When acquiring a new microscope, most people are more concerned with how to use it rather than how to look after it.
But, maintaining your microscope is critically important if you want to keep it in top-notch condition for a long time. This includes how you handle and carry it.
Mid-tier and higher-quality microscopes tend to be very precise instruments that often come with high price tags. While many look light and easy to handle, most are deceptively heavy. This is when many users get a surprise and mishandle their new microscope.
By mishandling one, there is a higher risk of dropping the microscope or even detaching certain important components inside the instrument. This can lead to irreparable damage or very costly repairs.
If you have a new microscope that you will be using regularly, you must learn how to carry and handle one properly. If you don’t, you could damage or break it beyond repair.
In today’s post, we will be magnifying the importance of carrying a microscope properly and showing you just how to do so. We will take a look at different types of microscopes and how to handle each one.
We will also study certain things you must avoid when carrying a microscope to prevent any kind of damage.
Let’s not wait any longer. We will start by looking at how to set down your microscope safely every time you use it.
Placing Your Microscope Down
Before you begin carrying your microscope around, you need to know exactly where you’re going to set it down.
For starters, you may want to place it back in its case or inside a cabinet for safety. If so, you need to have the case or cabinet open before you start carrying the microscope.
The last thing you want to do is carry a microscope to its intended location and realize that you need a spare hand to open its case.
This means you will want to hold the microscope in one hand while trying to open the case or cabinet. Of course, this means you will become less stable and, if the microscope is heavy, like many are, you could lose balance and drop it.
For small, light microscopes, this may not seem like such a big deal but it is still a risky ploy. Not only could dropping your microscope damage it greatly, you could injure yourself or others around you.
Okay, you have ensured that the holder for your microscope is open before carrying it. Once you reach the desired microscope resting place, you need to ensure you don’t cause any damage to it when setting it down.
Here, you need to place your microscope down as smoothly as possible. This requires care, precision, and time.
When placing your microscope down, make sure that its base is placed on the surface with all four corners landing smoothly and gently at the same time.
Do not place one or two corners down and then push the microscope forward until the other corners land, too. This may not sound like such a big issue but it could result in the damage to your microscope and the surface you are setting it down on.
Even if you don’t damage it by placing two corners down, it could cause misalignment. Therefore, the next time you use your microscope, the image formation could be all out of whack. Go smoothly and such issues can be avoided.
What Not To Do When Carrying A Microscope
When carrying a microscope, it’s just as important to know what not to do as what you should do. There are numerous things you should avoid when carrying any type of microscope.
As you will see, some of the following points seem like common sense, but, unfortunately, some of these mistakes are pretty common.
Here’s what NOT TO DO when carrying a microscope:
- Never carry a microscope by the stage or the objective lens. These parts of a microscope are not designed to withstand any kind of weight or pressure. If you do apply any pressure here, expect some expensive damage.
- You should never carry your microscope with just one hand. Yes, this may be possible with lighter microscopes, but, if you own a larger, heavier model, you could easily end up dropping and damaging it.
- Do not try to carry a microscope if a wet slide has been engaged on the stage.
- If the microscope cover is still on, do not move the microscope.
- Make sure that all camera mounts have been removed before moving your microscope. The added weight of the camera can result in an imbalance of weight, making the microscope more difficult and awkward to carry.
- Always check that all wires and plugs are unplugged from their power sources. Firstly, you could easily trip over a loose wire or cable, resulting in a damaged microscope, or, even worse, a nasty injury.
How To Store A Microscope
As you know, microscopes are very sensitive scientific instruments. Therefore, you must be sensitive when handling one. This includes when they are not being used. Doing so will ensure that it can continue to perform properly at a high level.
Storing your microscope safely will extend its lifespan. Even if you think you have placed it down smoothly and carefully, the space you have stored may be detrimental to its longevity.
Dust can easily scratch the lens of a microscope and, therefore, interfere with the magnifying process. When storing a microscope, your main objective should be to protect it against any dust or other elements.
Before handling a microscope, wash your hands and then dry them thoroughly. This is so you can be certain that you are not transferring any dust or dirt to your instrument.
Next, you need to turn off your microscope. Alternatively, you should make sure that it’s on its lowest magnification setting.
You can then start the maintenance of your microscope by cleaning it. Start by cleaning its surfaces, but NOT THE LENSES.
You can do this with a can of compressed air. If required, you can also wipe the arm, tube, base, and stage with a damp cloth or a dry lint-free cloth.
To clean the lenses, you should use a lens cleaning solution as well as lens cleaning papers. These can be found online and at camera supply stores.
You need to turn the lenses until they are pointing toward the stage. Alternatively, the lenses can also face the tray where the slides are located (where you study items via the lenses).
Make sure that your microscope is covered with a plastic microscope cover for additional security against any elements. If your cover has buttons or zippers, seal these shut.
Now, it’s time to store the microscope. Place it on a flat surface, such as a table. Make sure this is away from any place where it may get knocked by anything or anyone.
Also, the storage area should not be out in the open, where the microscope may be exposed to any long period of sunlight. If so, your microscope is prone to damage from UV rays.
Follow these steps and your microscope will be fit and ready to go when you need it next.
It’s critically important to handle and carry a microscope with care and precision. It may not seem important – that is, until you drop your trusted instrument and you need to fork out a lot of money for repairs or a new microscope.
Nevertheless, if you avoid the mistakes we have listed above, your microscope should always be in good hands.
Microscopes are precise instruments that need to be handled with precision and care. Be safe and your microscope will function for a long time yet!
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