Micro Gigapan Adapter Kit Construction


The Micro GigaPan Adapter Kit provides a framework made from laser cut acrylic to hold stepper motors in place so that they can turn the X, Y, and Z axis knobs. The adapter kit has an Arduino microcontroller running the G-Code interpreter (slightly modified) which is also used in the RepRap and MakerBot projects. The client software allows the user to select the area to image, and then translates those instructions into the G-Code which the Arduino then translates into commands to control the stepper motors and move the microscope.

Note on Materials and construction methods

The framework for the rig is made of laser cut acrylic.  The cutting instructions are available for download here, and on Ponoko.com.  Ponoko is a site which lets you, or others, upload plans and then they will make parts for you.

Summary-to make the full XYZ control

1. Get the parts - (cutting files, bill of materials, links to suppliers here)
2. Z/Focus Frame: Assemble the frame for the Z Axis/Focus stacking unit
3. Connect Focus Knob: Connect the Focus stacking rig to the fine focus control on the microscope
4. XY Frame: Assembling the frame for the XY control
5. Electronics: Build or buy the Arduino based mother board.
6. Install Camera
7. Connect everything together
8. Software workflow.

Getting Parts:

Laser Cut Parts
-Download the laser cut parts and cut them or have them cut.  Or go to Ponoko to our page on the project and order the parts you need.  The complete list is:
1. Z-Focus stacking rig
2. Details on how to connect Focus stacking to your fine focus knob.
3. Front and middle XY plates.
4. parts for stepper motor 'sled' X 2 (x and y)
5. Stepper motor pulleys x 2 (slightly different sizes for X and Y knobs.  And this will likely vary the most from microscope to microscope.
6. Allthread rod 'back' pieces.  X 2.

1 Arduino
3 Easy Stepper motor controllers
3 NEMA (17?) stepper motors, from spark fun ~300 milliamp draw.
various male and female headers
wire to connect 'everything' the way we want it.
(version two of the electronics should allow us to simplify this!)

Stepper motor crimps.
12 volt 1.25 or better amp wall wart - to power easy steppers.
USB cable to Arduino
USB cable to camera

Mechanical - Stock Drive Products
2 timing belt pullies for the XY steppers.  The current version required me to drill out the pulley's, but there should be a matching size...
Two belts (size TK)

Other hardware
Four all thread rods, long enough to fit the width of the stage (dimensions tk).  I used 4-40, but I think 6-32 might be a more durable choice.

-various metal and plastic nuts nad bolts to hold the stage together.

Attaching a camera to the Microscope

(camera page/link to come)

The Z Axis and Focus Knob

The Z Axis control for focus holds a stepper motor and sits next to the microscope. The rig is designed so that the stepper motor can slide up and down to match a wide variety of microscopes. Many microscopes have their focus knobs in the same place.  Read about  the Z-Axis page for more details. .

Building the Z Axis

(picture of parts) (description)
then repeat...

The XY Stage

Most of the microscopes we have seen have the X and Y control knobs on a single 'coaxial' shaft. The good news is that this means the X and Y knobs move together. The bad news is that they move in the Y direction with the stage. The current design is to make a device which clamps to the microscope stage using all thread rod, and which supports two stepper motors with timing belts to timing belt pulleys fabricated to fit on the X and Y knobs.  Read about the XY Page.

Building the XY Unit


The Micro GigaPan Adapter kit is controlled from a host computer which talks to an Arduino Microcontroller to drive Easy Stepper drivers to control the stepper motors.

If your arduino uses a USB to Serial adapter you may need to install the Virtual COM Port Drivers. See http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm

Subpages (2): XY Stage Z-Axis Page