Mantis Microscope Repair

A recent dumpster dive netted me a Vision Engineering Mantis Microscope. The Mantis will be extremely useful for soldering SMD parts and general PCB assembly and repair. I was lucky that the objectives had been thrown out with the unit, a 4X and 8X objective. I am unable to find the model number of this Mantis but it is not a new microscope. The Mantis had not aged well, small cracks are appearing in the plastic housing and the mounting bracket is broken into unusable plastic scrap.

2017-05-28 17.56.52
Broken Mounting Bracket

I modeled up a new mounting bracket based on the remains of the original bracket and a few assumptions along with plenty of measurements.

The 3D model in Fusion 360

The bracket was then 3D printed using my Tronxy P802M printer using white PLA with a layer height of 0.3mm and 15% infill. The print took a little over 10 hours. To attach it to the stand I acquired two 1/4-20 by 2-1/2″ bolts with two washers and a nylon lock nut each. To hold the scope in position the bolts need to be slightly tight for a nice friction fit. For the pivot I also acquired a 3/8″ 4″ long bolt with three washers and a nut. This was tighten snugly to provide enough friction to hold the scope in place but still allow it to rotate. I was surprised at the strength of the 3D printed part, it holds the scope which is moderately heavy with no issues. It appears that I was off by 5 degrees with the mounting holes so the bracket does not hold the microscope head perfectly level. I may end up correcting the model and reprinting it but for now I will see if it makes a difference.

I did not find the weighted base while searching the trash so I purchased a 3/4″ 2’x2′ MDF board and bolted the plastic base to the back. The reach of this scope is super long and pushes the working area of the scope almost the the edge of the board. I may end up cutting the board a little bit shorter so that the working area is not on the edged of the base. This was a great find that went from trash to useful thanks to 3D printing.

2017-05-28 18.48.36

In the off chance that someone else needs a mounting bracket for this exact microscope I have uploaded the 3D model and STL file ready to print to Thingiverse. Note that at this time I have not adjusted the model for the 5 degree tilt.


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