Jewelers Loupe usage tips

Discussion in 'Machining with Disabilities' started by GailInNM, Aug 21, 2018.

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  1. Aug 21, 2018 #1

    GailInNM

    GailInNM

    GailInNM

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    I have been using loupes for about 60 years. When I was a young man it was as a aid to building small parts, but now I am legally blind they are a part of my daily life as well as in the shop.

    Firs t tip. When setting a loupe down ALWAYS place it with the lens up. First reason is for safety so it does not collect chips and other debris inside which you can dump into your eye when you next use it. That can ruin your whole day. Second, it keeps the inside clean and it is much easier to clean the outside of the lens of oil vapors and spray that ocure in the shop. This not a natural action so you have to train yourself until it is automatic.

    Many people have trouble keeping the loupe in thier eye. I never did have a problem until I had a stroke about a dozen years ago and the facial muscles don't work as well as they used to. So here a few tricks that help.

    Wash your face or a least wipe the area around the eye with a clean paper towel or tissue. The face is an oily place and this makes the loupe more likely to slip. And while you are at it wipe the edge of the loupe to remove any accumulated oil.

    Most loupes have a very smooth molded surface. which makes them slippery. If you roughen the edge of the loupe where the skin grips it it will help a lot. I just wrap a piece of abrasive paper of 220 or 320 grit around the edge and rotate the loupe 2 or 3 times. It does not take much.

    Finally a rosin bag of the type that weight lifters use to improve their grip is quite helpful. Mine is about 2 x 4 inches and a 1/4 inch thick. I put it in a plastic box with a lift off top to keep it clean. I occasionally give the box a shake so powder is on the surface of the pad. I just touch the edge of the loupe to to the surface of the pad.

    Gail in NM
    upload_2018-8-21_5-5-9.jpeg
     
  2. Aug 21, 2018 #2

    goldstar31

    goldstar31

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    Greetings Gaill

    Might I sympathise but go on to report that at 88 years, I have macular degeneration in both eyes- one wet and one dry.
    I've used a folding loupe which clipped onto the frame of my specs but 'alas', I need something better.

    I have no doubt that other sufferers here could be delighted if you- or others- know of some help.

    I'm in the stage of having a hypodermic needle stuck in my eyeball in the better eye---yukk!

    Kind regards

    Norman
     
  3. Aug 21, 2018 #3

    DJP

    DJP

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    The quality of the lens in my inexpensive loupes is poor so that depth of field is shallow making only the centre most portion of the image in focus. I am curious if loupes come with a stop down iris to improve depth of field which would then require additional lighting.

    Sometimes two pairs of reading glasses worn at the same time works well enough but a loupe seems only useful for repairing an iPhone or digital camera. I can't see using it at the Bridgeport or Myford but I am willing to learn.
     
  4. Aug 21, 2018 #4

    goldstar31

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    I have a pair of surgeons binoculars so no problem with quality but presumably for people like me, centre most part of the image is a blur.

    Having said all that, my sight for driving is OK until my 91st birthday. Then, presumably someone will walk in front of my little car with a red flag:eek:

    I finally gave in to these cheap supermarket cameras and bought something with a screen as well as a view finder.

    I might even try to post pictures:confused:. The last miracle came out of the East and I missed that one!

    Norm
     
  5. Aug 22, 2018 #5

    Henry

    Henry

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  6. Aug 23, 2018 #6

    GailInNM

    GailInNM

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    Norm,
    You and I both hit the jackpot. With two main flavors of AMD, you and I both got one of each. Mine started a bit over a dozen years ago. Mine was fairly well under control and then I had a stroke and was unable to receiver treatment while I was in rehab learning to walk, talk and scratch my nose. Since then the loss of vision has been slow but steady. In December it reached the point of being legally blind, which, in the US, is vision being less than 20/400 in the best eye best correction applied. Of course driving a car is only a distant memory. I have a good fast mobility scooter so can still get to the grocery store a few miles away.

    The eye injections are unpleasant but get easier with time. I have had over 60 injections so now they are quite routine. Research on RPE and stem cell implants show promise of stopping progress of AMD and in some cases reversing some of the damage it causes. The NHS in GB is probably the leader in this research but is doubtful that it will reach the point of helping either of us.

    DJP,
    The depth of field is going to be affected by the total lens system, which in this case will be both the loupe and the eye. As you reduce the aperture of the loupe I think that the eye aperture will increase because of the reduced light. It may be that you can compensate with increased light and gain some. Why don't you try by punching a hole int a piece of black cardboard and inserting it in the loupe. If you do let us know the results.

    In addition to loupes, I use a pocket magnifier glass at the machine tools. I need at least 2 power to see the index lines and 3x to read the numbers on the dials. Touching off a tool is a real problem. I blue the part with a marker to increase the contrast when a running tool touches, but I normally have to use a 5x loupe to see the tool touch off point. I also use a thickness gauge to preset the tool to a fixed distance from the part. My 6 inch machinist scales are all about 0.025 thickness and I keep one at each machine tool.

    Gail in NM
     
  7. Aug 23, 2018 #7

    Cymro77

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    I feel sorry for you guys with vision problems - but reading your comments was uplifting! I thought I was the only one with vision problems on this site! I have had increasing problems with vision despite surgery, cataract extraction etc. My problems are mainly with focus now. I carry multiple eye glasses for differing distances. In the shop I use a headset as used by dentists, with a built in high intensity focusable light. Not cheap but worth every penny. The lenses are replaceable and can be obtained in varying magnifications. Can even be worn with my bifocals to increase magnification.
     
  8. Aug 23, 2018 #8

    goldstar31

    goldstar31

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    Of course, cataracts preceded the Muscular degeneration but I'm deaf- as a result of aircraft noise and getting rid of sweating ammo and then living alone now. I'm not moaning because my brain is as good as it ever was and it means that I can still be useful in charitable matters. I can still add up to 20 if I take my sox off:mad:
    One of the difficulties is with parallax and your comments are invaluable.

    Thank you

    Norm
     
  9. Aug 24, 2018 #9

    davidyat

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    I wonder if my loupe is unique. Mine has a circular spring steel wire that is attached to the loupe. I just open the spring steel and wrap it around my head. I don't have to squint to keep the loupe in my eye. Don't know if they're still available, but I really like my loupe.
     
  10. Aug 25, 2018 #10

    DJP

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    I punched a clean hole in a piece of plastic electrical tape and stuck it on the loupe lens to create a smaller aperture. Viewing a scale proved that depth of field improved but more light was required on the subject and the image was smaller unless the loupe was held a few inches from my face. In general I would say this isn't a solution. It would be better to invest of an higher quality loupe with a better lens. I'll keep my loupes for small electronic/camera repair projects and for the machine shop stronger reading glasses that flip up and are retained using a head band would be better.

    For touching a cutting tool to a work piece a friend showed my a trick of using a slice of aluminium from a soda can as a spacer. The tool will be a fixed distance away from the work and it will not mar the surface in order to set a zero DRO reading. In a production shop these little tricks pay off but for my projects I let the cutter touch the work piece. I probably should spend more time making precision techniques part of my regular use of the mill or lathe.
     
  11. Aug 25, 2018 #11

    goldstar31

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    Intriguing as it sounds, according to my eye man, there is two problems. One of which is that there is wet degeneration in one eye whilst the other is dry. So one eye is rather like a worn carpet- so the guy says- and nothing can be dome to improve -the worn bit in the middle. It's blind-- end of story. The other side of things is a something torn which can be slightly improved with injections into the eye ball. Quite an unpleasant thing which leaves me temporarily blind and the last time with black spots before my eyes. I was quite sober- for once:rolleyes:
    During one of the tests- for the eligibility to drive- or not, is to look at bright spots and press a trigger when a dot appears9 or doesn't . as such the Government driving test can plot what can be seen- and what cannot.
    Happily, I passed the minimum requirements.

    I'm certainly not whingeing or whatever but merely describing what went on for me. With being an very aged widower, deaf and having COPD, life can be challenging----- to say the least!

    At least some of you will have some idea for when their time comes.

    Thank you for the use of your forum for this

    Norm
     
  12. Aug 26, 2018 #12

    Wizard69

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    There are companies that specialize in optical components and tools that may be of use for you. There is an amazing array of loupes and other low power magnification devices out there. A couple of retailers: https://www.edmundoptics.com/, http://surgitel.com/loupes, https://www.magnifier.com/, https://www.zeiss.com/, and a whole bunch of others. The big problem is this stuff gets expensive fast!!!

    Other ideas for various magnification needs:
    1. Grab old cameras from the thrift store, especially those with removable lenses. Those lenses can often be used as magnifiers as is or with modification. For awhile anyways there was a steady steam of old 35mm cameras that nobody wanted and could be had for a song sometime for free.
    2. Leverage your cell phone. Here I'm talking about taking pictures of small stuff or hard to see stuff that will end up looking much bigger on the phone screen. Most phones offer zooming in on an image in the photo viewer app. I use my cell phone often, at work, as an aid to read labels on parts that are either small or out of direct sight. If you have a smart phone this is a no cost way to make things easier to read. You do need a steady hand and a camera that will focus closely.
    3. You could also use the cell phone in video mode to view things in real time. However this doesn't seem to be as smooth as other methods of video use.
    4. USB cameras popular with cam girls are also useful if you have a PC in the shop. Some are so cheap that you can leave them installed on the machine.
    5. In the old days we ran analog video cameras to analog video monitors. This for production work on extremely small parts. These days there are many digital replacements for the analog video out.
    6. Buying new isn't always the right move. Places like: https://www.surplusshed.com/, offer a wide array of optical components that might be available at a decent discount.

    In any event I hope one of these ideas help somebody. I also know the feeling of aging eyesight and other things not working right. Keeping these ideas in circulation may very well help somebody out.
     
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  13. Aug 26, 2018 #13

    goldstar31

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    Thanks! I've been getting better enlargement with my Iphone than my Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ82.

    Now to move on to see what my old Samsung does. My workshop is NOT the cleanest of environments and if I mess it up- so what?

    W69== I'm sort of ticking boxes in your comments to see if they work for me

    Again, thanks

    N
     
  14. Aug 26, 2018 #14

    BaronJ

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    Hi Guys,

    Yes I'm slowly getting to that stage, developing cataracts, left eye is worse. I'm told that it could be a few years before they might be ready to be removed. I now have to wear spectacles for the computer and most close work.

    I do have a "Optivisor" but I find that they get in the way more often than not.

    Isn't fun growing old !!!
     
  15. Aug 26, 2018 #15

    goldstar31

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    Having cataracts removed is quite a revelation - next day. It's BRILLIANT

    N
     
  16. Aug 26, 2018 #16

    Tony Bird

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    Hi David,

    I wonder if my loupe is unique. Mine has a circular spring steel wire that is attached to the loupe. I just open the spring steel and wrap it around my head. I don't have to squint to keep the loupe in my eye. Don't know if they're still available, but I really like my loupe.

    Alas no. Working in the watch/clock/jewellery trade I used an eye glass held by a steel wire around my head it was very comfortable either when over my eye or out of use on my fore head. It was in common use in Swiss watch factories when I worked there in the late 1960's. They were so comfortable I remember driving home and wondering why people were looking at me and it was only when I got home and my wife said you are still wearing your eye-glass did I find out why.

    I used the wire loop and free eye-glasses until I had to wear glasses when I tried virtually every form of eye-glass that fitted to glasses and eventually ended up using the Swiss ARY version which I found the best but unfortunately the most expensive but if you have to use them six hours in a day this wasn't too much of a consideration.

    Regards Tony.
     
  17. Aug 27, 2018 #17

    goldstar31

    goldstar31

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    I had difficulty- or impossibility to read the tiny print in a friend's catalogue. My IPhone had improved things earlier but it was useless with the print. Like most oof us, he's somewhat disabled and so is his wife so he's familiar with problems. His solution was to go back to an Android and get an app called Magnifier.

    I can't wait!

    Regards

    N
     

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