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How to Select and Use Reticles and Stage Micrometers.

Choosing The Correct Reticle Glass Size For Your Eyepiece

Choosing The Correct Reticle Scale Value For Your Objective

Calibrating Your Reticle With a Stage Micrometer

Important Note on Reticle Diameters & Patterns

Custom Reticle and Stage Micrometer Designs and Patterns

Choosing The Correct Reticle Glass Size For Your Eyepiece

Most microscope eyepieces (oculars) are designed to accept a reticle on the inside of the bottom of the eyepiece. This is the end of the eyepiece that is positioned inside the microscope's eyetube, which is the tube that is attached to the microscope.

In order for the eyepiece to properly use a reticle it will need two things. You can check for these by removing the eyepiece from the eyetube, turning it over and looking down inside the bottom of the eyepiece. 1) There must be a "shelf" (a.k.a. field stop) of some kind down inside the eyepiece for the reticle to rest on, and 2) there must be a retaining mechanism of some kind to hold the reticle in place. This shelf is very important as it positions the reticle at the focal plane of the eyepiece lens. This means the reticle is spaced correctly to be in focus when you view it through the top of the eyepiece. The retaining mechanism is typically a threaded ring that you unscrew from the inside of the eyepiece. You then set the reticle down inside on the shelf, and screw the retaining ring back in to hold the reticle in place. You will probably need a spanner wrench or very small flat screwdriver to remove and re-install this threaded ring.  If there is no retaining device but there is a shelf for the reticle, then you can buy a properly sized C-Ring Retainer to hold the reticle in place. Choose the C-Ring size that matches the reticle diameter (as determined in the next paragraph). If there is no shelf for the reticle to rest on in the bottom of the eyepiece, then either your eyepiece uses a different method of holding its reticle, or it is not able to accept one. Some eyepieces are designed so the reticle is installed in-between two lenses instead of at the bottom, or possibly by some other method. In this case you would need to refer to the owner's manual or contact the manufacturer/dealer. Ask them if the eyepiece can accept a reticle and how to determine the proper glass diameter.

If you have determined your eyepiece has the necessary shelf for the reticle you would then measure the inside diameter of the bottom of the eyepiece. Be sure you are measuring against the inside wall of the eyepiece and not the inside of any retaining ring that may be in there. This measurement must be reasonably accurate. It will typically be a fraction of a millimeter over a whole, integer number. For example it may measure 19.3 mm. You would then round down to the nearest millimeter, in this case 19mm, and that would be the proper diameter for the reticle.  Another example is you measured 23.1 mm. You would then select a 23 mm reticle diameter. The tolerance on the reticle's diameter is +0.000" / -0.005" so as long as the inside diameter of the eyepiece is slightly larger than the reticle diameter it should fit.

There are a few exceptions to this integer method of selecting a diameter. For example, Olympus has a few eyepieces designed for 20.4mm diameter reticles, Leica has some for a 24.5mm diameter, and Accu-Scope has some for a 26.5mm diameter, so we offer those, plus 1 in. (25.4mm), as standard products. But the majority of eyepieces are designed to accept an integer number diameter. Of course we can make custom diameters upon request.

Please note that a typical eyepiece will have numbers written on the outside such as WF10X/20MM. These numbers are not specifying the diameter of a reticle for that eyepiece. They are specifying the magnification of the eyepiece and its aperture (optical field diameter). Unless you have the reticle diameter as specified by the owner's manual or other manufacturer's specification, you must measure per the instructions above.

GLASS THICKNESS: Our standard reticle glass thickness is 1.5mm. This is appropriate for over 95% of our Customer's eyepieces. However occasionally we find a need for thinner glass. For example, a Customer has reported the Olympus IX71 requires a 1mm thickness or the retaining ring will be spaced too far to engage the threads of the eyepiece. So we offer 1mm thickness as a no-cost option upon request. Please keep in mind these will be more fragile than the standard thickness.

Choosing The Correct Reticle Scale Value For Your Objective

If you need to order a reticle for your application, use the following to determine the correct scale value.

When ordering reticles, take into consideration only your total objective magnification (don't add in the eyepiece). On a typical zoom stereo microscope it would be between 1X and 5X. If you installed a 1.5X auxiliary objective lens on that same stereo microscope, it would then be between 1.5X and 7.5X. On a compound microscope it would typically be between 4X and 100X.

Example 1: Using the 3X objective lens on your stereo microscope, you want to be able to measure .001" of your target specimen for each division of your reticle. Therefore, use the following formula:

Formula: Desired value of Target x Objective = Value of Reticle

.001" x 3X = .003" per division

You can see you need a reticle that has .003" per division.

If you want 100 divisions: .003" x 100 divisions = .300"/100 div. (Part # S-14278)
If you want 200 divisions: .003" x 200 divisions = .600"/200 div. (Part # S-14299)

Below are examples of the different values attained from this reticle when used with various objective settings:
Part # S-14278: .300"/100 divisions, each division equals .003" actual value.
.003" @ 1x objective setting = .003" at target specimen.
.003" @ 2x objecting setting = .0015" at target specimen.
.003" @ 3x objective setting = .001 " at target specimen.

If you already have a reticle, use the following to determine its measurement resolution.
Example 2: You have a S-14314 reticle which has a 10mm scale divided into 100 divisions. Therefore each division is 0.100 mm (100 micron). If you use the 40X objective lens on your compound microscope, you want to know the corresponding dimension of your target specimen.
Formula: Reticle Value / Objective = Value at Target Specimen.
0.1mm / 40 = 0.0025mm (2.5 micron or 2.5µ)

Below are examples of different values attained from this reticle used with various objective settings.

Part # S-14314: 10mm scale with 100 divisions, each division equals 0.10mm actual value
0.10mm / 4x obj. = 0.025 (25µ) at target specimen.
0.10mm / 10x obj. = 0.010 (10µ) at target specimen.
0.10mm / 40x obj. = 0.0025 (2.5µ) at target specimen.
0.10mm / 100x obj. = 0.001 (1µ) at target specimen.

Calibrating Your Reticle With a Stage Micrometer

For precise measurements, each reticle must be calibrated to each objective using a Stage Micrometer.

Procedure for Calibrating Each Objective:

Accurate measurement of microscopic objects requires the use of an eyepiece reticle (a.k.a. eyepiece micrometer) and a stage micrometer. The eyepiece reticle is a round glass disk with a precision scale on its surface. The eyepiece reticle is inserted into one eyepiece and must be in focus. The eyepiece and eyepiece reticle can be rotated 360 degrees in the eyetube so the measuring scale can be aligned with or superimposed over the image of your specimen. A typical eyepiece reticle would be a 5mm or 10mm linear scale featuring 50 or 100 divisions. Before using the eyepiece reticle for accurate measurements it is necessary to calibrate the eyepiece reticle using a stage micrometer. A stage micrometer is typically a 1" x 3" slide with a pattern of known dimensions on its surface. The stage micrometer is placed directly on the stage of the microscope and brought into focus. By rotating the eyepiece both scales can be positioned parallel to each other. To calibrate the eyepiece reticle you must first find out how many intervals of the eyepiece reticle correspond to a certain distance on the stage micrometer. You can then calculate the value of one interval of the eyepiece reticle. Each microscope objective must be calibrated independently.

Example: Let's say each division of the metric stage micrometer above is 0.01mm or 10µ (10 micron). First determine how many divisions of the eyepiece reticle correspond to a certain distance on the stage micrometer and calculate the length of one division of the eyepiece reticle. In this example 90 divisions of the eyepiece reticle corresponds to 60 divisions of the stage micrometer. (Note: Even though it appears that more than one set of lines are aligned, i.e. 30/20, 60/40 and 90/60, it is typically most accurate to use the largest dimension pair for your calculation.) Each division of the stage micrometer equals 10µ, so 60 divisions of the stage micrometer would equal 600u. To calculate the value of one division of the eyepiece reticle we would divide 600µ by 90 resulting in 6.67µ per reticle division. The reticle value, in this case 6.67µ, would apply only to the objective for which the calibration was made. Each microscope objective must be calibrated independently.

Important Note on Reticle Diameters & Patterns

All geometric patterns available will not fit on all available reticle diameters! Please keep this in mind when choosing a reticle/geometry combination.

For example: The S-14368 Scale Reticle is a 20mm scale. If you order it on a 19mm diameter reticle you can see it will not completely fit.  We will assume this is done intentionally because you want the pattern to go right to the edge. So, if you order this, we will make it! Please be sure you completely understand since these reticles are non-returnable! If you have any doubt or questions at all, please contact us before ordering.

Custom Reticle and Stage Micrometer Designs

We are experts in making custom reticles and stage micrometers (or other similar products). If you need a reticle or stage micrometer with an artwork design, physical dimension or substrate material we don't normally consider standard we can usually still help.  If you have your specifications ready just send them to us for a quotation, or just give us a call and we can assist you in developing the specifications that will satisfy your application.

RETICLES: Reticles with custom artwork will have a one-time setup cost, typically around $1250, and usually run around $249.95/ea in small quantities. Future orders of the same design will not require the setup charge again.  These costs cover most designs but may differ depending on the complexity and size of the artwork, product dimensions and requested substrate material.  An exception is if we can use a standard artwork pattern but simply remove some of the design. This can typically be done less expensively.  Also, reticles using one of our standard artwork patterns, but with a non-standard physical dimension or substrate type, can usually be made less expensively as well since they would not require new artwork. Please contact us for a firm quote.

STAGE MICROMETERS:  Prices for custom stage micrometers vary significantly depending on your requirements so you will need to contact us with your details for a quote. Like the reticles above, any new artwork requirement will have a one-time setup charge plus the price per piece. Please note: it is less expensive to put one of our standard reticle patterns on a stage micrometer than to create new artwork.

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