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USB microscope is a game-changer.

Chan Eil Whiskers

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Yeah, with the incline, it's minimal. It's not terrible with the blade perpendicular to the scope... so it'll be best if I can work out a platform where the incline can be adjusted on the fly, but stability will take precedence.

That said, I'll probably be picking up a 25x objective, as everything will be much easier at a little lower mag (it's pretty easy to work with at 200x)... then once I have things sorted out, maybe try testing the limitations at 800x again.
Did you watch the video I posted in this thread where Dr. Matt is using 900X with an expensive USB scope on an expensive stand? I'm not sure what the ideal magnification is, and I've only used low magnification and what Plugable says is 200X (I have no reason to doubt they're correct on that).

From using other "real" microscopes in research and professional settings (not recently but long ago) I know some of the pitfalls they present as the magnification increases. Maybe 200X or something not much higher than that is the ideal magnification for looking at razors, but you'll be in a great position to figure that out once you get this scope all sorted.

I've been pretty much amazed at what I can see with the Plugable at 10X.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
So I bought a cheap 3d printing pen on prime day, added a shelf to my magnetized razor holder to get the angle up a bit for a better view. Still not adjustable, but with this and a few small gears I could easily build something that is in the future. Still waiting on the 20x objective I ordered to get back to 400x optical. Been using 200x, just not the same though. Eventually I'll get a more stable table for the scope too, to minimize the jostling, but that's probably a ways off. Really surprised at how well my old scope did. This one is much higher dollar optics (It was a $1000+ scope new), and honestly, not much improvement... frankly, until I rig it up a bit more stably, the old setup will be clearer. Debating if it's even worth finding someone to fix the third tube and the light source. My guess is it'd be a couple hundred bucks minimum... just not worth that to me.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

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J.USB.Scope..png
Someone mentioned this inexpensive USB scope. I don't know anything about it except its reviews are pretty decent & the reviews of its stand are horrible.

It might be an excellent option combined with the $20 stand I've been using with my modified Plugable.

If someone buys and reviews it that would be great.
 
Since I just used the above microscope this evening to find I'm not quite to setting a bevel yet, I'll toss out a quick review:

Adequate. Built in light is useless for razors, the glare is so bad you can't see the bevel from the flare until you turn it down so far you are using room light anyway. High mag is very, very difficult as the non-removable shield for the lights is in the focal plane at max magnification, and you will ram the edge into it trying to find it. The stand that came with mine in junk, get one without and buy the nice metal stand show back up in the posts instead, it will actually work.

With enough fiddling around, I managed to see that irritating bright line down the apex of most of the razors I'm working on -- even the Pakistani one I've been grinding like mad trying to get the toe honed. Very much almost there, but not quite, which is why they won't hone up worth a hoot. Mostly Gold Dollars, which can take quite a while to get a bevel set, they are pretty hard. Found the remnants of a chip in the Double Duck, but the rest of it looks decent, and the parts of the Pakistani that actually have an apex shave hair very nicely, just needs a couple hundred more strokes on a 600 grit stone, I think.

You may not need a USB microscope when you get good at honing, but for starting out or working on damaged razors (or Gold Dollars), they are very, very handy indeed. Absolutely no point in attempting to polish an unset bevel, and it's nice to see now much longer you need to work.

By the way, pits and microchips show up really well when you get the bevel lit properly, along with scratch patterns. A ragged edge will show when you have reached the apex on one side and not the other, much easier to see than with a 20x loupe.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

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I've mostly been using three scopes recently - my modified Plugable set up, my inexpensive LED lighted loupe, and my expensive Belomo 10x triplet.

The really interesting thing for me is how different the images I see are with the three tools. I'm not saying any are useless or even inaccurate, but they give much different pictures from one another.

It's rather amazing how important the light is, too. I have to get it right or what I see is meaningless. Even a little change (tiny tiny) in light or in focus depth or in angle of view simply changes everything.

That said, all these tools are useful to me. Magnification is revealing.

Nothing trumps the shave test.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Since I just used the above microscope this evening to find I'm not quite to setting a bevel yet, I'll toss out a quick review:

Adequate. Built in light is useless for razors, the glare is so bad you can't see the bevel from the flare until you turn it down so far you are using room light anyway. High mag is very, very difficult as the non-removable shield for the lights is in the focal plane at max magnification, and you will ram the edge into it trying to find it. The stand that came with mine in junk, get one without and buy the nice metal stand show back up in the posts instead, it will actually work. .............................

W
Although the clear shield that protects the lights and lens is not removable, it is possible to modify it so you can focus on the edge of the razor more easily without hitting the spine with the guard. You can take a Dremel tool equipped with a cut-off wheel and remove the bottom half of the shield. If you try to remove the entire shield, you will hit the LED lights, so be sure to avoid them.
 
As I've said many times... lighting is all important. Angular alignment of the subject next in line. Without those two being dialed in, you're only looking at a pretty picture. Not getting useful information.
 
Yeah, with the incline, it's minimal. It's not terrible with the blade perpendicular to the scope... so it'll be best if I can work out a platform where the incline can be adjusted on the fly, but stability will take precedence.

That said, I'll probably be picking up a 25x objective, as everything will be much easier at a little lower mag (it's pretty easy to work with at 200x)... then once I have things sorted out, maybe try testing the limitations at 800x again.
The common denominator with all of us is the HAIR. Everyone of us has beard hair that is between 125 and 200 micron in diameter. For shaving nicks in the blade are only relevant in regards to the diameter of your hair. A nick in your blade that is 25 to 75 micron in width will still shave, any nick wider will pull that one hair as it gets caught in the nick instead of being cleaved.

Lets see a photo of your hair taken at the same magnification as the photos of your bevels.

friend-Alex
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

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As I've said many times... lighting is all important. Angular alignment of the subject next in line. Without those two being dialed in, you're only looking at a pretty picture. Not getting useful information.
Yes.

Although the clear shield that protects the lights and lens is not removable, it is possible to modify it so you can focus on the edge of the razor more easily without hitting the spine with the guard. You can take a Dremel tool equipped with a cut-off wheel and remove the bottom half of the shield. If you try to remove the entire shield, you will hit the LED lights, so be sure to avoid them.
As I mentioned earlier I just ground my clear shield (or whatever it's called) on a countertop mounted piece of wed dry sandpaper (meaning mounted with water on the bathroom sink-surround). It was very easy to do.

I had to do it twice to get the focus just right, but it was still a very easy project (of course I already had a selection of sandpaper). What grit? I don't remember but it might be mentioned earlier in this thread.

My Plugable now focuses fine at both 10x and 200x. Mostly I use the 10x but it's nice to have the option. Both are useful.

I also bought the aftermarket stand which is much better and worth the $20 for the upgrade.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
The common denominator with all of us is the HAIR. Everyone of us has beard hair that is between 125 and 200 micron in diameter. For shaving nicks in the blade are only relevant in regards to the diameter of your hair. A nick in your blade that is 25 to 75 micron in width will still shave, any nick wider will pull that one hair as it gets caught in the nick instead of being cleaved.

Lets see a photo of your hair taken at the same magnification as the photos of your bevels.

friend-Alex
Chips don’t only affect the hair, they affect the skin. A chip will catch and cut skin an undamaged edge rides over.
 
I have a plan for those Pakistani razors - I've thought they were probably fairly soft steel, and too acute, so I'll hone one up as it, and put two or three layers of tape on the other (the one with the bad toe) and see if that makes a difference. They are very wide and thin by razor standard, tape may fatten up the apex enough to hold.

Or not....
 
The razor honing station,

That is one mighty fine honing station for sure. I was beginning to think I was collecting too many stones, alas, you do me proud. I only have 10 stones......
Might I ask a few questions about your set-up. The vise caught my eye, as mine is the $20 Harbor Freight model, where did you get your vise?
Also, your coticule looks just like the one I just got, and I am still trying different rocks for slurry. I have used a nagura, 400grit diamond, and now a piece of an old india stone seems to be working so-so. Can you recommend a proper slurry stone? I have read a small piece of coticule is best, I have no clue.

I just ordered one of the usb microscopes, but your microscope looks like the one I use at work....... ebay??????

thanks prof
 
The vise is a 7" woodworking vise. It sees almost no use. I have a full woodworking shop on the property and this was an extra one so I figured I would just put it there.
As far as a slurry stone for your Coti, I would you use a Coti slurry stone as opposed to a diamond for Coti's.
I myself do not use slurry for honing with the exception of very hard Jnats where I use a Tomo or matching/similar stone rubber.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
I’d only want a slurry stone if I were doing dilucot and I generally don’t think dilucot is worth the bother unless you have almost no other midrange options. Same boat as S&S, basically only ever slurry on Jnats.
 
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After much internal debate, plus the desire to compare edges, I upgraded my Mitutoyo 7X loupe, with this Plugable USB microscope. I already had the dial indicator stand, and the clamp from my son's science project that made the set-up easier.
For now I am using Windows Camera software, it seems to give a better picture than the Plugable software.
While I still find the loupe easier to use while honing, this will let me take pictures!!!
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prof
 
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