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#1089437 - Tue Mar 31 2015 04:49 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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For the 100th post on this thread and for the cultural honor of it being about Easter, I broke out the microscopic crayons and paint brushes and colored some of the egg shells. When I hide them, I don't think even I will be able to find them. Have a Happy Easter!
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#1096388 - Mon May 25 2015 11:11 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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This is a Bismuth specimen. Not the greatest specimen. I have seen pix of a couple of beauties (check the one on Wikipedia). The mineral likes to fill a square space. It does so by growing at a 45 degree diagonal. How does it decide where the corners should begin and stop? I don't know. I just said, "Say cheese" and took its pictures. It's not very colorful, appears to be black and boring white. But the files even at a reduced size of 640 x 480 pixels came out near 200 kbytes. Theremust be a lot of subtle color variation going on. I might see if thereare astonishing reactions to some other wavelengths of light.
This and the following were taken at 25x magnification and mostly with the scope LED lights. I will note the one done with peripheral LED lighting.
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#1096502 - Tue May 26 2015 09:07 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Here's another crystal lost in the mix where you can get the idea of what a plate is. You can see about a fifth of a plate emerging from the matrix of the rest of the specimen. Stephen Covey of Amethyst Galleries who I purchased this from, is one of the best sources for information on minerals on the web. Here is what he posted to me (in part) when he saw the pix and understood I was interestedin the crystal forms of Bismuth: "See my page on trigonal minerals, especially on the Hexagonal Scalenohedral Class of which bismuth is a member." and the link:
http://www.galleries.com/minerals/symmetry/trigonal.htm
The areas that aren't neat crystals but a mix of broken plates and miniscule structures makes me wonder if the history of this specimen doesn't contain being involved in a volcanic eruption. I imagine that a large crystal specimen was partially vaporized and coalesced back together upon cooling. Stephen's history of the specimen's collection location points to the area where Eugene M. Shoemaker discovered that central Germany had been the center of a violent asteroid impact. This Bismuth came from Schneeberg, Saxony, Germany and that site is famous for the mining of silver, cobalt and bismuth.
This was taken at 30x magnification, scope lights off and peripheral LEDs as illuminators.
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#1096517 - Wed May 27 2015 04:26 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Yeah, reading Stephen's information makes one aware of why it takes a college degree called Geology to understand the field. To the rest of us, the term rock gets us by.
This image has two plate edges visible at around a 30 degree angle between them (which to me adds to the idea that mechanical means interfered with the original construction of this material). The lower edge shows white reflection while the upper one shows black. A difference of the break angles on the edges of the plates probably accounts for this. This may have happened when the specimen was mined from its surroundings. the image does give an opportunity to see how thick the plates grow. Around the specimen's edge, down the bottom face a ways, you can see a piece of another plate lying nearly co-planar to that face and again the 45 degree incremental growth preference of the Bismuth crystal when generating a plate.
Again, 30x, scope LEDs illumination.
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#1099554 - Fri Jun 19 2015 05:03 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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These next minerals are in my Cornea. There's a story (isn't there always?) about why I used my microscope to take a picture of it. I only have one eye and I went to the VA for them to verify my legal blindness due to loss of peripheral vision in that one peeker. They said they couldn't do the peripheral test because I have a cataract in the cornea (that was the optometrist) that was progressed to a 5 of 5 level. So the ophthalmologist did an exam to confirm the cataract but had the opinion that the cataract was at a 4.5 of 5. My mind's going cuckoo wondering where they came up with a process of development to 100% that they chopped to a 5 max level. Anyway, I asked the Ophthal guy if he would take photos of the cataract to measure it's progression

(This is important to me because when it grows to "5" and I can't see through it any more, the program is to have surgery to replace the cornea with a synthetic one. Since I only have vision in one eye, it is ethically difficult for the Ophth guys to risk messing up my only vision. But when the vision is gone, the ethical dilemma disappears.) He didn't see the need to track it, he just said to let it run it's course. Taurus excrement, I thought. I'd like to know if this is going slow or fast. Will I need surgery in the fall or in 7 years? I decided to try to track the growth myself.

I set the scope up with my monitor behind it, rotated it for horizontal imaging and turned off it's LEDs and illuminated my eye with a flashlight. This was to get an idea of whereabouts my head had to be to capture an image. I then turned the LEDs on and clicked the 'shutter', drew my head back a 1/2 inch , click, back, click about 6 times. Then I reviewed the images to find the best one. Boy have I been surprised. My eyes used to be Hazel. Now it is a dark blue/green! I don't know if that is a result of my eye drops, the cataract or simply age (or god forbid, some disease) I think that this shot where the blood vessels are viewable on the white is the best focus so even though the iris and pupil look blurry, I think that is the cataract speaking. On a zoom you can detect some redness where the pupil should be (and oh I wish I had a slit lamp for the pix so the LEDs wouldn't outshine everything in the bright central whiteness.
Oh, the cataract meant that I am indeed legally blind. Also, a majority of the elderly will develop cataracts in their corneas at some point so this is what many can look forward to if they are among those that get them.

Done at about x20 magnification. My right eye:



Edited by mehaul (Fri Jun 19 2015 05:11 PM)
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#1102293 - Thu Jul 16 2015 02:04 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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This is a Kyanite specimen (KYA-51). The blue crystal that is the kyaniteruns from this 1 inch bit, through 3 inches of the host matrix and shows at the other end as a flat rectangular butt of a plate of blue. If it is rolled a little off the right light, it looks black.
It comes from Hit-Ostrov, Karelia, Russia. The source description says there are also red garnet, black biotite and white quartz. I purchased it tobe my 4th of July Red, White and Blue example. I can't find the garnet but that may be a lack of the right light.
The image is taken at x15 magnification under the scope's LEDs. If I got out my blue LED the crystal might have shown up bluer and maybe not.
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#1102699 - Mon Jul 20 2015 11:07 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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A pair of matched Moldavite 8x7 oval cut gems weighing 0.8ct each. The image is at x25 using my microscope's LEDs, They appear a little off in ovality (?) but that is because I have them pitched at different angles to avoid the reflection of the scope's LEDs, They are clear green but the right angles they are a deep Earthy green, In the upside shadows of each, where the light passes through to the white background, you can see the color best. And in a couple of facets of the upper stone, you can see some of the molten bubbly condition of when the Moldavites were created (asteroid impact in Central Europe millions of years ago. The source was a commercial gem dealer.
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#1102801 - Tue Jul 21 2015 09:40 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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I hadn't stowed the 'scope away and had this experience today:
I discovered last night while bringing out the rubbish that my front door light (which I seldom use) wasn't lighting my way, out, no functionay, pfzzt. Today I dragged out the small step ladder; unscrewed the two nuts that hold the outer housing; and removed the dome house. There were some accumulations of dead bug bodies (the best kind) in the dome. Then I looked at the bulb which was still screwed into the fixture and saw a big lumpy grey thing attached to the fixture's 'top'. I pulled it loose and took a closer look at it. It was a wasp/hornet nest! About 1 inch by 1 inch by 1 inch. I quickly threw it down in case there were hornets that wanted to do some more building. I recovered it later because I thought it might make a nice image.
What kind of hornet you ask? Sorry, I can't answer that because I fortunately didn't run into one. The cells are a neat hexagonal shape but that view isn't too interesting. I appreciated the staggered cell length and got that image. The magnification is x12 under 'scope lighting.
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#1103058 - Thu Jul 23 2015 03:59 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Another plug problem with my portable DVD player. Last time it was in the power supply plug having an open circuit. This time it is with the headphone plug (and jack). The headphones are Skullcandy brand. I only mention brand because they are the only outfit I know that uses a flat braided, longer-lasting cable in their product. I thought that the use of a flat braid rather than a wire bundle would keep the connection from breaking. Evidently not. There is some slight plug seating issue with the DVD player's part since the plug has to be in the right position to keep both stereo leads in contact. Every day for two years I've plugged and unplugged the headset. For the past year I've had to grab the plug body to get that stereo seating. That's about a thousand handlings, Not bad I suppose. This microscope image shows the failure is not at the cable/plug interface like before. hebreak is internal to the plug. But these new jacks and plugs are machine made and then encased in a molded body. They are not readily repairable. It'd be a lot of work to remove the plastic body (burn it off with a plumber's torch?). Easier probably to just cut the cable lead and connect the ends to a new plug from Radio Shack.
This is a x25 mag shot, scope LEDs and taken with the plug pointed directly away from the 'scope. the flat cable is seen bending over toward the upper left out of frame. The plug body is black plastic but is highly reflective so it looks white. I think the round circular indents in the body to the lower left of the cable is where the robot separated the plug from the mold tree. Of further interest might be the brown in the lower right which is the wood of my desk. The other non-plug item in the image is the medicinal liquid box I slightly opened the top of while it laid on its side to use as a specimen stage/clamp. The weight of the liquid made it a stable table and the clamping of the box flap wanting to close flat acted to hold the plug's terminal post rigidly in place.


Edited by mehaul (Thu Jul 23 2015 04:12 PM)
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#1103257 - Fri Jul 24 2015 10:29 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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With International conditions the way they are (Russia going cold again as far as trade goes and China realizing its personal growth of individual wealth) This mineral gemstone may be hard to come by soon, It is Russian Chrome Diopside. A beautiful emerald green specimen. This is a 6mm round, 1 ct specimen. I rubbed down the stone before taking this shot. I think the tiny 'pits'(?) in the table top are actually voids in the crystal structure that can't be polished away, You can't see them with normal vision. The magnification is x35, In addition to the scope LEDs, I side lit it with more LEDs This created a neat diffuse green cloud image within the stone. I just noticed the label at the photo bottom says 2ct but it is 1ct. I've just had a quick lesson in editing photo titles.
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#1106256 - Thu Aug 20 2015 11:09 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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I first heard of Moonstone in Wilkie Collins' murder mystery. I'd never seen any in person until now. I got this 'matched' pair of Indian Rainbow Moonstone Marquise cut 8x4mm,1ctw. They seem to match in size and shape and crystal color. I think there are many fractures to be seen in the crystals. They appear different shapes because one is on it's side so the view there is from table to pavilion. The image is at x25 with scope LEDs and peripheral LEDs from two angles. The spots of white on the right side of each gem are the reflection of one of those banks of sidelight LEDs.
In searching Wikipedia to find the minerals hardness in considering those possible fractures, I found the Mhos value to be 6.0. I also found a serendipitous bit of trivia about Moonstone. Since the Apollo Moon missions left from Florida, the state has named Moonstone as the state gem. I now feel like a better Floridian.


Edited by mehaul (Thu Aug 20 2015 11:38 AM)
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#1106387 - Fri Aug 21 2015 10:27 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Repair to a Flat cable stereo plug begins with deconstruction:
Re: my malfunctioning headphones. I was able to make the lost channel return by pushing the cable into the plug body. That means to me that there is an open circuit to deal with. I took my Skull Candy headphone plug apart. After crushing the plastic plug body with a pair of locking pliers, I used an exacto knife blade, a pair of nail clippers and brute fingernail strength to remove the soft plastic body. This I'd hoped would have revealed the areas where soldering was used, but nooooo. I found at the cable end of the structure there is a tin metal tube the cable passes through to an area that is hard epoxy. The metal tube, since it is ductile, was probably engineered to make the flat to round transition. I suspect the solder joints are under here. I would like to find out which cable lead is left and which is right since the Skull Candy attraction is that the set fits left to left, right to right on your head and you can't just flip the headsets around if the channels are reversed. So next step is to remove the hard epoxy robot applied material to reveal the connections. I then could possibly use this plug again but will probably have to order one from Amazon. The size I found is 3.5mm and that is for the diameter of the plug spear. I suspect I have revealed the braided ground cable and it is soldered to the highest to the left silvery section, about mid frame
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#1118698 - Sat Dec 05 2015 02:58 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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For years (decades?) I haven't been able to throw away little examples of complex human designs for mechanical purposes. A square foot of my workbench shelf is buried deep in such things. During this period/lull in my mineral acquisitions, I've decided to use my digital microscope to preserve some of them in bits and bytes.

The first will be the plastic shield that has been designed to protect the blades on the plugs of USA type power cord plugs. The round section is for the ground stem and the narrower of the square sections is for the High side of the power. The brown is the wood of my desktop where I have my digital microscope stationed. The engineered device goes 1 inch inward toward the wood and is slightly less than 1x1 inch in the horizontal. The scope is at x15 magnification. The lighting is by the 'scope's 8 LEDs.

The material is of the type used for Tupperware (polypropylene?).
It appears to have been formed by injection molding.

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#1119987 - Fri Dec 18 2015 08:03 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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This intricately designed (it exhibits roundness in two perpendicular planes) is the plastic pull ring/stopper plug from my Orange juice container. you use it by slipping a finger into the ring and pulling up. The plastic (again an injection formed polypropylene?) is less than paper thin where the plug meets the pourer throat so a little effort tears it free from the container. You can see a little of the thin area that pulled away last at 5:45 if it was a clock face. The two planes of roundness are the ring and plug in one plane and the two points where the ring splits and turns circularly from the ring to the plug (at about 1 o'clock) and thus allowing the ring/plug connection to flex when you do the pull up action. The bend down of the upper part of where the ring turns down to the plug can be seen in the shadow cast on the concave shaped plug surface.
This was side lit by a bank of white LEDs and the scope's LEDs turned off. Magnification is around x10. The pull plug is about the size of a dime. Once the plug is pulled there is a regular screw cap to close up the carton.


Edited by mehaul (Fri Dec 18 2015 08:24 AM)
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#1128611 - Fri Mar 04 2016 05:34 PM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Yet another polypeopylene injection molded piece to share. The one before last was meant to be a cover/protection cap, protecting the plug that was inserted into it. The last one was a plug meant to be a filler and plug the gap in an opening. This one was designed to be the plug and to be inserted as a protection against the wrong or errant items falling into the opening and the critical dimensions are the outer diameters of the 4 tower type risers. Being black, it was meant to stand out against the lighter color it was plugged into so the end user could see it wasn't part of the main item.
It shows some really interesting aspects of injection molding. In the center you can see the milling marks that shaved away (in a rotary manner) the extraneous metal of the mold. here's a very interesting part to that operation. I think the milling was done on a flat blank metal planchette, then it was heated and had the rising towers of the shape forged in. You can see that there are incomplete circles of the milling bit. They extend into the tower pieces and can be seen to begin again in the same curved shape. The circular milling marks are from milling the mold and not the molded product. The other side of this plug shows the striations of plastic being forced into a hot mold under pressure. In the center of the upper right hand tower you can see the striations I'm talking about. The entire flip side is covered in parallel lines made by grooves no thicker than a molecule of the plastic.
The magnification is x20 using the scope's LEDs and it is sitting half on a folded second piece of paper to take away the loss of detail in a straight on image, The item's widest diameter is about the size of a quarter. The tower plugs are all about 1/2 inch high.


Edited by mehaul (Sat Mar 05 2016 02:39 PM)
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#1141165 - Sun Jul 31 2016 06:21 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Horrible serendipity. I spotted a Ghost Ant scurrying across my desktop under my microscope. I put down some homemade Terro bait (H2O, Sugar and 20 Mule Team Borax solution) and before I knew it I had dozens of little ones feeding on what will end their colony. It took a while of setting the 'scope height and overhead position, but after a while I had moved in close, not scared them away and got a good shot of them feeding in regimented position, with their abdomens full of the syrup to bring back to the queen so she can feed on their abdominal secretions and in turn sour all the pupae cells with deadly Borax unknowingly.
Hey, I tried to warn them but they wouldn't listen!
Each ant is a bit less than 1mm with the distended abdomens. Their bodies appear darkened because of the shadows of their internal organs. But you can see from the barely visible legs and transparent abdomens why they are called Ghost Ants.
Every day for three weeks they swarmed. After my bike rides to the store, I had to shake down and decontaminate myself. Still the swarms were so pervasive, they didn't need me to transplant them.
I think they fed on the sugars in our lawn grasses and when the grasses died they swarmed for new pastures. In a 1 mile radius there are giant patches of dead grass. It's hard not to think the two situations aren't related. Ants come from the ground, that ground's grass dies. I think we are dealing with a super colony. All one can do is batten down the hatches and do what works in keeping them out of the home (read chemicals). The dark color toward the image bottom is the syrup on the desk wood. The ants abdomens are toward the top and quite inflated with syrup of borax.
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#1141172 - Sun Jul 31 2016 07:08 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Here's a shot from earlier when there were more around. With the scope LEDs off and an LED source to the side aimed at them, shows better why they are called Ghost Ants!
Since it was earlier, I hadn't zoomed in as much so they seem a tad smaller.
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#1141175 - Sun Jul 31 2016 07:20 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Here is the first shot I took. From further away, you can see how they arrange themselves neatly around the source of syrup, giving all an equal chance to get at the *honey*.
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#1141259 - Mon Aug 01 2016 05:37 AM Re: Digital Microscopy
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Treatment update:
A bit over 24 hours later and for the past 15 minutes, I have seen no ants come to feed. A few hours ago the count was 4 (2 feeding and 2 running around intoxicatedly).

The treatment/bait formula I used was 3 oz of granulated white sugar, 3 oz of 20 Mule Team Borax and enough water in a Pyrex measuring cup to reach the 1 cup level. Place the stirred concoction in the microwave on high for about 30 secs (since microwave powers vary, run until the solution begins to froth and the solids have gone into solution) CAUTION, this liquid could cause severe burns at first coming out of the microwave. Some ants are picky and like to have Karo Syrup instead of the sugar. Once cooled, pour the solution into a mustard/ketchup pointy spout dispenser. It should dispense like a thick maple syrup. Clean up with soap and water.
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