A Simple Micro-manipulator for Tephra Work

I’ve knocked together a simple micro-manipulator for moving tephra shards around under high-power microscopes. Commercial systems are eye-wateringly expensive and over-specified for this job. It is made from an old microscope that I stripped down so only the base, head and focus controls remained. I then removed the attachment from the prism and used it as the base of the needle mount. I attached a couple of pieces of Meccano and a plastic cable mount.

This allows a syringe, driver and micro-fine needle to be attached – I used a SGE 10ul syringe (p/n 002050) and a 0.17mm ID needle (p/n 037610).

To manipulate a sample, the x/y controls and the microscope can be used to position the needle, and the x control function is performed by the old coarse and fine focus on the new micromanipulator. See photos below – note I’ve since added a supporting arm to the needle to make it less prone to strafing. Total cost was under £100!

Micromanipulator headMicromanipulator needleMicromanipulator