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Hello Everyone, I am going to share the details of my adventure with a trinocular stereo microscope and a digital camera attached to it. I bought a second hand AmScope SM-1T (1st purchase) and I

Hi Lee, That looks like a nice piece of kit, albeit somewhat over specified. I have been using a Wild Heergrugg M5 now for about 4 years courtesy of an amazing car boot sale find and I wouldn't be

Cant get enough of my scope. its transformed my life!

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here is what I got today from the company:

 

Dear Buyer :

 

your order has send

 

Because of the effects of the new coronavirus, item will delivery delay

 

Remark: Because of the effects of the new coronavirus, our European and American warehouses had to close , so send item from China .

 

Delivery time : 15-25 working days 

 

if you any problem, please keep in touch !

zahqn24078

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I think shipping from China was expected (at least for my part). Resultant long shipping time also expected. I don't see any changes on the site, so they're not backtracking on anything. Am I correct in my assumption that there was no tracking information (or even a start date for the 15-20 business days) that came with that response?

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LOL  that would be my kind of luck. There are no free lunches I guess.  I'll give it a little more time and then I guess I'll bite the bullet and buy one from Amscope. Two recent watch guys that I've gotten to know both use the Amscope at 8 inch height. I'm getting neck surgery soon so I'll be out of watch fixing shape for a while anyway so once I heal enough to start back fixin' I'll get one. 

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Hopefully your credit card has good fraud protection, and you're able to get your money back. That really sucks. I was ready to pull the trigger on a half dozen of them for me and a few others who were looking for similar equipment.

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I'm not abandoning the ship just yet but for the 99 I spent I should be able to use it even if and when I but one from Amscope. I would get one from Amscope now if it weren't for the upcoming surgery. But if this one doesn't come by the time I am ready for one I'll get the one from Amscope. 

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  • 3 months later...

Good evening,

Before i hit the purchase button i wanted to run this by those with more experience with watch repair than me.  My only concern about this purchase is whether the "working distance" of 4 inches is sufficient to do what needs to be done to a watch under the scope.  I did read several pages of the string of posts where Lee gave his review of the scope that sits on a boom and has much greater working distance (perhaps as great as 20 cm, i think).  I like the zoom function on this one, the mag power range, and the fact that i could take pictures down the road if i wanted. is the working distance sufficient to do watch repair?  thanks for your thoughts.  141453620_trinocularscope.thumb.PNG.0d519e40b95ef126945bb3f63cc0fe89.PNG

 

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From my notes, 4" is a bit short. That's about how long some of the longer screwdrivers are, and then also need to get the movement in a holder under there AND have some space to move around. 8" seems to be the working distance of choice.

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The specs for this microscope are pretty standard. Most of us gain more working distance by sacrificing some magnification. This is done by adding a Barlow lens to the objective lens. A 0.5X Barlow lens would halve your magnification but double your working distance. I use a similar spec basic microscope with a 0.7X Barlow lens.

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I have an amscope and it is set up for minimal magnification.  I do not work on watches with it, but rather have it over my watchmaker's lathe.  I have begun to ponder the idea of using it for working on watches themselves.  But, for now, I am doing ok with a loupe.

I have had this scope for a long time...long before returning to watches.  It does not maintain focus as you zoom, but that is fine.  Zoom in...refocus.

2021-05-08 19_07_10-Photos.png

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Posted (edited)

There are two things that keep me from watchmaking on a daily basis. One is that my desk is completely covered in electronics junk and papers for work (hopefully the former is finally debugged and installed soon... this is getting old). The other is I'm having a hard time with my optics. I have a clip-on loupe that is functional, but gets in the way and is both limited and cumbersome. I've been trying to find other, increasingly expensive options, and every time it's like I'm throwing money down the Crevasse of Futility. I think I'm about to finally pull the trigger on an AmScope, and need a nudge to put me over the edge.

I was wondering if someone so equipped could take a short video, or even just photos, from the [i]outside[/i] (what I would see if I were sitting/standing next to you) of a stereo microscope in use in the most general of use cases; i.e. movement in holder, screwdriver in hand, doing something ultra-typical like assembly/disassembly. Greatly appreciated.

Edited by spectre6000
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LOL I lost the handle on this thread so I couldn't get back to ya'll. I contacted my bank and got my 99.00 returned, yay! So I bit the bullet and bought an Amscope one.  It looks like the one in LiitleWatchShop's picture. I also made sure that I got the 0.5X Barlow lens so that I have all the working distance that I need. You could raise it even higher then 8" if you wanted or needed to and then can zoom in and refocus. I had neck surgery right after i got it ( imagine that) so I have not had a lot of time to use it. That's like getting a bike for Christmas and there is 4 feet of snow out there. There is a learning curve with it so I don't do normal assembly or disassembly with it but I have used it for more detailed work: like hairspring, cleaning and inspecting jewels and such. The clarity is amazing, simply amazing. It really is taking things to an entire new level of workmanship. I normally use a 10x to look at the condition of pivots for example and seeing the pivots under this shows them so clearly that it makes cleaning them so much better and easier.  I did get the 144 light and the camera. I have it hooked up to a laptop but haven't done much with that as it takes a little time navigating the menus to get done what I want done. The software came with it btw. If you have the money then this really is a great addition to your capabilities. 

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I'm glad that worked out in the end. Thanks for being the guinea pig. What are the odds you feel like taking an "action shot"? I still really want to see what the working position ends up looking like with one of these. I'm about ready to pull the trigger, and I'm pretty confident that's what will push me over the edge.

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here are 2 pics and a vid. shot with Samsung phone off of computer screen. Not nearly the quality of resolution that you get while looking in the eye cups. But it might give you a little idea of what you can see. I could zoom out and see the whole what if I wanted but I couldn't get the camera focused properly. I have to work on that. 

20210511_135147[1].jpg

20210511_135158[1].jpg

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Thank you. That flavor of glamor shot is extraordinarily enticing, but I was hoping to see a photo of you working. I'm interested in tool clearances, posture, and that sort of thing. The practical aspects of it. The physicality of working on watch movements with a stereo microscope.

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trying to show that is hard spectre6000. I can see what I'm doing while looking through the lens but I can't seem to be able to capture it on the screen as well. I'll try some more for ya. 

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Maybe someone can answer this question: Would you use a stereo microscope for basic things like assembly/disassembly? Does it replace a loupe? I'm less than happy with my optics situation, and this seems like an answer, but I hate the idea of throwing money at a non-solution to a real problem. It [i]seems[/i] like I could do just about everything with a stereo microscope, but that seems too good to be true. Is that the case?

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31 minutes ago, spectre6000 said:

Would you use a stereo microscope for

While I only use mine for lathe work, I see the utility of using it for watch work.  I regularly go to the stereo to inspect something that is challenging with a loupe.  What I HAVE NOT DONE is to actually manipulate a screwdriver and tweezer under the scope.  That is where working distance comes to play.  I plan to try it because eyesight will only get worse...need a plan for the future.

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1 hour ago, spectre6000 said:

Maybe someone can answer this question: Would you use a stereo microscope for basic things like assembly/disassembly? Does it replace a loupe? I'm less than happy with my optics situation, and this seems like an answer, but I hate the idea of throwing money at a non-solution to a real problem. It [i]seems[/i] like I could do just about everything with a stereo microscope, but that seems too good to be true. Is that the case?

I've had my microscope for several years. I used it mainly in my dental lab for examining and finishing crown and bridgework. And also for working on the occasional SMD circuit boards.

As I'm planning on retiring, I brought my microscope home to do watch repair work. But so far I've only used it for examining jewels, pivots, oiling pallets and adjusting hairsprings.

Would I use it for all my repair work? I don't know. Maybe if I get a bench mounted, articulated scope arm, I might. I just can't find the correct furniture for a comfortable working posture with the scope. It either too high or too low.

Is it possible to do all routine work with a scope? Yes, I think it's possible. I've met dentists who do everything under a microscope. Before industrial automation, thousands of factory workers assembled PCBs under a microscope, 8 hours a day.

I know my answer is not much help. You'll have to get one to find out for yourself if you could adapt your working style to microscope work. 

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I got a scope a few weeks ago and played around with the position and orientation for ages.  Because it looks directly down it's hard to use a screwdriver as your hand and actual screwdriver get in the way.  I tried to angle the scope a few degrees to get around this; I've had no luck with that.  My particular scope can angle but I get a bit of gimbal lock with my prefered placement which makes it impractical.  Also, for disassembly / assembly I find a loupe much easier and quicker to use because with a scope you're always adjusting the depth.

However, OMG, the scope is amazing.  Here are some of the ways I've used it...

  1. Opening / closing shock springs, great to make sure you're not putting too much pressure on them
  2. Oiling, really easy to make sure you've got the correct amount of oil on your oiler and that it goes in the correct place
  3. Inspection, obvious really, my scope does 3.5x to 20x and keeps the focus all the way down.  Nice and clear but at 20x+ consider using extra light or a light ring attachment
  4. Cleaning dials, when you want to clean up to printed text but not over it you can be sure that your swab doesn't touch delicate parts.
  5. Fitting hairspring stud pins.  WOW, using curved tweezers you can place the pin perfectly in the hole and drive it home.  A few nights ago I was 20 minutes trying this with a 15x loupe but with the scope it went in first time
  6. Placing bridges, this one surprised me but after placing a bridge (especially pallet) you can see if the pivots are in the jewels/holes.  It gives you loads of confidence that you've got everything correctly seated
  7. Screws, yes, on occasion with really tiny screws this can be useful.  I've resorted to this on a tiny thumb-nail-sized ladies movement

I've got my scope on a long boom arm which allows me to quickly move it over my normal working position, do something, then push it away again.  I think this is the key for me, a clean work space, always at hand, move the tool to the job, not the job to the tool (as my dad would say).  The base of the scope is large and heavy but I'm going to remove that and bolt it directly to my bench.

My posture when using the scope feels wrong but my wife says that it's perfect and that I have a perfectly straight back and neck.

In conclusion, I'd never go back to not having a scope.  The price of it (£350) is totally worth the amount of time it saves you.

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