link

www.miketreth.mistral.co.uk/files/centrecam12.zip

I am on my iPad so I can't try it, but I think it works

Lee

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 02:09:39 PM »
You can try this link

www.miketreth.mistral.co.uk/files/centrecam12.zip

I am on my iPad so I can't try it, but I think it works

Lee

Thank you. I tried it and almost gave up installing it to celeron/vista combo. When I gave up and pressed a wrong button, it proceed to install. After something like five trials.

Only USBcam available was this contraption, sometimes described as snake cam, but it seemed to work with AMCAP.
http://www.clasohlson.com/uk/USB-Inspection-Camera/Pr363804000

First picture is test setup
Then picture capture trough AMCAP
Same view from CentreCam (screenshot)
Same view with Olympus 850SW

Bottom line: This camera/light combination offers far less than 10x loupe or 3diopter magnifying lence.

Probably this is allready clear to everybody else, but I noticed that the object to be measured and calibration reference has to be very close to same level. I could not get even close to 0,1 mm accuracy with centrecam/snake cam combination, no matter how much I calibrated. But this cam has something to do with it.

I suspect that camera has to perpendicular to the sample and reference and manuals focus would be highly desirable, probably also one good magnification.

I have narrowed my choice down to two particular USB-microscope makes:
1) Dino-Lite, basic one (software looks good, many tutorials on YT)
2) Aven Mighty Scope (not so convinced if all that resolution is good honest noninterpolated bits, but software seems to make it possible to compare two images, eg. thread specimen and "ideal" thread form.)

Aven seems to be more open, anyone used mighty scope with skype? Or Dino-Lite?

Pekka

Offline Fergus OMore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 979
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2012, 02:22:20 PM »
Centrecam- I did issue more than a hint about problems with  new versions of Windows.

Ah well :doh:

Norman

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2012, 03:01:35 PM »
Yup. You did. I read. But had to try! I'm sure there is something in this cheap camera set-up that has to useful and I'm not going to leave no stone unturned until I'll fiqure out where it stops being viable.

I have been eyeballing Hemigways centering microscope kit. An alternative to it would be AV-camera just like above, but I need to figure out how much resolution/magnification is needed to center Mill/drill accurately.

I would very much like to have solution without too much complication, but if a PC or laptop is needed it must then provide something extra and not just sit there processor crunching something stupid and let me do all the work!

I think that most cost effective for measuremet would be to construct some sort of shadowgraph with 20x stereo microscope and micrometer movable stylys to measure objects on one axis. I could use this to inspect my lathe/milling tools and check grinding quality (with my present skill and equipment - lack of it!).

For centering I could build/modify led ring light and I would like rest of it be purely optical, but I have no skill needed to design/build one from scratch.....and I have given up finding one old in working order AND one that won't break my back&bank.

Young man has right to dream.
Pekka

Offline Fergus OMore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 979
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2012, 03:38:31 PM »


Young man has right to dream.
Pekka

Nope but kindly to you, young Sir and it is old men who  dream dreams and have visions :doh:

So let an old man dream on and go back to yet an older man- none but Ned Westbury.

He wrote in many names and one was 'Geometer' and I believe that some of his  Microscope on the Lathe articles is still on the net.

My dear old 'brother in arms' J.W.Early and I ran into all sorts of problems when we tried to get such articles onto the net.  Maybe, someone can find them again or have the articles in Model Engineer in about 1963 and guessing Vol120.

Let me know how my memory is holding out.

Norm at--------------------82+

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi

Offline Fergus OMore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 979
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2012, 05:16:25 PM »
Yes, but there is a lot more. I'm guessing  :loco: that there is a bit using an occular which is similar to what is being offered in  Hemingwaykits

However, I suspect that you will want to have Advanced Machine Work by Robert H Smith as an aide memoire. Still on the net- ancient but brilliant.

Regards

Norman

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2012, 06:11:15 PM »
I'll check it bit later

I have:
Accurate Tool Work (1908)
http://archive.org/details/accuratetoolwor00stangoog
few pages of microscopes

and

Modern toolmaking methods
http://archive.org/details/moderntoolmakin00jonegoog
that has some inspirational measurement stuff

BUT they still don't convice me to make centering microscope and definately not one, that has great likelihood of working good enough to justify this soujours.

Pekka

Offline srm_92000

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Country: england
  • In NW Leicester
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2012, 07:33:22 PM »
Just to add to my post a little (Did anyone see it?)

Once you have a mark on screen you can just use the mill handles to measure anything. my main use is to measure things that are flexible specifically razor blades, but pitch of screws, thin sections etc. would be easy.
as edge finding or lining up to a punched mark goes it's simple.
I can easily repeat within .025mm and with care .01 or less.
once linear dimensions are taken it's easy to just draw it in a free CAD package to get any angles or other info needed.

 :coffee:
Steve,
I put it back together using all the right parts,
just not necessarily in the right order.:scratch:
(Eric morecambe - ish)

Offline AussieJimG

  • In Memoriam
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 381
  • Country: au
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2012, 11:26:22 PM »
I built one like yours Steve, using the innards of a Logitech webcam. As you say, having the sensor on axis is not a big deal. I was worried that it described a cone when the quill was rotated. In retrospect, that probably did not matter either.

But I put it to one side when I realised that the 640x400 pixel resolution of the (free) CentreCam software would not give me the accuracy I wanted - not down to 0.01mm. Perhaps if I had bought the updated software it would have been alright.

Jim

Offline Fergus OMore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 979
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2012, 03:09:57 AM »
Jim,
        A note here about Centrecam. I registered with Trethewey and have a number but all that registering does( did) was to remove the 'free' thing.  As indicated, Centrecam still has a  long way to go- and I've waited a long time. Moreover, I contacted him about the known problems using a higher level of Windows. I simply gave up. It cost me 20 or so to register and whilst I appreciated the potential, I was wasting my time.
N

Pekka,
That leads me to raise other questions about the viability of your plans. Years and years ago, I was involved in quality control and inspection and whatever. This was with access to a great deal more in measurement equipment than I have now in my small home workshop. OK, I have or had a lot of stuff far beyond the average home workshop but  I am going to question whether you have the backup equipment to go beyond what Geometer( Westbury?) possessed- and was able to construct from it.

Having said that, there are a lot of places which I visit where 'my finished work' is still in place( it's lasted well) but I would be the first to realise that it could not have been done with what I have -in my own workshop now- even with computers and whatever instead of a 'guessing stick'

I hope that I haven't upset you.

Norman


Offline AussieJimG

  • In Memoriam
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 381
  • Country: au
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2012, 03:57:07 AM »
Thank you Norman, that makes me feel much better. I am sorry you wasted your money but I am glad it was not me.

Jim

Offline Fergus OMore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 979
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2012, 04:52:40 AM »
A bit off topic but this Centrecam stuff was abandonned more or less in March 2007.

There were problems with-- Windows 98 which would accept or be happy with USB and it needed a old computer system to be fastened up. It wasn't very easy and when these digital scales and either 20 boxes or in my case Shumatech, the whole concept was simply a waste of space and time. After all, I had a Chinese mill drill which wasn't exactly inspection grade stuff.

I simply lived with what I had- and was satisfied.

So My thanks

Norman

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2012, 04:14:41 PM »
Just to add to my post a little (Did anyone see it?)

I'm pretty sure everybody did! I did and I'm drawing funny lookin triangules on paper and trying to figure figures out! But I have to do something else before I'll check this one out. Definately very inspirational. That would have made a great story on any hobby magazine or least here.

Pekka,
That leads me to raise other questions about the viability of your plans. Years and years ago, I was involved in quality control and inspection and whatever. This was with access to a great deal more in measurement equipment than I have now in my small home workshop. OK, I have or had a lot of stuff far beyond the average home workshop but  I am going to question whether you have the backup equipment to go beyond what Geometer( Westbury?) possessed- and was able to construct from it.

Having said that, there are a lot of places which I visit where 'my finished work' is still in place( it's lasted well) but I would be the first to realise that it could not have been done with what I have -in my own workshop now- even with computers and whatever instead of a 'guessing stick'

I hope that I haven't upset you.

Norman

Probably I'm too thick to get upset. My problem (the easiest one :lol:) is that most of my tools and measurement equipment is not really up to what I need, neither my skills. My skills are slowly improving and sometimes I even have an idea what kind of accuracy or trueness is needed to make things work. If can only measure my mistakes more accurately then I know what to improve. Much of my equipment is fairly close needed accuracy when used to compare right standard (and honestly most of the time firm-joint calipers would be enough). BUT when that fails I need something to reference back...basically slip gauge, try square and knife edge ruler that I know

But this is only one item partway down.

Back to USB/AV microscopes and finding uses for them. For another skil I ordered some die spotting ink (only took couple of months to get into this step, next one might be not that fast :lol:).

Pekka


Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2012, 06:23:03 PM »
I'm aware of that. Right after war it was even harder here, lucily I don't know much of it. I'm in awe what has been made before, but I'm not sure if I should miss that history or even: do you really miss you?

Rather much can be done with very little - certainly if you must and if you can fail.

I'm trying to make an high speed spindle....it's long way, but I allready overheated one prototype. I could bodge it with bearing retaining glue or I could try to do it right. Or I could hope to get two bores and one shaft co-centric close enough. Baby steps.

But one thing at the time. Optical centering scope would be cool to to make, and entertaining and possibly even usefull sometimes when I have painted myself on the corner.

Does anybody know a design, that has reticle on solid part (definately not on moving ocular) and even electrical engineer could make?

Pekka

Offline PekkaNF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Country: fi
Re: Which USB "microscope" for measurement / poor mans shadowgraph?
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2012, 04:35:49 AM »
Thank you, I have had Quorn book and this book has been very inspirational. I have had it years and "one" day....but there are tools and skills I need to build before. I have Sparreys book (My first ever ME book!) and few times it has saved my day, but now later when I looks some picture and setups, I'm sure they got work done, but nowadays would be considered "Bodge" or accident waitting to happen.

Today I have some "shop time" and band saw needs TLC.

Pekka