Through the microscope

Archive for the ‘Restoration and cleaning’ Category

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Spiders in my microscope

Spiders in my microscope

I think it’s a cobweb

I mentioned yesterday that I bought a very tatty microscope to do up. Well this isn’t from that microscope, it’s from another microscope which I bought for spare parts. It came with four objectives on it, one of them is a Cooke 45X oil objective which I am reliably informed was designed by Bryan Payne – he of the well known book “Microscope Design and Construction”.

I already have one of these objectives but I was jolly pleased to have another. I took it off the microscope to inspect it and saw this. I think it’s a cobweb.

Spiders have been making their home in my microscope objective! I can’t imagine they caught many flies.

I shall have a look at the stuff under the microscope when I have space to set one up. At the moment my bench is covered in freshly painted microscopes and I can’t move them until tomorrow.

Could be mould, but I think it’s cobwebs.
I’m amused.

When I’ve cleaned it up I shall take a picture through it, to see how well it survived the spiders. Cooke objectives are tough. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s perfectly usable.

I came, I saw, I conquered

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By George I think she’s got it!  I have conquered the paint work. I ended up using plasti-kote spray enamel from a rattle can.

It’s not absolutely perfect – there are a couple of runs in the paint but considering I’ve never spray painted anything before I’m quite pleased. I will have to leave it to cure for a few weeks before I consider sanding the runs but I shall probably leave it as it is. The runs are quite small and I think I can live with them.

At least it’s an improvement and all the paint it the same colour and sheen. I rather suspect that getting new paint to blend with old paint is impossible unless you are an experienced coach builder.

This evening I shall do some sewing.

Live long and prosper earthlings!

Bloody paint!

Bloody paint is driving me mad!

I mixed my black hammerite paint in a 1:1 ratio satin:gloss, I thinned it a bit (15% ish) and used a gloss roller to apply it to the Cooke Troughton and Simms microscope.

The paint is full of little bubbles.

ARGHHH! I’ve used gloss rollers on doors with no problems at all, but it seems they dislike metal. If I’d known i’d have layed off the paint a brush or used a brush to start with. I’m going to have to wait for it to dry and sand it for the umpteenth time.

On the plus side I think the 50/50 ratio of satin:gloss might be correct. I think. I’ll have to wait until it’s completely dry before I can say for sure.

I have just noticed that Hammerite say that satin and smooth paints should not be mixed. I can’t imagine why. They’re all the same solvent base. I’m wondering if there’s some problem with mixing them or whether it’s just a matter of them not wanting to recommend an untested combination in the same way some clothes manufacturers put “dry clean only” labels on washable items to save the cost of testing them.  It may be that mixing the two kinds of paints makes them less than perfect for their intended use outdoors in all weathers. If so then it is of no importance to me. I shan’t be leaving my microscope exposed to the elements.

Grrr, arrghh, grumble, moan, whinge.

I will win the battle of the paint. I shall not be beaten by a bit of black pigment in solvent.

Paint it black

I see a microscope and I want to paint it black…

Forgive me Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, I was trying to think of a witty title and that was the best I could come up with.

The story so far: Japlac is too shiny for my Cooke Troughton and Simms microscope so I tried Hammerite satin. Hammerite satin is not shiny enough. It’s a lot better than the high gloss Japlac but it’s not quite right. I have a new cunning plan; I shall mix a little gloss Hammerite in with the satin paint. I shall start with a 2:1 ratio and go from there.

I’m also going to thin it a little and use a gloss roller. I tried an ultra fine gloss roller previously and it was rubbish. I still can’t figure out why they chose a fuzzy material for the ultra fine gloss roller. I had fuzz in my paint. I’m sticking with the normal foam gloss roller in future.

I’ve buggered my hand up again. The hurtiness seems to be travelling down the tendon from my index finger towards my wrist. Maybe it will travel down my wrist, up my arm,  into my shoulder, up my neck and into my head from where I can sneeze it out?

On the other hand (pun not intended) I may have to go to the doctor.

 

Getting the paint finish right

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I have been using Japlac on my Cooke Troughton and Simms microscopes but I have found it to have too high a sheen. No matter how much I polish the original paint work I cannot get it to a high sheen like the Japlac has. Where I have filled in cracks or chips the new paint is very obvious. I tried using emery paper to take the sheen down but then it looks too rough.

I have decided I need to abandon the Japlac. I have bought two hammerite paints: satin finish and smooth finish.

The amount of gloss a paint has can be expressed as a percentage of the light which is reflected back at an angle of 85 degrees. As no manufacturers bother to disclose this helpful information on the tin I have no option except to assess the two paints using an old fashioned method: eyesight.

I’ve painted the back of an old envelope and a dog food can to see what it looks like. As far as I can tell so far by eye, smooth means gloss finish (80% or more reflectance) and the satin is a lower sheen. Maybe 50% ?
It’s hard to guess how much light is being reflected but I think the satin paint will work out well.

Happy 2014 earthlings, I hope it’s a good one. May your microscope stands be shiny and your objectives clean and clear.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injury of the index finger on my right hand, I blame my microscopes. Sanding and polishing has caused damage. As I am sanding and polishing small areas at a time, and because it’s quite delicate work I tend to use my index finger most of the time. I have to use quite a lot of pressure because I have hypermobile joints and a very weak grip. My index finger is objecting. The metacarpophalangeal joint is sore and I look like I have been stung on the hand by a couple of bees. I can’t use a mouse and I can only use my thumb and pinky finger on my right hand. 

Bugger. 

I’m sure it will be fine. I just need to rest it for a week or two and adapt.My body has given me a warning and I shall heed it.  In future I shall wrap my sandpaper around a small block – like you do when sanding large surfaces. That will mean I am distributing the strain better instead of it all going on one finger.  I may have to wrap my polishing cloths around a stick of some kind too, so I can use more of a pencil grip. 

I’d type more but I’m used to using all my fingers to type and this is very slow. 

How many fingers do you use to type? 

I hope my hand gets better soon. I have stuff to do. 

Oooh! Next week I should be helping at an adult numeracy course. That will be fun. Teaching adults is a joy. 

Happy New Year to you all!

Cleaning the objectives

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I’ve been cleaning the outsides of the Cooke Troughton and Simms polarizing microscope objectives all day today while I’m waiting for the paint to dry on the stand. Not really difficult but time consuming. The outsides are filthy. It’s taking about 2 hours to do each one.

I have used about 100 cotton buds so far. I have to make sure I don’t get any polish on the lens. I’m quite good at nimble fingered stuff. I can get within about 2mm of the lens confidently.

Can you tell which ones I have cleaned? ha ha! Oh, and don’t worry, I haven’t stripped the paint off the 20X by accident. It didn’t have a painted band to start with.

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Microscope strip down

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Today’s project, more precisely, this week’s project. My Cooke Troughton and Simms polarizing microscope has been stripped down and cleaned. It was very grubby and covered in old grease, so much so that it was sticky to touch. Horrid.

I’ve had a go at restoration before with acceptable results. It’s a learning curve. Some things worked out better than others but I’m pretty certain I haven’t ever made anything worse.
I’m not confident enough to do anything to the insides of the tube yet. Just a quick poof of air with the air-poofer.

The CTS has been washed with vulpex soap, cleaned with Rennaissance pre-lim and it’s come up quite nicely. I have used a whole packet of cotton buds and dozens of lint free cloths and various bits have been degreased and regreased.

I had a bit of trouble with the coarse focus. The pin is slightly bent so I shall have to chat up my neighbour to get it straightened. He is quite handy with bits of metal, he can chat for England though so I need to allow at least two hours when I go round.

There was some kind of resin stuck fast to the feet. Initially, I thought there was rust and the paint had bubbled up but it was resin. I’ve sanded it down and now I need to repaint the sanded bits. Primer us on. I’ll paint before I go to bed.

This is the part I dread. I’ll paint and sand repeatedly and I still won’t be happy with the result. I think that’s where T-cut comes in.

I haven’t touched the optics yet. They won’t be too much trouble.

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