Microscope focus rack-camera adapter

08 December 2017

Most of the beetle plate images I upload on this page are focus-stacked images of, in average, from 20 to 50 images. Museums and Institutions now commonly use this photographing technique to illustrate the clear and focused image of insect specimens, with electronically and remotely moving focus rails and lenses. Since those equipment are very expensive, I just tightly hold down my camera on desk with one hand then turning the focus ring with my other hand to move the focus point. I then merge the files into one single file using Adobe Photoshop. It usually works well, as long as legs or any other part of specimen do not cross over each other. If they cross over each other, I will be needing more and more images to accurately process it. This, however, is very inconvenient way of shooting as I do not have the fancy equipment. I decided to make an adapter for the camera to be attached on a focus rack of my microscope. I quickly measured rough sizes of camera, lens, focus rack, etc. to draw up on CAD for 3D printing.

3D print design

Finished product from the 3D printing service

L: Adapter fits on focus rack perfectly!
R: Camera fits on the adapter very well!

This is how the adapter sits on the rack to hold the camera tightly. Now, I’m able to change the focus more slightly in detail, and more conveniently work on shooting images. As I don’t have to change the focus by turning the focus ring of the lens, I can take more and more shots of images. Below is an example image from this method of Mecynorrhina polyphemus female. Fifty two files are merged.


If I held the camera on hand and try to change the focus point by turning the lens, I might have ended up taking only about 20 images or more. Excuse me for such a dusty specimen. In case of specimens with depth, like major species in genus Golofa, I might be able to easily take more than 100 images. Next project for this method would be the LIGHTINGS, the flash diffuser, most likely.


Collection Drawer Cabinet


For the ease and convenience of pulling out particular drawers, I decided to make my own cabinet for collection drawers. General design was in my head for a long time, and I already had all the equipment and materials, so I started right away. One of the focus here was to use whatever left over from previous works, and this case, the materials.

I had this table saw for a while. I had to make wall, shelves, cabinets, etc. while helping my parents, in their building construction works.

This set of lumber pieces I cut are slides for the drawers. A pair of these will let the drawer sit on them and slide.

They will be nailed down to the other lumbers, that function as stud/frames

Sets are for left and right.

I have took photo any further as I was too focused on building it, but I had to connect two on bottom side so that it won’t distort or break out. I used three hard boards, each on two sides and as backboard. Then I used about an inch thick MDF(?) board on top to withstand the weight, if anything sits on the top of the cabinet.

This is completed work. Total eleven drawers fit in there.