We now have a set of updated drivers available for customers who have purchased the MI-DC1300, MI-DC3000 or MI-DC5000 digital cameras. These drivers provide much greater control over white balance and image color and they allow you to correct any 'hot' pixels.
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your camera, or would like to update your drivers to the most current version, please contact customer service at 1-800-860-6272 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The shelf life on chemicals and biological stains is typically several years to indefinitely. Shelf life is dependent on storage conditions so we cannot provide more specific guidance nor can we guarantee shelf life. If you have doubts about a particular chemical or stain, we suggest testing it by performing the critical part of your experiment in advance.
We carry the following biological stains:
All of our microscope slides are professional-quality and are handmade and hand-stained (usually with multiple stains, so you can see different tissue types and cell details more clearly).
In most cases the specimens are arranged on the slide to demonstrate the highest level of tissue or specimen detail without you having to scan the slide. See our paramecium slide for an example - it shows three stages of fission in a single field of view at 100x.
In addition, specimens are hand-selected so that you get only the best representatives, not ones that are missing important parts.
No, we do not sell any microscopes with a magnification above 1000x. The maximum resolving power of a compound light microscope limits magnification to about 1500x. However, the optical quality and specialized illumination system required to produce reasonable resolution above 1000x is available only in the highest quality compound microscopes with prices starting above $2000. While some manufacturers of less expensive microscopes will provide 15x or 16x eyepieces with their microscope and claim 1500x or 1600x magnification, the resolution is inadequate at these magnifications. All of our microscopes are designed for educational or laboratory work with good resolution at a maximum magnification of 1000x. We do not sell higher magnification eyepieces to push our microscopes beyond the intent of design and function.
Open your microtome as wide as it can go by turning the round screw dial on the side. You can see the clamp open or close by looking into the big hole on the black end. Put the specimen you are wanting to view into the hole, (example a carrot), and slide it in until it hits the bottom. Screw the round dial to tighten it against the specimen to hold it secure inside the microtome. Take your razor and slice off any excess specimen by cutting against the black bottom. Now the specimen is flush with the black surface. Turn the back knob of the microtome, which will push out the specimen inside the microtome, to your desired thickness. Take the razor blade and cut again, just like before, to get a thin cross section of your specimen. Take the thin slice and put on your slide and it is ready for viewing. You can easily make thinner or thicker slices by adjusting the back knob.
You will probably want to squeeze 1-2 drops of water over the specimen section to make a 'wet mount' slide, and the cover it with a slide coverslip.
The high-quality prepared microscope slides we offer have been carefully made to give long service. We recommend the following to protect your slide investment:
Never exert pressure on the coverslip. The resins used in attaching the coverslip remain semi-fluid, hardening only at the edge. Vertical pressure can crush the specimen and break the coverslip. Lateral pressure can dislodge the coverslip. Use extreme care in cleaning your slides.
Store slides in a dark, cool place in a horizontal position. Some whole mounts contain specimens so small that the specimens can drift to the edge of the coverslip if stored vertically. Also, slides stored vertically in a warm room can leak resin from beneath the coverslip. The stains used are nearly permanent and demonstrate little fading after 20 years if stored properly. However, slides left exposed to sunlight or excessively hot lights can fade quickly.
Quality prepared microscope slides are expensive items. Treat them with care and they will serve you many years.
To clean plain glass slides, use soap and water.
Stereo microscopes are best used to view whole objects at low power. For young children it is possible to see some amount of detail on a prepared slide using a stereo microscope, but the low power and lack of fine focus make it insufficient for more advanced studies in life science or biology. For high school it is necessary to have a compound (high power) microscope.
We do occasionally sell slightly used microscopes that were returned to us. If any are available, they will be listed in our Sale category at a discounted price.
If you are looking for a less expensive option than buying your own new microscope, we recommend that you check with a local homeschool group or private school. Sometimes they have used microscopes for sale. Also, other homeschoolers might be interested in sharing a microscope (including the costs).
First, the pair of stage clips must be removed before you can install the mechanical stage. The stage clip screws are torqued in tightly. You will need to use a Phillips screwdriver with a #2 tip to remove them. Be careful to not strip the screw heads.
The mechanical stage attaches to the other three holes (located between the holes for the stage clips) predrilled in the microscope stage. There is only one way the stage will fit these three holes. The two pins on the bottom of the mechanical stage fit into the smaller holes on each side of the threaded center hole. Align the mechanical stage pins with these two holes and seat it firmly against the microscope stage.
Finally, secure the mechanical stage to the microscope stage by tightening the setscrew located in the center of the stage. This setscrew attaches to the threaded third hole in the microscope stage. You need to tighten the setscrew securely to keep the mechanical stage from moving on the microscope stage.
That's really all there is to it! This can be done in less than five minutes.
How should I clean the optics on my microscope?
Use a spray lens cleaning solution and lens cleaning tissue to keep the optics on your microscope free from smudges. Spray solution on the tissue paper and gently wipe the ends of the objective lenses and eyepiece. You can also use eyeglass cleaner or our complete Microscope Cleaning Kit. Clean microscope slides in the same way. (For plain slides that you want to reuse, you can wash with soap and water.)
What is the black line I see when I look through my microscope eyepiece?
Some of our high-power microscopes come with a built-in pointer so that a person viewing a slide can easily direct someone else where to look for a specific feature. This pointer appears as a black line across half of the field of view. To move the pointer, just turn the top of the eyepiece.
I can't find the serial number on my Advanced microscope. Where is it located?
The serial number is on the stage stop--the small bar between the stage and the arm of the microscope--on the side that faces the stage.
The best stain to use for a squamous epithelium smear is methylene blue, which stains the acidic parts of a cell (like the nucleus) in animal, plant, and blood specimens.
To make your own squamous epithelium slide, you'll need a plain microscope slide, coverslip, toothpick, and methylene blue. Use the toothpick to gently scrape along the inside of your cheek. Smear the collected cells over the middle of the slide and let it air dry, then add a drop of the stain and cover with a coverslip. Scan under low power on your microscope to locate the cells, then observe more closely under high power.
For most families, our Home Microscope is the best option. We have specifically designed it to meet the needs of homeschools or families who just want a good microscope for their kids. It has a great low price, is easy to use, and has quality optics that produce clear images suitable for high school level work. If you have a limited budget and only want to make one microscope purchase, the Home Microscope is an excellent choice.
Our microscopes are all made in China. Virtually all educational microscopes we know of are made in China or India because of the low cost of labor. In one or two cases the parts are made in China and the microscopes are assembled in the US or another country. The Indian microscopes are usually of inferior quality.
The National Optical and Home Science Tools microscopes we carry are made in factories in China that US companies have worked closely with for many years. These modern factories follow good labor practices and provide crucial employment and livelihood for hundreds of Chinese people, including Chinese Christians. There is no prison labor in free factories like these.
Boycotting Chinese products is promoted by some groups in order to pressure the Chinese government to correct human rights abuses, especially using prison labor in factories. Unfortunately, this type of boycott is ineffective and unjust to the people of China. The Chinese people, including the millions of Chinese Christians, are the ones that suffer when products are boycotted and factories cut back or are closed. A US product boycott by itself will never put enough pressure on the Chinese government to change their human rights abuses because the global market for Chinese products is so huge. All it does is hurt individual families who may loose or never get employment. Sustained economic growth in China is a good thing for expanding the gospel and obtaining additional freedom for our Chinese brothers.
The microscopes we sell are a great value, combining excellent quality with affordable prices. Frank Schaner, founder and president of Home Science Tools, has decades of experience evaluating microscopes to make sure we provide our customers with the best microscopes for the money. Over the years he has carefully examined dozens of microscope models from competing manufacturers. In the process, he found that the optical quality, mechanical operation, finish, and cleanliness of National Optical microscopes were superior to comparable microscopes with similar specifications.
Frank has also carefully developed specifications with select factories in China for our own Home Science Tools line of microscopes, which, like National Optical models, meet high standards for optical quality and mechanical reliability - yet at lower prices. While it is possible to find cheaper microscopes, we are confident that you won't find a better-quality microscope for your money.
Each of our microscopes meets rigorous quality assurance requirements and three levels of inspection. At the factory each microscope undergoes an internal inspection. Then, before shipment to the US, it is unpacked and checked a second time by an independent inspector. Finally, upon arrival at our warehouse, each microscope is unpacked again and carefully inspected and adjusted by a qualified technician. This level of quality assurance means that your microscope will function perfectly right out of the box.
In addition to low prices and great quality, we also provide knowledgeable customer service and extensive online articles and resources to help you enjoy learning with your microscope for many years.
If you are not 100% satisfied with your microscope purchase from us, you're welcome to return it with our 90-day Return Policy!
The abbreviations after the name of the slide indicate the type of mount.
w.m. stands for "whole mount," meaning that the entire specimen was placed on the slide.
c.s. stands for "cross section," meaning that a small cross section of the specimen was sliced off and placed on the slide.
l.s. stands for "longitudinal section," meaning that the specimen was cut lengthwise and placed on the side.
See our selection of microscope prepared slides to find the slides you need!
Yes! You can save an additional 5% off our already low microscope prices by getting a friend to buy one at the same time. Buy two or more microscopes at the same time and save 5%. To receive this discount, microscopes must be on one order, placed at one time, shipped to one address at the same time, and paid with one payment method.
A mechanical stage is a helpful tool that provides precise slide movement, allowing you to easily scan your slide and see the whole specimen thoroughly. While this item is not necessary, it makes slide viewing much easier and will probably give you the best experience using your microscope.
High power or compound microscopes are designed for viewing microscope slides containing cells and other microscopic specimens. Low power stereo microscopes are built for examining whole objects such as bugs, flowers, shells, etc. Very few curricula will call for a low power microscope, while almost all life science and biology studies require a high power microscope. Low power microscopes, however, are often very helpful for young children to examine the world around them.
Please read our How to Select a Microscope Teaching Tip for more information about individual microscopes.