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Sadly, no Chinese manufacturer to date has cloned an SZH, but there are clones of other Olympus focus blocks.

None of these will fit as-is of course, the SZH is weird. But several look to be moddable with a little effort. So I chose a clone of a nicer Olympus coarse/fine assembly.

And now, a review of the FYSCOPE STEREO ZOOM MICROSCOPE COARSE AND FINE FOCUS ARM A4 76mm Size! Read more... )

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The SZH is not without its faults.

This is the focus block for an original Olympus SZH. It moves the microscope body up and down to focus on the work surface.

The SZH is a heavy body, even by stereo scope standards. But hey, the focus block looks beefy enough--- nice big knobs, large dovetail with hardened opposed cylinder bearings, even an internal articulating spring assist to counterbalance the microscope weight.

And like every other SZH focus block I've checked, the internal gearing is completely destroyed.

Here's what's left of the brass rack gear. It looks like someone tried to mod their way around the damage and failed spectacularly:

The racks disintegrate so easily because *this* is the pinion:

All that design work to handle the weight, and they used a tiny pinion that only has at most one tooth fully engaged at a time. That's facepalm territory.

Olympus must have realized the mistake, because the pinion was greatly enlarged in the updated focus block for the SZH10. A variant of that updated design is still in use on their current scopes. But one pretty much never sees SZH10 focus blocks for sale without the rest of a microscope.

Spare racks for the original SZH block are impossible to find, and I'm not equipped to hob out a new part. But why would I want to? The design would still be failure prone. And that leads us to FrankenScoping for fun (but not profit)...

Microscope! So why an SZH?

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:14 pm
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I actually like my AmScope. It's not exactly precision-manufacture and god only knows what glass it uses, but it's durably made, fairly ergonomic, and works well for the price. Only one regret: The camera port is damned near useless.

For some reason, Chinese stereo scopes mostly appear to be clones of old, low- and mid-range Olympus designs. That planted the Olympus bee in my bonnet.

You've probably heard that Nikon is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make cameras. Well, Olympus is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make microscopes.

Looking for no-holds-barred top shelf stereo optics, the current top of the Olympus stereo line is the SZX12. Which is awesome and even broken surplus parts are so far out of budget it's not funny. Mostly the same for the SZX10, its slightly less featureful little brother.

But it turns out the very top of the discontinued predecessor line, the SZH10, is similar enough that it takes many of the same accessories and was every bit as good a scope. And the SZH10 was just a minor feature tweak of the earlier SZH.

And the SZH line is so gloriously 1980s. I mean, just look at this ad. It's not a stereo zoom. No, it's a *super* stereo zoom. And raytracing is involved somehow. And lightning. This here 'scope is obviously real wrath-of-god stuff.

Anyway, the rest is serendipity: There just happened to be enough cheap-ish parts on eBay to hopefully piece together a complete SZH with no major flaws.

Parts have arrived, so here we go...

My First Superfuzzy!

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:36 am
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At first I thought a bird hit the window. I opened it to check for casualties, and in she fluttered...

I've been waiting a long time to see a polyphemus in person. She's battered and spent, but still beautiful.

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Remember a few weeks ago when I expressed some dissatisfaction with my AmScope's picture quality?

Well, I've put another iron in the fire: Collecting parts off eBay to build a once-top-of-the-line Olympus SZH. Now waiting for more bits to start trickling in.

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