Lab Microscope stand as Copy Stand

Hi folks! Building my first Camera scanning rig.

I am a scientist. I can’t help but notice how similar copy stands ($$$$) look to the stands I use in the lab—either for chemistry equipment or for micro-dissection scopes.

Some of these Lab stands are really cheap, and I thought I might give one a try… Just wondered if anyone else had done the same, and if you’d had a good/bad experience.

Here is a url with some examples, if you’re unclear on what I’m referring to or are inspired. :slight_smile:!USD!US%20%2442.99!US%20%2433.53!!!!!%40210318bb16698551736954406edaac!10000015384321740!sh&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa&_randl_shipto=US

Hey there – Welcome to the forum!

I’ve been looking into these in the past too. Two things held me back: (1) the max height of these stands. Depending on your set up (and needs), you may just run out of working height. (2) I had doubts they would be sturdy enough to hold a heavy camera + lens without wobbling.

Hi there! Thank you!

The first point is my primary concern… One thought I had was to set up the lightbox+film (lower) and the camera (higher) on different “tables” such that at minimum, I’d be within a couple inches of where I’d want to be for 35mm. Then, any raising I’d need to do would take advantage of the whole vertical pipe. Not sure that would be enough, but that’s a thought nevertheless… Perhaps one could purchase a taller vertical separately if they have the same diameter and thread.

The second one, given that the weight of dissecting scopes exceeds anything I could put together in terms of camera plus lens I am not worried about.

If I end up going this direction, I’ll post the result :slight_smile:

Thanks for your reply!

Someone on the “Let’s see…” thread uses one here. They’ve had to increase the height by a bracket and then tensioned the weight with a cable, heavyish camera and lens though. Those Chinese stands do look a little flimsy. If you only want to copy 35mm then a decent bellows slide duplication setup (Nikon PB-6 etc.) avoids the need for a stand at all and is easy to set up and store, or possibly the Nikon ES1/ES2 setup. Certain enlargers can be adapted but they’re not particularly cheap either unless you’re lucky enough to come across one on the local marketplace/freecycle.

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Hi, Independently from the technical reasons, how do you feel morally?
Ok, it’s cheap but at which cost socially and ecologically? Forced workers and more then 20 000km of transport !!! As a scientist I hoped better from you. Think about it and have a nice day. Herisson 75

Lol seriously, Charles?

I trust you posted this comment using a locally-sourced and built computer that you bought at your local farmer’s market and power with a tiny little windmill.

Please say hello to your Mom for me when you emerge from her basement later today for your pop-tarts.

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Seriously, Noodleman ,
You always have to begin with little thing that finally build big things. Unfortunately till now, neither Europe nor America have built computers, but things are beginning to change and yes, I resort to electricity provided by wind turbines.

Try to imagine life for you children under Chinese standards !
It’s not too late but it’s high times to react.


Dang. I should have gone with hydroelectric. You win on the wind.

Look—I just don’t understand why you come out of nowhere and pick on this very specific item. If you really look at the modern economy, logistics is everything, and the vast, vast majority of items, whether they be electronics, clothing, I mean, go down the list, are produced either in part or in whole using sweatshop labor in one country or another.

Does it suck? Hell yeah.

So, I do what I can. I drive an electric car (although carbon footprints are very difficult to measure given the fungibility of energy), I recycle, I reuse plastic cups like 20 or thirty times when I get one, I plant things that need minimal water (I live in southern california, where a grass lawn is outrageously wasteful), and when I can, I source things locally. But when it comes to something like a stand, unless I can find someone to fabricate it custom (and pay through the nose for it) the only difference between Ali Baba, Amazon, and a local brick-and-mortar is the middleman. Everything is sub-contracted out to take advantage of developing world labor markets.

The same item for 100 bucks on AliBaba can be found for 200 on Amazon.

As far as my kid and her standard of living, my daughter is adopted. She was was born in Ethiopia. To be honest, she would likely be dead otherwise, as awful as that sounds, and China would be paradise.

Anyway, virtue signal all you like. I’m just here to learn better how to scan some negatives and do so in a way that is affordable. If you’d like, I’ll send you my email address and you and I can argue without disturbing everyone else.

Good day,


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…reading that you are “Building” your rig, I thought that you could actually DIY it to get something like THIS

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Hey—that’s pretty cool! I’m not the best carpenter, but I think I could handle that. Maybe I can sketch something up and ask your opinion?

Thank you!


Feel free to ask at any time :slight_smile:

Another solution might be a stand build from alumimium profiles.
Something like this: Reprostativ V5 kit, 49,99 €

The site is partially in english and lists all parts. The instructions can be found here
(German, but easy enough to understand):

All these items are standarised, so you should be able to find them easily in your area.

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I use it for some time now with my e-m1 and some add ons for setting height. Works great. They also got a heavy duty version with clever height adjustment. Still not too expensive.

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Good to know about this company, here’s the link to the ‘Reprostativ’ page showing the heavier duty option and some accessories:

The heavy duty model seems to weigh 5Kg against just under 2Kg for the cheaper version. Seems to be a very good price compared to the widely available commercial alternatives, not allowing for shipping & taxes of course.

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That thing looks sturdy and if you’re able to mount it well, it should be good enough for most cases. I like the addition for height adjustment, which comes in handy, if you digitize negatives of several formats. Compared to e.g. a Kaiser copy stand, it should remain comparably low priced, even after shipping, taxes etc.

The lighter model has one potential problem: The light panel and the negatives need to be close to the vertical column. This could be a problem if you want to use the stand for larger objects like old photos and such.

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Fortunately I’ve got my Durst stand but if I hadn’t I’d be looking at this heavy duty version, I think it would be well worth the extra cost and that height adjustment is a useful extra. I see that the light version uses 30mm x 30mm section and 3 x 300mm lengths for the base whereas the heavy duty model uses 40mm x 40mm section and the base is 500mm wide, but again only 300mm for the ‘feet’, both are 800mm high. If I had been ordering one I think I’d look into getting 400mm feet instead if that was possible.

There’s an extraordinary range of components for other possible projects on there as well.

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Just saw Dold added height adjustment for the small version. Ordered. Perfect for my needs with a kaiser light plate that perfectly fits the base.


Aha! This is the best of both worlds for me, I think!

As it so happens, I’m already working on an ultra-large format camera from identical stock (aluminum extruded profiles). Thus, I think I’d feel more comfortable working with this (vs wood). Great suggestions @cvandebroek @Digitizer @Harry @jherbert and thank you!


So this is how the Dold heigth adjustment looks with a focusing rail attached.


Thank you for sharing this @cvandebroek! Inpired by these plans I decided to construct my own DIY copy stand using 2020 aluminum extrusion sourced online in standard lengths. It is vastly superior to the experience of using an inverted tripod and more compact as a setup making desktop scanning easier. I have paired it with a worm screw based macro adjustment stage which has made getting sharp focus on the grain of each frame much more consistent a process than was possible previously through manual adjustments with the lens.