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Thread: USB Microscope Recommendation

  1. #1

    USB Microscope Recommendation

    I'd like to examine my blades, for a bit, to see how I'm doing with my sharpening. I'm hoping some others here do this and can recommend an inexpensive USB microscope. There are so many out there I don't know where to start.

    And please: this isn't the beginning of another sharpening thread (although I do enjoy reading them). Just a 'scope recommendation request.

    thank you,
    Les

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by les winter View Post
    I'd like to examine my blades, for a bit, to see how I'm doing with my sharpening. I'm hoping some others here do this and can recommend an inexpensive USB microscope. There are so many out there I don't know where to start.

    And please: this isn't the beginning of another sharpening thread (although I do enjoy reading them). Just a 'scope recommendation request.

    thank you,
    Les
    Les, I can't help you select a USB microscope, but I'm thinking you are taking sharpening too seriously. There is really sharp, sharp enough, and a little dull. All will work. I think you will find that a polished surface will scratch the first time you use it, Really sharp also may not last long. You may spend all your time sharpening and not getting anything done. What people forget is that trees bring minerals up from the ground, into the wood. These minerals are abrasive. It will even be different within the same tree. Depends on where the roots are. I would suggest you don't look so close. Just make it sharp enough that it works.

  3. #3
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    I bought one some time ago for about $25 on Amazon. At that price all seem to be made at the same factory, so there's not really a brand that stands out.

    What is a good alternative is a jeweller's eye piece. I provides enough magnification to examine an edge on a routine kind of way.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    What is a good alternative is a jeweller's eye piece. I provides enough magnification to examine an edge on a routine kind of way.
    +1. I too, use a jeweler’s loupe.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

    “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

  5. #5
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    Usually testing in paper will indicate any areas that need more work. If the edge is slid across the edge of the paper as it is cutting, the tiny nicks or flat spots on the edge will catch the paper.

    Even a small 10X magnifier will reveal a thin line of reflected light where there is a flat along the edge.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
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    If you get the USB microscope, get a cheap stand for it too. It is not easy to focus and hold steady by hand.

    Or you can skip the visual and go to cutting pressure:
    https://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/E...gaAhoDEALw_wcB

  7. #7
    Thanks Eric. Not over thinking, just trying to have a little fun.

  8. #8
    Thanks Jim. In my previous life in forensics, the microscope was a good friend. My eyes don't work well with a hand held magnifier.

  9. #9
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    Well, I learned something today. I'd never heard of a USB microscope so googled it. Pretty cool invention and quite cheap. I will probably continue to use my circline magnifier but when I have more time I might order one and learn how to use it.

  10. #10
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    They're a sort of usb camera. You need a laptop, tablet or smartphone to view the images. The applications out there are pretty basic and some are frankly really bad.

    The image quality is decent enough to see details that are not visible with the naked eye. A stropped edge might look mirror like, but w the usb microscope it will look full of scratches.

    Getting an image steady and in focus is also a bit of a challenge with these devices, since they come with a plastic mount and when you adjust the focus wheel, it moves. They need a more sturdy mount to be made to make the observations quickly.

  11. #11
    Just get the cheapest you can find. It's not something you'll use more than a handful of times, as they're not easy to set up. Plus you'll quickly realize that a microscope isn't much good for checking the sharpness of a blade. Some might look pretty ragged, but in actuality, be really sharp and make clean cuts. And others might look like they're polished to a high sheen with a crisp edge, but still not cut so well. All a microscope will tell you is what kind of metal your blade is made of and how high of a grit you polished the blade to. After you've used the blade, you can see how much is rounding over or chipping off, but's information that using the blade can tell you.

    They're fun to use, but really, they're not that useful outside of a curiosity.

  12. #12
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    I have used the magnifier function on my iPhone to good effect. Use a block or something as a stand.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott lipscomb View Post
    I have used the magnifier function on my iPhone to good effect. Use a block or something as a stand.
    BOOM! No need to get loopy.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Loopers untie !

  14. #14
    I bought two of those cheap USB microscopes at different times. They did not work well. The color was way off and the PC app was primitive and hard to use. As far as I was concerned, they were useless. I did have a stand for both of them and the stand is needed.

    They were made in China, if I recall correctly. I would like to find a decent one that doesn't cost hundreds of dollars.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  15. #15
    Well, we're on the same trail, Mike.

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