Inexpensive Magnifying Inspection Tools

For decades screenprinters have used a 5 to 10 power folding loupe for inspecting and analyzing their prints, the quality of the stencil, the edge definition of the print, the surface of the ink deposit, registration and other details that need magnification. The loupe was found in the pocket of every screenmaker and press operator that truly cared about the quality of the process.

folding-loupeThey are available in a wide variety of styles and materials from inexpensive plastic models with plastic lenses up to solid brass with the highly preferred glass lens. They are so highly coveted that many companies have them engraved with the individual’s name and present them to every new employee. ($9.99 on Amazon). I own all the devices in this article and in fact several of most of them.

If you have a need to magnify at higher resolutions there are other ways to magnifying and assure higher quality, such as:

 

pocket loupe Lighted Pocket Loupes are available in 30 to 40 power. These units are among the smallest magnification devices and fold up to protect the lens. They can easily fit in a pocket. ($13.99 on Amazon).
Illuminating Pocket Microscope, with capabilities of 20 to 400 power. They are available with both glass and plastic lenses, with glass being highly preferred for detail. Some, like the one shown here came with a slide adapter and a Universal Smartphone Digiscoping Adapter Clip that allows you to take pictures and video of your images and share them ($17.69 on Amazon).
usb-microscope USB Microscopes, with capabilities of up to 1,000x and more, and with prices of less than $30 USD. There are a multitude of units available in a wide range of quality. You should consider looking for a unit with glass lenses versus plastic. The one shown works on both Mac and Windows ($19.98 on Amazon).
iphone-lens You can actually use your iPhone to get some great views and take photos. I took the photo below of a jersey knit T-shirt with the clip-on macro lens that fits on my iPhone. The set includes a macro lens, a telephoto lens, and a wide-angle lens, plus the clip and drawstring bag for storage. To my surprise the lenses are glass, not plastic and each comes with a lens cap to keep them clean. I paid the equivalent of USD$5.29 at the local Technology Center here in Cuernavaca.

closeup-of-jersey-material

 



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