If you have ever played with optical elements you have certainly felt the need to adjust the various optical parts relative to each other with great precision. This is very common in microscopy where a sample should be moved relative to the objective in both the transversal and axial direction. For these kinds of issues, it is convenient to use XYZ stages with micrometric screws but they are quite expensive for the amateur: about $1,000US at the very least for accurate and robust mechanisms.
As a consequence, I recently decided to give my 3D printer a try at XYZ stages. The result is not as stiff as professional hardware but it does its job with about a 50 µm resolution for a fraction of the price. The overall concept is the same as discussed in the [»] syringe pump post, except that I made this one stackable to achieve a XYZ configuration by printing the parts three times. Because of the relative softness of hollow plastic, I don’t recommend using the Z configuration for loads of more than two ounces; so it should be just enough for a microscopy slide but no more.
You can download the files in the resources section and watch the video for assembly instructions:
You can download the various models required for the stage and the drill help file. This was designed for my printer which has a 0.2 mm resolution setting so try to match these to prevent any size-related issues.
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