Flinn Smart Digital Microscope Stand


The Flinn Smart Digital Microscope Stand is a convenient way for students to magnify objects and capture images or video using their own digital devices. Captured images can then be incorporated into lab reports, mini-posters, and digital presentations.


  • Microscopy


Carriage bolts, 4½", 3*
Digital device
Digital device support, acrylic, 7" x 7" x ⅛"*
Hex nuts, 5/16", 9*
Lamp or flashlight for additional direct light
Lens, acrylic*
Slide support, acrylic, 3" x 7" x ⅛"*
Washers, flat, 5/16", 5*
Wing nuts, 5/16", 2*
Wooden base, 7" x 7" x ¾"*
*Materials included in kit.

Safety Precautions

This procedure is considered nonhazardous. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the laboratory. Please follow all laboratory safety guidelines.

Prelab Preparation

  1. Insert the three carriage bolts through the holes in the wooden base. The holes are countersunk to allow the bolt heads to fit into the wooden base (see Figure 1).
    {11259_Procedure_Figure_1_Smart digital microscope stand}
  2. Place a flat washer onto each carriage bolt.
  3. Place a hex nut onto each carriage bolt and snug to the flat washer.
  4. Place a wing nut, flat side up, onto the two front carriage bolts. Move the wing nuts down about 2" on the carriage bolts.
  5. Place a flat washer onto each wing nut.
  6. Remove protective film from the slide support. Place the slide support onto the two carriage bolts with wing nuts. Use a level and adjust the wing nuts until the slide support is level.
  7. Place a hex nut on each carriage bolt. Snug the front two hex nuts to the top of the slide support. Move the third hex nut until it is level with the other two hex nuts.
  8. Remove protective film from the digital device support. Insert the lens into the fourth hole of the digital device support. The lens adjusts up and down within the hole. The lens should be flush against the camera lens of the digital device. The digital device may need to be removed from its case during use.
  9. Place the digital device support onto the three carriage bolts. The digital device support rests on top of the three hex nuts. Use the level and adjust the hex nuts until the digital device support is level.
  10. Place an object or slide onto the slide support. Adjust the wing nuts until the object is in focus. If the object will not focus, remove the digital device support and flip it over.
  11. Place the final three hex nuts onto the carriage bolts. Snug the hex nuts to the top of the digital device support (see Figure 1).


  1. Place the desired object onto the slide support. If the ambient light is not strong enough, use lamps or flashlights to add more indirect light to the object.
  2. Place the digital device onto the digital device support. Line up the device’s camera with the lens in the digital device support.
  3. Focus the object using the wing nuts.
  4. Additional magnification is possible using the digital device.
  5. Use the digital device’s app to take photos or video of the object.

Lab Hints

  • Enough materials are provided in this kit to assemble one Flinn Smart Digital Microscope Stand.
  • Digital devices may include smart phones and small tablets.


Yoshinok, Instructables. http://www.instructables.com/id/10-Smartphone-to-digital-microscope-conversion/ (accessed July 2014).

Next Generation Science Standards and NGSS are registered trademarks of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.