Tibbo, whose microcontrollers were just mentioned here, also sells a construction system called Uniqb. It’s a bit like MakerBeam (it and another system, OpenBeam, are available on Amazon). Store Blog
Our friend Christian Wilms tipped us to Austin Blanco’s blog, which has some posts you all might be interested in: Characterizing unknown optical components A few notes on Arduinos, their timers, and using them with rotary optical encoders Long-term considerations when buying or building and imaging system Surprisingly clean +/- 5 volts from USB or
Newport has expanded their cage system offerings. We’ve teased them in the past, but this looks nice. Thorlabs has a few components that can be dropped into a completed cage system, but Newport’s offering is more extensive.
When fabricating custom parts, starting from raw materials gives you flexibility. However, it is time consuming and design changes can mean starting from scratch. It’s faster if you can find some part off the shelf to modify. For example, for custom optomechanics, we like to start with some part from Thorlabs or a similar company,
Vojnovic’s group at Oxford has dozens of technical notes. Most are concise, and include software code, if applicable. SolidWorks files and PCB files are available on request. Here are a few examples: A motorized 4-way optical path selector Run by a servo, < 100 microrads reproducibility A power supply for a tunable lens Devices like
Anonymous tipster Alfred shared this snapshot of a ThorLabs Quick Bites box repurposed as a project box. Cardboard isn’t a bad thing to prototype things up with, for example: Google’s stereoscopic goggles Relatedly, here’s a microscope made out of card stock.
Vere is a smaller company that Newport, Thorlabs, or TMC. But they’re worth checking out for optical tables, breadboards, beam stops, dumps, enclosures, and whatnot. They have some interesting items. Here’s a small honeycomb breadboard. It’s lighter than a solid board, and a 3″ x 6″ version is only about $107.
Lightglass Optics sells surplus optomechanics and other related optics. They have a lot of Newport products, and small amounts of products from Thorlabs, OptoSigma, New Focus, and Line Tool. For example, here’s an Newport X-Y stage… and its new version…
Jacob Forstater (UNC-Chapel Hill, Physics) shared this tip: The Klavins lab is sharing their materials for this open source turbidostat. The wiki offers detailed plans and well-document construction. Even if you don’t need a turbidostat, it’s interesting to look through because it includes several interesting components, including a syringe pump. They recently set up to
A friend recently asked me about custom enclosures. I thought they wanted something small for electronics, and there are a couple of previous Labrigger posts that could be helpful. eMachineShop does stuff like this too. Another thought is ClickFold, which does plastic enclosures in Charlotte, NC. They actually wanted something much larger, for rodent behavior
Labrigger previously mentioned this contest. All of the 173 projects are online for your perusal. See if any of them inspire you.
When McMaster-Carr doesn’t carry the tiny parts you’re looking for, where can you go? There used to be a company called Small Parts, and their catalog was great because everything in it was small. That simple selection criteria saved a lot of search time. They’ve been folded into Amazon Supply, whose large catalog and poor
Dear Vendors with Product Search Interfaces, This list of measurements is complete nonsense. It’s sorted alphabetically, not even numerically (numbers are treated as letters). That’s why “24 inches” comes before “3 inches”, with “27.0 millimeters” in between. It’s not hard to fix. Convert all of the measurements to a common unit, sort that list numerically,
Thorlabs released a ridiculously sized (264 MB) PDF catalog for their life sciences imaging. Despite the size, I recommend downloading it and checking it out. There are several items and lots of product details that are either not on their website, or hard to find on their website. In addition to full systems, there are
They motorized a Kopf manipulator and used CNC software to control it. I like the simple mechanics. Here’s one of the parts used to couple the stepper motors to the manipulator: They use a standard 3-axis CNC stepper driver board. They have some of their own software, to simplify the interface: They have a JoVE
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