I just finished building a six foot tall microscope which resulted in some nice photographs. I guess at six feet tall, it’s not really “micro” any more; it should just be called a “scope”.
A company with a microscope as its logo wanted a giant microscope to bring to trade shows. They wanted the silhouette of the prop to match their logo (which was simply a drawing of the side view) but with some details added to make it look more like a real microscope. One of the challenges was in designing a prop that looked like a real microscope but still resembled the outline of their logo when looked at from the side.
It wanted to be light-weight, so much of the base was lauan facing over 1×4 framing. The curves were made with “wiggle wood” over plywood formers and 1×4 stretchers. This project had a quick turnaround, so I did not attempt any compound or complex curves.
The tube itself was a concrete form for columns; they are commonly called “Sonotube”, though this is simply the most popular brand name for these tubes. This tube was a different brand. The tube was also built to separate from the arm for easier transportation and storage. If the proportions and the angles look strange, it is because it matches the stylization of the logo.
Once everything was constructed, the whole microscope got a skim coat of joint compound to smooth and even it all out.
After the joint compound dried overnight, I sanded it smooth. The divots and fragile parts were refilled with Bondo auto body filler and sanded back down flush.
I added some stage clips on the stage to hold a “slide”. I cut these out of some scrap roofing tin that was laying around, bent them, and attached them between some MDF “screws” I cut out.
The whole microscope was primed and painted gray. Portions were also painted silver; I used Valspar Metallic Spray Paint, which worked really well. A few parts also received some black paint.
The focus knob on this side actually spins in place. It is also attached to the rod which runs through the arm and holds the tube in place. Remove the knob, and you can pull the whole tube off.