Microscope Slide Holders
Melbourne-based Autoscan Systems is the world's leading manufacturer of high-end automated microscope stages, used primarily for the geological technique of fission track dating, and has customers in 28 countries.
Their previous slide holder design utilised metal springs to secure the glass slides for scanning, but the flexibility of the springs affected the vertical positioning of the slides, causing critical focussing issues under the microscope lens.
A collaborative re-design was carried out to incorporate ergonomic sliding buttons in a one-piece aluminium holder which held the slides using the force of embedded rare earth magnets. The single-axis sliding buttons eliminated the vertical deflection of the slides, offering effortless and positive locking and release of the slides. The single-piece holder also minimised production and assembly costs.
3D-printed prototypes reduced costs and accelerated the design development by permitting different button profiles to be tested for ease of use, and also allowed Autoscan's clients to provide feedback before committing to production of the final metal holders.
Autoscan's family of slide holders are currently being updated to the simple new design which is being patented. Specially developed adaptors also enable the new design to fit any microscope brand and model.