How to use a traveling microscope

Written by tzvi raphael
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How to use a traveling microscope
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

A travelling microscope is used to measure small items, distance and diameters more accurately than you could with manually-controlled instruments or the naked eye. These devices are often used in research and university laboratories. Although a travelling microscope needs to be calibrated frequently to assure an accurate reading, it is still often the most reliable source of measurement. Travelling microscopes are simple to learn about and use, and can add a special enjoyment when teaching children new to science.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Set the item you want to inspect onto the stage on the base of the microscope. Use the specimen sheets included with your model if available.

  2. 2

    Slide the microscope along the internal guiderail to make a rough adjustment of the device. Look through the eyepiece as you move it so you know when to stop adjusting.

  3. 3

    Tighten or loosen the screw head on the top of the sliding mechanism of the microscope to make very fine adjustments to the focus of the eyepiece.

  4. 4

    Look through the eyepiece and observe the specimen you want to inspect. Turn the slow motion knobs on the base of the microscope to capture and take readings of the specimen’s properties.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use a microscope as a fun way to introduce children to science and experimenting.
  • Do not leave specimens in the microscope stage once you are finished inspecting them.

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