Cost-effective solution for expanding microscope table to accomodate additional device

I have a widefield fluorescence system that is currently on a marble table. The table provides sufficient vibration isolation for this system, but it’s too small to support an additional device that needs to be mounted on the back of the scope. The best solution would of course be to purchase a brand new passive vibration isolation table with sufficient surface area, but I’m trying to find a more cost-effective solution. Would appreciate any ideas - even crazy ones. Thanks.

Hi @Kris_Kubow,

there are manufacturers for various kinds of posts and extra shelfs, for example Thorlabs, Newport and Edmund Optics. On marble tables, however, it can be difficult to tighten down extra components. This is much easier on vibration isolation tables with a breadboard, which are, hence, usually preferred.

Just get a big enough metal base plate for your scope and the new stuff and sit it on the same marble slab. Unless you are adding a lot of weight or vibration, you know the current setup is solid. You can at the same time improve ergonomics by shuffling the microscope forwards, so knees aren’t bumped on the thick slab. A bigger marble slab on the same base would probably also work. If you are in a quake zone, proper precautions should of course be followed.

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Few ideas:

  1. Consider using a metal plate to put between table and microscope body. It can be “long” to extend beyond the marble edge. McMaster-Carr for reference sells 1 inch x 12 inch x 24 inch aluminum slab for $280 McMaster-Carr But I think you can find cheaper option in local metal shop
  2. Use waterjet / CNC to tap necessary holes as J Voigts suggested: Basic techniques for making mechanical structures for systems neuroscience | Jakob Voigts
  3. Following same post by JV, use T-slot rails instead of the metal plate. Rails come inn different aspect ratios
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