USB microscope is a game-changer.

Discussion in 'Hones/Honing' started by J.Cedarstrom, Jun 27, 2019.

    Which microscope do you use?
  1. Swift Collegiate 400, swapped an $80 used strop for it. It's similar to "stone&strops" mine came with 40x 100x and 400x lens, can't use the 400x not enough clearance.
    I've been looking for a 20x lens to swap for the 400x but so far no joy.
    Mine came from a college that upgraded it's optics so it was used but still in relatively good condition, original lighting in the base is useless for razor work so supplemental lighting is necessary and expanding the table is a mod I will be undertaking this winter.
    Stone & strop thanks for the great pic's of your set up, some very good ideas for me there!
  2. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    The $20 stand I bought arrived a few days ago, but it arrived damaged. It's being returned to Amazon but they've already sent me a replacement.
  3. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Check out this scope and stand.

    He gives you a link to a catalogue and also a discount code should you be interested.

    If I were thinking of spending this kind of money (which I am not) I'd be looking at "real" microscopes with an added camera.

    Dr. Matt's videos are interesting and he seems like a really good guy.

    Happy shaves,

  4. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    This afternoon I experimented with the Plugable.

    The main thing I did was designed to allow the lens to get sufficiently close to the razor, without touching the razor, to take the most magnified and yet focused image the device is capable of; capable of only with this modification.
    • Towards that end I sandpapered the scope's lens cowling (the bottom most part of the device) thus enabling me to focus on the edge at the highest magnification without touching the edge.
    • I removed roughly 40% to 60% of the cowling.
    • Now I can get close enough (and yet not touch the razor) to take 200X (supposedly) images.
    I hope that makes sense to you.






    These are various photos I took today. The top most photo is at what is said to be 10X. The others are at the highest magnification of the device (it has only 2 possible magnifications).

    There is an obvious chip in the photos. I can see it with this device at 10X, and much better at the higher magnification. I can not see the chip with my LED lighted 20X loupe.


    This is the razor I honed yesterday. All the photos are of its edge. I'm going to hone it more today.

    Interesting? I think so.

    Happy shaves,

    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  5. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    I am pretty pleased that I was finally able to make the Plugable USB into a fairly useful device. Shortening the cowling made a big difference. I was able to use both 10X and 200X images in my honing today which was certainly a new thing for me. I noticed at the USB's 10X magnification edge issues which I was unable to see with my lighted 20X loupe. That's weird. I knew the chip was there and could see it at 10X on my computer screen but I couldn't see it with a 20X loupe? Tell me how that makes sense!


    Fixing the cowling made a huge difference. As did the new stand.

    It's very easy to sand off part of the cowling. I used a piece of coarse grit wet dry sandpaper at the bathroom sink (flat on the counter). I used it wet. What grit? Maybe it was 150. I'm not sure. It was easy work.

    See how the clear plastic sticks down at the bottom. I removed about 40% to 60% of that clear plastic cowling.

    If I were doing it again I'd start off stuffing some tissue paper inside the cowling up around the lens, just to protect it. I had no problems cleaning out the residue from sanding, but stuffing tissue for protection would have been a good idea.

    I did not do a great job of the sanding and the cowling is not exactly level in the way it's cut down, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. The device works now. It no longer has to touch the blade to work at 200X. Now it magnifies at the maximum zoomed in setting of 200X just like one would want it to.

    I put a blue book on the stage of the scope with two DVD cases supporting the outside edges of the book. It made a nice stage for my razor. I may build something better, but this was an improvement. Blue made a good surface visually and contrasted with the blade edge. The book was large enough to make moving the razor around much easier. The little stage would have been impossible.


    My replacement $20 aluminum scope stand arrived yesterday (the first one was damaged). This certainly isn't any $275 professional stand (see the Dr. Matt video I linked), but it's a big improvement over the gooseneck I think. It's solid enough once the adjustment is made and the set screw is tightened. Its stage is much too small, but I already fixed that problem.

    Figuring out where the pictures I took are is my next problem to solve with this thing. I found some of them, but not all. Not a big deal.

    I also had fun showing my wife and a five year old neighbor boy some magnified stuff (paper, cloth, a rock). The kid was not remotely interested which surprised me a lot. He is interested in the sharp razors and guns (normal kid). Gotta be careful with a kid around.

    Happy shaves,

  6. definitely interesting. not sure i understand why the optics of 20 v 10 shows different things.

    a usb scope was helpful to me also, but i also like to use a crappy handheld microscope that eats AAAs.
  7. Most inexpensive loupes are way over rated as far as magnification. Yeah, you can probably get a 20x image out of a 20x rated loupe, but the distortion is so bad that you would never use it that way. Where the image will seem more comfortable to use will be closer to 2x or 3x.
  8. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Bet you $39 this is a good one.
  9. Yes that should be a good one. Triplet lenses is normally an indicator that they aren't junk.
  10. Yes, I have that one also. A true 10x
  11. Anyone using usb microscope with Mac?
  12. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Yes, I am. The Plugable. No problems to speak of. Well, there are things I've not figured out which has crashed the program a couple of times, but mostly it works really nicely for my purposes. I think the only problems have been me not quite having learned the set up entirely, particularly the photo stuff, as in where are they. The program is very very simple. It can be downloaded before you even buy the device and you can see how simple it is. For actually looking at the razor's edge it's a piece of cake once the cowling is modified (see my previous postings).

    Macbook Pro 2016 10.14.5

    Happy shaves,


  13. Better photos indeed! The darkest background - photo 4 shows why the high contrast works.

    Glad it was of some use.
  14. Cal

    Cal Contributor

    This is a very interesting thread. Thank you @J.Cedarstrom. :001_cool:

    I've been researching and taking advice. I definitely liked the look of the BelOMO 10X21 but went for the Quicktest 10X20 (being just slightly better, and the screws don't come loose [probably not a problem for SR inspectors vs Rock aficionados]).

    Here's a pic showing my "typically cheap" 40X25 beside my Quicktest 10X20:

    They are magnifying two very similar 20p pieces each. The 40X loupe's illumination is turned off. They are both sharing illumination from an LED flashlight (with the 40X having a slight advantage).

    I'm pleased with my purchase. :001_smile
  15. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Nice, Cal. I enjoyed looking at the review site, too.
  16. That's a mighty inaccurate 40x spec! :blink:

    Guess Vic wasn't kidding.
  17. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    How now brown cow?

    136 chip 7-8-19.jpg

    Tonight I was planning to do a bit of Double Convex Ark touch up on my Torrey 136, but decided to take a good look at my blade first. This is at 200X (the higher of the Plugable's two magnifications).

    I took the blade to the Chosera 1K for a ton of work and also to the SS 3K; I went back and forth between them.

    There was another chip at the heel and I'm not sure I entirely got it, but I wanted to keep part of the razor's blade plus I tired of the task and it was getting late.


    I finished on the Double Convex Ark (both sides) + stropping.

    We'll see...


    However, it is a question for the old hands at scope aided honing. How high up the magnification chain do we need to be achieving perfection? I think 200X is not too high, but then again I doubt I achieved perfection.


    Happy shaves,

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  18. Also notice the distortion in the 40x loupe while it is just matching the 10x loupe in power.
  19. Jim I’m curious to see the results often both sides convex ark ... well more interested if coarse convex ark improved on scratch pattern from 1k. I’m not 100 trusting of my coarse convex ark... I recently acquired another 2x 6 coarse ark and I like it more than my convex coarse, it feels closer to 1k stone,

    What do you all like from amazon for decent triplet loupe other than belomo / less expensive? Or should I stop be cheap and just get belomo?

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