Stylus Evaluation Imaging

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ray_parkhurst
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Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2017 04:50

In the "Microscope?" thread (viewtopic.php?f=19&t=92795 I posted some images of stylus tips showing the contact points and shapes as viewed directly down at the stylus tip, with lighting at the correct angles and placements to show contact shape and any wear patterns. Rather than hijacking that thread further, I figured I'd start my own. You can view my early attempts on JICO N97LTDE and Shure N92LT styli, with explanation of the photo technique, over on the Microscope? thread.

First stylus I will show here is a well-worn Shure M99E. This stylus is so worn that the tip now rides all the way to the bottom of the groove! The fairly polished elliptical flats on this stylus were transparent enough that the surfaces did not image well, and this confused the stacking program in those areas. But the wear pattern is unmistakable, and that's the interesting part of this image:

http://i943.photobucket.com/albums/ad27 ... M99E_F.jpg

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by Coffee Phil » 15 Jan 2017 08:05

Hi Ray,

I have no idea what focus stacking is. Clearly you are posting some pictures which I believe would enable one to tell a worn stylus from a good one.

What I want to know is what do I need to get and how much will it cost me to get similar results.

Thanks,

Phil
ray_parkhurst wrote:In the "Microscope?" thread (viewtopic.php?f=19&t=92795 I posted some images of stylus tips showing the contact points and shapes as viewed directly down at the stylus tip, with lighting at the correct angles and placements to show contact shape and any wear patterns. Rather than hijacking that thread further, I figured I'd start my own. You can view my early attempts on JICO N97LTDE and Shure N92LT styli, with explanation of the photo technique, over on the Microscope? thread.

First stylus I will show here is a well-worn Shure M99E. This stylus is so worn that the tip now rides all the way to the bottom of the groove! The fairly polished elliptical flats on this stylus were transparent enough that the surfaces did not image well, and this confused the stacking program in those areas. But the wear pattern is unmistakable, and that's the interesting part of this image:

http://i943.photobucket.com/albums/ad27 ... M99E_F.jpg

needlewhine

Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by needlewhine » 15 Jan 2017 13:36

Ditto

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by Trio KD1033 » 15 Jan 2017 14:41

I'm sure Ray will come back with some info, but I'll just cover the basics.
Focus stacking is the process of blending several photos, all focused at slightly different points. It is absolutely essential that the camera does not move in between these shots. Specialist software then processes each photo and blends them to give you the result shown.

It is usually done with an SLR camera and macro lens. I would say looking at Ray's shots, that he is either using a macro lens plus some tube extension/bellows to get beyond normal magnification, or a lens capable of greater than 1:1 magnification.

Long story short, it takes a lot of practice and not a small amount of time before you start getting shots like Ray has here!

Also, you may fall down the expensive rabbit hole that is "photography"!

Andy

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by scho2684 » 15 Jan 2017 16:39

Could not agree more...

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by scho2684 » 15 Jan 2017 17:52

Ray, could you indicate in what direction we are looking?
We think we can identify a wrong AS setting as well...

If I should guess then we are looking from bottom up in regards to play direction, which indicates a too aggressive AS setting...

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by analogaudio » 15 Jan 2017 17:57

Thank you Ray

If I understand correctly the bright "oval" patches in the center of the picture are the wear patches. This is an exceptionally clear image of the shape and size of the wear patches, by far the best quality I have seen.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2017 18:10

Thanks for the summary Andy, and you are right about going down the rabbit hole. I put together my own system for photographing details on coins, and it took on a life of its own. If I were to put together a similar system today it would cost around $4k, which is actually pretty cheap in the camera world. Of course I've also learned how to do things cheaper along the way, and would not build the system the same way again.

The basics that are needed are all available on the used market:

Canon DSLR: Canon is chosen for a few good reasons, which I can elaborate on if folks are interested. An older camera body will cost ~$175-$300.

Teleconverter: Vivitar's 2x Macro Focusing Teleconverters can't be beat, and will cost ~$50.

Bellows and Adapters: There are several choices from ~$75-$150. Adapters are needed to mount the camera on one end, and objective on the other, and will cost ~$35.

Objective: Nikon, of course. The 10x objective will cost ~$200.

Macro Stand: There are several options. A converted microscope stand is ~$200 and is very compact, while a full size copy stand is ~$150-$300

Z-Stage: This is needed to adjust focal planes for the stack of ~30-50 images needed to get the whole stylus into focus. If you're willing to do this manually, the stage will cost ~$75. If you want software control, a stepper-based system will cost ~$300-$500.

XY stage: This is an option that makes framing the stylus in center of the image much easier. It can be purchased in conjunction with the Z-stage (XYZ), or separately for ~$100.

Lights: IKEA's Jansjo LED gooseneck lamps work great, and are $10 each. You'll need 4 of them, two for side illumination of the contact surfaces, and two for overall illumination. You'll want to diffuse them so will also need to buy some heavy vellum or other diffusion material at an art store.

Software: Camera control software comes with the camera (Canon) and lets you view the stylus on your computer screen and snap the shots when doing manual stacking. The automated stacking system has its own software to control the stepper motor. Helicon Focus or Zerene Stacker will cost you a yearly fee of ~$50. CombineZP is free, and not too hard to use, though the output is not as well-behaved.

Adding it all up, you're talking ~$1000 for all the pieces.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2017 18:14

scho2684 wrote:Ray, could you indicate in what direction we are looking?
We think we can identify a wrong AS setting as well...

If I should guess then we are looking from bottom up in regards to play direction, which indicates a too aggressive AS setting...
The play direction is top to bottom, ie the end of the cantilever is just outside of view at bottom of the image.

I took this by placing the body of the cartridge flat on the stage.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2017 18:18

analogaudio wrote:If I understand correctly the bright "oval" patches in the center of the picture are the wear patches. This is an exceptionally clear image of the shape and size of the wear patches, by far the best quality I have seen.
Thanks Ted! And yes, the flats at the tip are the wear patches. This stylus is worn way beyond any reasonable lifetime, so seemed a good example to start with.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by aj1969 » 17 Jan 2017 12:40

Great Snaps this is about the best i can do. Its a good thread this and we should keep it up as we can also see the different styles of the stylus as well. This is a AT 150E.
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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by chiz » 17 Jan 2017 15:30

aj1969, what make and model scope did you use to take that picture?
I have a cheap USB microscope but have not been able to get an image as good as that.
I'm interested in getting a better one but not the $1000 setup Ray recommends (although Ray, your images are incredible!)

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 17 Jan 2017 16:01

aj1969 wrote:Great Snaps this is about the best i can do. Its a good thread this and we should keep it up as we can also see the different styles of the stylus as well. This is a AT 150E.
Pretty good image for a USB scope.

My original idea in starting this was to show what the contact surfaces look like for the styli I own, and would be very happy if others upload theirs as well. I have a JICO NEO SAS/S on the way and will be imaging it when it arrives, and maybe as it wears.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by jdjohn » 17 Jan 2017 16:51

This thread has some good stylus images and general diamond shape information. viewtopic.php?f=19&t=22894 Ray posted some images on the last two pages of the thread.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 17 Jan 2017 17:17

chiz wrote:aj1969, what make and model scope did you use to take that picture?
I have a cheap USB microscope but have not been able to get an image as good as that.
I'm interested in getting a better one but not the $1000 setup Ray recommends (although Ray, your images are incredible!)
You can do pretty well with an even cheaper system. What I quoted was what I'm using (optical chain anyway) but a more budget system (~$250), which would take nearly as good images as I am showing, would be:

Canon Rebel XS Camera, $100 used on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/201783937038?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

EOS-M42 Adapter, $4 new on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/M42-Lens-to-Can ... Sw3xJVVAZd

M42 Teleconverter, $4 used on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VIVITAR-Vintage ... Sw2xRYSM6D

M42 Extensions, $8 new on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Macro-Extension ... DryT2bR0yQ

M42-RMS adapter, $22.50 new on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/361518879207?ss ... Track=true

Bausch & Lomb 10x Microscope Objective, $20 used on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bausch-Lomb-10x ... SwImpXpNgn

Z-Stage, $55 new on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Z-axis-Precisio ... SwiYFXHrp8

Jansjo LED Lamps, $10 new at IKEA (need 2):
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20169658/

Macro Stand, $15 new on eBay (warning, I have not evaluated this one):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Ball-Head-C ... xyQQRR7qCR

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