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binocular magnifier for machining

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  • binocular magnifier for machining

    Here is a product which can be adapted to serve as a close-up magnifier for your lathe or mill. The Pentax Papilio binoculars are the first binoculars designed for true close-up inspection of things like butterflies, flowers, etc.

    Our eyes converge when focused close-up, but binoculars don't, so close-focusing is limited to about 6 to 8 feet with conventional binoculars -- anything closer, and we would see two separate images instead of one. The sole exception are the Papilios. These incorporate an internal focusing track which brings the objective lenses closer together as the focus distance is decreased, converging the viewing lenses just as our eyes do. The result is that the Papilios can focus to 1.6 feet.



    The Papilios come in either 6.5X or 8.5X magnification. The close-up focusing distance is the same for either model. I have the 6.5X version shown here.



    The 2-element objectives are backed up by 5-element eyepieces, so the image is pin-sharp right out to the edge of the field, at all focusing distances. There is no backlash in the focusing knob.

    I have not taken a photograph through the binoculars, but I took this close-up of a postage stamp to give you an idea. The stamp fills the entire field of view when the binoculars are focused on it.



    I can't show a photo of how I've mounted the binoculars on my lathe; I haven't done it, and my current machining requirements don't need this sort of a visual boost. But if yours do, mounting should not be a problem. The Papilios incorporate a 1/4" tripod socket on the bottom.

    Last edited by aostling; 08-27-2007, 04:01 PM.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    Hook those babies on a swingarm from a discarded lamp and you'd have a real handy rig!

    Best,

    BW
    ---------------------------------------------------

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    • #3
      Allan, how about showing us some pictures of the things you do make? We really like pictures of members' projects.
      Regards, Marv

      Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things
      http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz

      Location: LA, CA, USA

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mklotz
        Allan, how about showing us some pictures of the things you do make? We really like pictures of members' projects.
        This is unfriendly, and uncalled for.
        Allan Ostling

        Phoenix, Arizona

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        • #5
          Originally posted by aostling
          This is unfriendly, and uncalled for.
          Huh?

          What's up with that? I'm honestly interested in what direction your time in the shop takes. Do you make engines or models or do automotive/motorcycle stuff or what? Regardless, I, and probably others, would like to see some examples.
          Regards, Marv

          Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things
          http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz

          Location: LA, CA, USA

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          • #6
            would not a binocular microscope do the same thing? Ebay is full of them.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by quasi
              would not a binocular microscope do the same thing? Ebay is full of them.
              The microscopes I've used don't have much working distance between the lenses and the focusing slide. The magnification is quite high -- 20X and up. Might be okay for a watchmakers lathe, though.
              Allan Ostling

              Phoenix, Arizona

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              • #8
                Lets see, 1.6 feet is just under 20 inches. Add to that the depth of the binocs and you have probably 26 inches. Mock that up with a tape measure and you find that you're stretching to reach any controls you might want to manipulate. On the other hand, a flip up magnifier can give you the same sort of mag, and maybe cheaper.

                Joe

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Optics Curmudgeon
                  Lets see, 1.6 feet is just under 20 inches. Add to that the depth of the binocs and you have probably 26 inches. Mock that up with a tape measure and you find that you're stretching to reach any controls you might want to manipulate. On the other hand, a flip up magnifier can give you the same sort of mag, and maybe cheaper.

                  Joe
                  Yes, now that you mention it, this would be too much of a stretch. I should have thought more about this, before posting the thread.

                  I'm intrigued by your moniker. Did you work in the optics industry?
                  Last edited by aostling; 08-27-2007, 10:51 PM.
                  Allan Ostling

                  Phoenix, Arizona

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                  • #10
                    Surgical telescopes are intriguing - they allow hands off close in viewing but the field of vision is very limited as would be expected in surgery. I've used inspection visors that allow near arms reach with an easily flip up enabled visor lens.

                    My problem with vision is that it is perfect at 18" but not worth a crap beyond 6" either side of 18". My focus is fixed and the depth of field is not great except under very bright lighting.

                    Having used a telescope all my life I'm accustomed to viewing the seen world with either eye concurrently so I've considered using a magnifier with just one eye rather than both - following a turn on a lathe needn't be a stereoscopic activity as it turns out, nor is reading dials and verniers, so it may work.

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                    • #11
                      I'm quite happy with the Luxor magnifying fluorescents. I've got a round one on the lathe foot that reaches from headstock to mill spindle. I also have a dual bulb square one on the fab table? Works well for me.
                      Russ
                      Master Floor Sweeper

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by aostling
                        The microscopes I've used don't have much working distance between the lenses and the focusing slide. The magnification is quite high -- 20X and up. Might be OK for a watchmakers lathe, though.
                        That's correct. I have a Bausch&Lomb stereo scope. If I mounted it to my lathe I'd be in harms way big time. These 6.5 power glasses of yours could just answer a lot of problems for people who don't like to lean over spinning equipment.

                        I'm wondering if my Fugi FinePix F31fd macro feature would be compatible with these binoculars? My macro distance is said to be just over 1.5 feet. My Nikon Coolpix 990 was macro right up to the face of the lens! It would read a fingerprint on the lens.

                        It would be great if the Fugi's auto focus macro would optically couple up with these glasses.

                        I've had no luck with simple magnifiers as the reflections of everything in the shop is very distracting. Once you get used to working with a stereo microscope with some decent work relief they are a joy to use. They can be distracting in that a very sharp chisel looks dull under magnification !! Stereo scopes are the way to go for long hours of tedious work.
                        Last edited by Your Old Dog; 08-28-2007, 11:15 AM.
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                        • #13
                          binocular magnifier for machining

                          I have used a magnafocuser for years and have had very satisfying results. It is a flip up that is mounted on a head band. It even has an additional high magnification lens that swings down in front of the right eye (you can change sides easily) for really small work. It cost me $20 from MSC and has worked flawlessly since 1978 when I got it. The focal length is 10 inches, kind of close on the lathe but perfect for fine mill work.

                          With the cost of CCTV cameras coming down as the quality goes up I am surprised nobody has come out with a camera setup for really tiny work on the mill or lathe. THe science boys used this kind of "lash up" on microscopes and for watching eddy currents on rotary tables all the time.
                          Jim (KB4IVH)

                          Only fools abuse their tools.

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                          • #14
                            Now that I think about this more, what is it that you want to watch so closely while turning anyway? I use my magnifier to look at tool edges, and sometimes surface finish or detail of some sort. But when turning carefully, I am generally looking at the dials, not so much the work piece. Turning to a shoulder, I have a block or DI set. I think I used the mag while turning exactly once. I had ground a tool for shaving a thou and couldn't get it cutting right, so I wanted to watch it work. Focal length is something like 5-7", so I did have to get pretty close, but I was looking in from the tailstock end and quite safe...
                            Russ
                            Master Floor Sweeper

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BadDog
                              Now that I think about this more, what is it that you want to watch so closely while turning anyway?
                              I started this thread after remembering an article in HSM (or its sister publication) about two or three years ago. I don't recall now if it was about adapting a stereo microscope or what. The author needed magnification for his lathe tasks. Anybody remember that article?
                              Allan Ostling

                              Phoenix, Arizona

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