Main Content

The ROTAforMI: a RObotic TAble for Microscopy

The ROTAforMI is a versatile robotic device for controlling the position and orientation of a microscope slide using four degrees of freedom. This prototype is a complementary development of the idea behind the Roto-microscope project. It was inspired by related projects of servo motors-controlled micromanipulators and 3D micro scanners.

The device is entirely 3D printed and is actioned by four small servos controlled by one Arduino Nano microcontroller. The device can be controlled manually using two micro joysticks (and possibly also automatically via a programmed sequence of movements). In addition, a Bluetooth remote can take snapshots with a smartphone’s camera.

For this project, you need:


- 3D printer. All the parts have been printed using PLA filaments. We have used a resolution of up to 0.3 mm to speed up the printing of the main body and the microscope table support. We have used Creality Ender 5 Pro for this project.
- An Arduino Nano + Expansion board. An Arduino nano with the expansion board and LCD as in our previous project (e.g. The Sand slicer).
- Five SG90-9G Micro servo motors. Four are used for moving the platforms, and one is to press the Bluetooth remote button to take pictures from the smartphone.
- An LCD Screen 1602A shield. We used it as we wanted to try this shield as it t has a convenient keypad integrated with the LCD.
- Two joystick modules:For manual control of the ROTAforMI positions.
- Connecting cables.
- A support platform for electronics. See the one in our previous The Sand slicer project.
- A Bluetooth shutter. A simple one-button shutter to control the camera on the camera smartphone.
- Two ABEC-9 608Z bearings.
- Superglue.
- A power bank battery.
- Microscope slides (62x20 mm).
- Two machine screws (4x80 mm).
- 2 M4 nuts.”

Link to article