I've been looking at a lot of ICs under my microscopes recently, and realised that it was a way that I could do better reverse engineering. This will let me look at the ICs on a PCB without datasheets, so the PCB could possibly be re-used.
Reverse engineering the IC is an interesting thing in itself, as well.
So, I had a look on ebay and bought a metallurgical microscope. This has a lighting system that can illuminate a subject from the top, so it works on opaque samples like ICs.
It came with no objectives, so I'm now hunting for decent objectives for it. It has a proper X-Y table which is good for moving samples about. This is especially useful for die-shots which are large arrays of photos.
The USB microscope is still useful for soldering and so on, as this microscope has a working distance from objective to sample of between about 0.5mm and 10mm. That's not a lot of room for soldering!
The X-Y table didn't have a slide holder so I bought a cheap X-Y table mechanism on ebay and used some melted down food trays cast into an ingot :
After machining into a block, I drilled some holes and mounted the slide holder from the cheap XY mechanism:
So I now have a nice spring loaded slide holder:
It's not perfect, and has a bit of a broken drill in it, but it's decidedly better than my first attempt:
Thats a bit of sheet metal bent into a holder shape. It's much better now.
Next projects are a camera mount and an LED based illumination source.