Repurposing mothballed equipment

In my current lab we are a group of engineers/programmers co-located in the translational medicine building, trying to make everything ourselves and often get half-finished projects to help other labs complete. We also collect all the “junk” and obsolete/underutilized equipment that we can get our hands on.

As an example, we have a mostly complete IX series microscope, which started life as:

Cobbled together using 2nd hand parts purchased online, aftermarket parts from 3rd party manufacturers, and a few new parts purchased from a local Olympus dealer. Its a Frankenstein running uManager of course…makes for a great learning platform for new students without fiddling with brand new equipment.

Its obvious by looking at them that lets say, Sutter and Scientifica use a lot of Olympus subassemblies or Thorlabs uses a lot of Nikon subassemblies in some of their microscopes. It would be interesting if others can share their ideas or experiences salvaging parts from larger pieces of obsolete equipment, where it is not obvious what is “under the hood.” Please share them.