Friday, June 22, 2012

What's in the Box?

A couple of weeks ago, Limey's mom made a very generous donation to our homeschool fund.   I've been wanting to get the kids a microscope and this was our best chance of getting a decent one.   Unfortunately the selection in Canada is extremely limited.

We ended up buying this microscope from Home Science Tools in the U.S.    At the time of purchase it on sale for $239.95.  With shipping and customs duties, the grand total was $348.  I also picked up a slide making kit. 

The equivalent microscope at a Canadian store is this one from Boreal Northwest.  The Boreal scope is unreviewed and $560 plus shipping (around $30).  That's a huge price difference so I went with HST.   It only took a week to get here.  

The slide making kit contains 12 plain slides, 2 concave slides, 100 cover slips, methylene blue stain, eosin Y stain, a pipette and a slide box.

The microscope itself has the following specs

  • 10x wide-field inclined eyepiece with 18 mm exit pupil distance
  • Monocular 45° inclined head with 360° rotation for convenient viewing
  • 4x (0.10 NA), 10x (0.25 NA), 40xR (0.65 NA), and 100xR (1.25 NA) objectives meet DIN standards and are achromatic, parcentered, and parfocaled to prevent color distortion and stay in focus when you switch magnification
  • 40x objective is retractable, 100x objective is oil retractable (order extra immersion oil separately)
  • Separate fine and coarse focusing with a slip clutch to prevent damage to slides or optics
  • Sturdy all-metal rack-and-pinion focusing
  • Large 115 x 125 mm stage with an integrated 20 x 60 mm mechanical stage with coaxial x-y controls
  • 1.25 N.A. Abbe condenser with spiral focusing
  • Adjustable iris diaphragm and swingout filter holder with blue filter
  • 5-watt cool, bright fluorescent illumination
  • Field of view is 4.5 mm at 40x
  • Rugged aluminum frame, stands 15" tall
  • Includes operating instructions, a dust cover, blue filter, immersion oil, and a spare light bulb

From what I can tell, it's a college level scope.  At the very least it'll take the kids through highschool.

It takes a bit of fidgeting to the get the right focus but once it's there it's bright and clear. So far we've looked at cheek cells, onion cells, hair, salt, sugar, pepper and a feather.  They want to do blood next but nobody would volunteer for the pin prick.   We'll have to wait for Limey to come home for that.   The girls love their new toy and I remember why I love science.   Thanks grandma!

The next thing on my to buy list is an adapter for my camera so I can take pictures of what we see through the scope which I will, of course, post on the blog.

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