Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Wax carving microscope


#1

I am interested in finding out about using a microscope to carve
waxes - Does anyone have any on this? (Where to buy one;
web sites, how it works)

Also - I use the Kerr hard green block wax for carving & I wanted to
know if there was a harder wax available any where? I could get much
better detail with a harder wax if one exists.

Thanks in advance for Your help.
Mary R


#2

Hi Mary,

I bought a microscope about three or four years ago and I can safely
say it improved my wax carving by a factor of about ten. You do not
realise what you cannot see until you can see it ! if that makes
sense.

I am in the UK and I do not know if the microscope I have is
available in the US, Mine I am told is a Meiji knockoff made in
Japan. I am sure there are better, more expensive ones but I am happy
with mine and use it for hours at a time with no apparent eyestrain.

I suggest you get a 10-40X magnification Zoom Stereo one. They are
sometimes called dissecting scopes. I had to get a 20-80X one and
attach a 0.5 objective lens to bring the area I was looking at up a
bit. If you look on E-bay there are quite a few, you will just have
to look for one that suits.

I have made many modifications to mine over the years, attachments
for milling tools and have come up with a lot of tools that are
suitable, you will need a moch smaller set of tools for a start. Also
a headrest or you will end up with black eyes from leaning on the
eyepieces!

I have thought about writing up all the wrinkles I have come up with
( and still am), but I did not know how many people would be
interested.

You will find you use it for all sorts of other work, stone setting
gets a lot easier when you can see the bruise a stone makes in a
settting and can relieve just that spot.

Castaldo make a harder yellow wax, but I think you need sharper
tools, I had exactly the same experience at first but don’t worry
about it any more. Sharpen the edge of the tool under the scope with
a strip of VERY fine abrasive paper stuck down to a metal strip. You
can even use 1.6mm tungsten carbide tig welding rod and put a handle
on it.

regards Tim Blades.


#3
I use the Kerr hard green block wax for carving & I wanted to know
if there was a harder wax available any where? I could get much
better detail with a harder wax if one exists. 

I use Ferris green. I don’t know if it is harder, it feels less
’waxy’ to me and has a much finer grain. I am able to get very fine
detail. See the ‘wax gallery’ www.sumnersilverman.com

szs


#4

check out the lynx dynascope by vision engineering i bought one last
year and am very pleased

goo


#5

I use a microscope for carving and it is satisfying.

A new low cost stereo scope can be had from

With optics you get what you pay for, and while not as good as
scopes over $3K, these units are close enough to be worthwhile.

I have the Omano OM2300/JW11 - 7x-45x Stereo, Zoom, Boom Microscope.
It cost about $700

Also useful was the.5 Barlow lense to allow more working space for
your tools, a headrest and replacing the Flourescent light ring with
a traditional Fiber optic ring system.

The microscope isn’t appropriate for all wax carving tasks however.
Thinning out the piece requires backlight, and sometimes you need to
bring a tool down on the piece directly from above, which means even
if there is space to position the tool, your view will be obstructed.

Also if you use a wax pen and are used to controlling the rate of
solidification by blowing on the wax, you can no longer do this.

Kate Wolf at the Rio Catalog in Motion showed me a tip to accomplish
the same using an aquarium air pump connected to a foot pedal. She
attaches a vinyl tube to the pump and keeps it handy to blow a small
amount of air onto the peice while using the wax pen. Works well.

Some thought on how the microscope mounts to your bench is needed,
especially if you are planning to use the microscope for
stone-setting also.

I had a workbench custom made around the scope, for just a little
more than the cost of the articulating boom arm from a Meiji scope
system would have cost. In most cases this would be a bit excessive.

Here is a link to some pictures of it.

http://www.sock23.com/samfurrow2/SteigerBench.aspx

Ben Steiger


#6

I bought a stereo 'scope on e-bay for the same purpose. Works very
well . That is the exact one I
got and I am very happy with it. Makes pave setting a joke. Mail me
if you want more info. And a belated thanks to all the folk who
helped me buy the right one.

Cheers Hans Meevis
http:www.meevis.com


#7

Tim

I have made many modifications to mine over the years,
attachments for milling tools and have come up with a lot of tools
that are suitable, you will need a moch smaller set of tools for a
start. Also a headrest or you will end up with black eyes from
leaning on the eyepieces! 

Please share your experiences and tool creations with us. My use of
the scope is for doing dentistry.

Thanks


#8
The microscope isn't appropriate for all wax carving tasks
however. Thinning out the piece requires backlight, and sometimes
you need to bring a tool down on the piece directly from above,
which means even if there is space to position the tool, your view
will be obstructed. 

There are ways to do most things under a microscope with a little
lateral thinking. The one I bought had a circular glass baseplate
which can give backlight, since I removed it and the light and holder
so that I could get a micromotor in from underneath so that I could
use it as a micro milling machine. So to get a light to shine through
wax I just have an LED that I can swing in from the side when
necessary.

To bring a tool down vertically onto your work, take out the circle
of glass and cut a 25mm thick circle of MDF and then cut at an angle
down to zero, from one side to the other. Mark a big cross in the
middle of the elliptical surface.

You then make perspex ring that clamps onto the objective lens that
has a groove in it on the same side as the thin edge of the MDF
block. A micromotor will then drill at 90 deg to the inclined
surface, if run in the groove and the tip placed on the centre of the
cross. You will need to do some fine adjustment to the angles but if
you do some measurements and have a set square it is pretty obvious.
You will of course need a micromotor, but it is a dead good excuse to
spend money!

I just use cheap halogen desk lights but I would be interested to
know the pro’s and con’s of ringlights and fiber optics from those
that use them.

One tip I would reccomend is to take your work out and look at it
with the naked eye every so often. If you are not careful you can
find yourself doing (sometimes unnecessary) detail when the basic
form is not quite right.

regards Tim Blades.


#9

Mary

If you really want great detail carve your pieces in metal pewter
using burs gravers etc


#10

You may wish to check the engraving sites. Most of them use
microscopes and have strong ideas about them.


#11
To bring a tool down vertically onto your work, take out the
circle of glass and cut a 25mm thick circle of MDF and then cut at
an angle down to zero, from one side to the other. Mark a big cross
in the middle of the elliptical surface.... 

Sounds interesting, would you happen to have a photo of your rig?

I just use cheap halogen desk lights but I would be interested to
know the pro's and con's of ringlights and fiber optics from those
that use them. 

I have tried ringlights of both fluorescent and fiber-optic directed
halogen variety, halogen desk lights, and high intensity LEDs
mounted on gooseneck cables.

The advantage of a ringlight is that it reduces glare and shadows
because the light is coming from directly above and is distributed
360 degrees around the lens. The fluorescent light is softer than
the halogen and good light to work with, but became too diffuse when
used with the.5X Barlow lens, which I needed to provide about 5
inches of working space between the scope and wax. So it didn’t
really do it for me.

The fiber optic halogen ring light uses a 150W halogen bulb mounted
in a box with a fan. Bulbs are about $15 - $20 and are only
guaranteed to last 200 hours (though mine have lasted much longer).
Although it uses the most bench space, I prefer this system.

I still use a desk halogen in addition to the ringlight (I’m a light
junkie). If you haven’t found glare and shadows to be an issue, they
are probably the most cost effective solution.

I tried an LED light system from Sea Life Supply. Didn’t like it at
all. The LED had to be so close to the wax to provide sufficient
illumination that it became a very tight spotlight, which just
exacerbated glare and shadows. I will try it now for backlighting
duty- good idea, thanks.

Ben Steiger