IN FOCUS: Making the Most of Your Microscope.

Above: A selection of stage plate inserts 3D printed by the Bioimaging Research Hub – links to resources in blog article below.

Hands up if your microscope is badly in need of upgrade or repair but your budget won’t stretch that far? Maybe a new focusing knob to replace the one that just broke off in your hand, or perhaps a new stage plate adapter, reflector cube or filter holder to increase your imaging options? Perhaps a C-mount or smartphone adaptor to give one of your old microscopes a new lease of life? Or even a sample holder or chamber for a bespoke imaging application? What the heck, let’s think big eh? How about a completely new modular microscope system with tile scanning capabilities?

Way too expensive, eh?… Well, imagine for a moment that you could just click a button (or a few buttons, at least) and make it so. If you haven’t yet realised, I’m talking about 3D printing in light microscopy and the life sciences – the subject of a very interesting paper that I recently came across  – see below.

It’s safe to say that 3D printing is changing the way we do things in microscopy, now permitting low-cost upgrade, repair, or customisation of microscopes like never before. There are now a huge selection of 3D printable resources available through websites such as NIH3D, Thingiverse etc that can be used to modify your microscope system or to generate scientific apparatus or labware for upstream sample processing and preparation procedures.

So, to save you trawling through the 3D printing sites in order to identify the most useful designs to meet your histology and imaging needs we’ve done it for you and have curated a list of 3D printable resources which we hope you you’ll find useful (below).

AJH 25/05/2023

Further Reading


3D printable resources for histology and light microscopy. Information collated by Dr Tony Hayes, Bioimaging Research Hub, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Wales, UK.

 Sample processing

Sample staining

Sample storage and archiving

 Sample presentation

Microscope: Complete builds

Microscope: Maintenance

Microscope: Phone adapters (a selection)

Microscope: Stands (a selection)

Microscope: Components (generic)

Microscope: Olympus-specific

 Microscopes: Leica-specific

Microscopes: Zeiss-specific

 Microscopes: Nikon-specific