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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Developers' Corner
Seeking Loupe Users
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Unkie Al



Joined: Nov 02, 2007
Posts: 24
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:10 am    Post subject: Seeking Loupe Users
Subject description: My old-ass eyes need help working with SMD components
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Hello techie-types. I am going to drop about $200-300 on a set of Shocked precision magnifying loupes Shocked much like my dentist uses (for example, http://www.orascoptic.com/index/orascoptic-products-loupes-dimension3-2). I've been using a pair of flip-up Leo Fender jobbies on a headstrap, but find I am so close to my work anyway I might solder my mustache into a filter circuit.

If anyone has experience with high-end magnifiers, I could use some advice.

What is a typically good/safe working distance to avoid solder splashes and inhaling the fumes of molten lead, while working comfortably? These come in 14", 17" and 21" focal distances. Second, what would be a suitable magnification factor in working with surface-mount doodads? 2.5X? 3X? More?

Thanx ahead of time for your suggestions.
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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
Posts: 5978
Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Your post brings up lots of thoughts, so I shall ramble a bit about it. For one thing, if you're going to spend that much, have you considered one of those Manta things? It's got like a 9 inch screen and super magnifies. Made specifically for your purposes, there are several brands available.

As a nearsighted person I have natural magnification when I take my glasses off and look close. You can imagine the danger that practice caused and I once got flux in my eye. Much better is a Manta or whatever they've got out there these days.

Personally, I only work with thru-hole parts these days because I'm mainly doing proof-of-concept circuits on breadboards. I hardly do any soldering anymore, only when necessary. I could work with surface mount still if i wanted to, but why?

I suppose that is enough rambling for now.
Inventor
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Unkie Al



Joined: Nov 02, 2007
Posts: 24
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Inventor -

What's a "Manta"? I did a web search for Manta [optics, magnifier, magnify, scope, microscope, electronics] and came up with dick. If you can point me towards who these guys are, it'd be a help.

I'd prob'ly still go with the magnifying loupe, though. If the Manta is a stationary unit where I'd place a circuit board, I would have limited ability to easily move around and view at other angles.

I'm just launching into surface-mount now, interested to see how much circuitry I can cram into an electrified string instrument (guitar, violin et al) and keep all the guts contained behind a variable pot. When my eyeballs begin to bleed, I'll likely bail out of the hobby.

Thanks for your input, Inventor. Still looking for more help and suggestions, all.
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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
Posts: 5978
Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

There used to be some product called a Manta or Mantra or something, I can't find it either, but I found this:

Quote:
I find clip-on magnifiers essential to view small parts. I keep both 1.75 x and 3.5 x magnification types at hand.

The 3.5 x magnifiers have a working distance of 4”, so it gets you “up close and personal” with the parts! (I’m not a fan of the headband style magnifiers, but personal tastes differ in this regard.)


Hope that helps.
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DrJustice



Joined: Sep 13, 2004
Posts: 2043
Location: Morokulien
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Perhaps something like this could do the job? I've got one of these, but I wish it had larger magnification for SMD work.

The Mantis, made by Vision Engineering, are really cool devices - here is one, and here is another. In the shop (ELFA) they had other models and more equipment in the Mantis range, and it was all bliss. However, they may well be prohibitively expensive for hobby workshops.

DJ
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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
Posts: 5978
Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for clearing that up, Dr. Justice, and gosh I didn't realize those Mantis magnifiers were so expensive!

On a vaguely related note, I have a little magnifier invention of my own. I was simulating the light patterns of sunlight in a crystal ball when I realized that I could make a special object. It is a crystal ball with a dish scooped out of it, kind of like the death star. If you scoop it out just right, you get a 3X magnifier / 3x telescope / 10x solar concentrator. I used a dremel tool, one inch cutting and polishing wheels, and a lazy susan to hold the crystal ball in place. It is now on display in my living room and it does a good job of magnifying.
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owel



Joined: Dec 21, 2007
Posts: 8
Location: Nashville, TN

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You can buy big +5/+10 diopter lens with fluorescent lamps on either side. The glass is almost as big as your face and it's on movable arms. I use this for soldering jobs and also doubles as an eye protection.

Another option I experimented with is using an NTSC video camera module I got on eBay, apply DC power and hooked it up to a TV monitor... there ya go... PCB inspection video camera. The detail and resolution is very impressive and you can read the fine text on SMD parts!

Another option is a stereo microscope (check out ebay) on movable arms. Some models can be bought for $300 or so... can also be outfitted with accessories like video camera, lights, etc...

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owel



Joined: Dec 21, 2007
Posts: 8
Location: Nashville, TN

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
and inhaling the fumes of molten lead,


You're not really inhaling molten lead. It's the flux that's generating the fumes.

I've been working with lead solder since the 80s since my teenage days and they never give me problems.

But these new lead-free solder gives me headaches after just a few minutes! What stuff are on these lead-free solder?!!!!

My soldering iron has a vacuum sucky thingy on the tip of the iron... so it sucks the fumes as the lead-free solder flux vaporizes.

You can also buy fume extractors.

Quote:
What is a typically good/safe working distance to avoid solder splashes


Embrace the pain! It's not that bad.

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frijitz



Joined: May 04, 2007
Posts: 1710
Location: NM USA
Audio files: 54

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Seeking Loupe Users
Subject description: My old-ass eyes need help working with SMD components
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Unkie Al wrote:
Hello techie-types. I am going to drop about $200-300 on a set of Shocked precision magnifying loupes Shocked much like my dentist uses (for example, http://www.orascoptic.com/index/orascoptic-products-loupes-dimension3-2). I've been using a pair of flip-up Leo Fender jobbies on a headstrap, but find I am so close to my work anyway I might solder my mustache into a filter circuit.
My wife uses those loupes, which are actually telescopes. They have a nice long working distance, but a very narrow field of view ... just enough to work on a tooth. I prefer a much larger field of view, so I use a headband magnifier. You can get these with different magnifications, so you don't have to be all that close if you don't want to be. A panavise to hold your board up off the bench is a good investment if you go this route.

Very Happy

Ian
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Photon



Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 363
Location: Boston
Audio files: 1

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I can vouch for the ones from Orascoptic Research. A collegue of mine uses them and I've borrowed them on a few ocasions. They have a working distance of a couple feet.

Another option might be to find a used stereo inspection microscope with a long working distance. I have one in my lab at work and its amazingly useful.
They turn up all the time on bid service sites and science surplus vendors.
I've gotten very used to working with it (spoiled actually) and am considering one for home.

good luck
peter
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jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 2486
Location: Denver
Audio files: 1
G2 patch files: 18

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another option is one of those kid's webcam microscopes. The actually work REALLY well for looking at electronics, and you get used to your head looking at someplace other than where your hands actually are. They are also extremely good for inspecting solder joints, since the zoom is adjustable. And however bad your vision is, you can always just buy a bigger monitor Smile Smile

These things go for $50 new, and can be found for far less than that on auction sites.
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