GIGAmacro Magnify2 and Control Box

User Guide: Installation & Setup

Published by: GIGAmacro, 455 Technology Way, Napa, CA 94558, USA +1 415 841 3322 (Pacific time zone)

Author: Graham Bird
Suggestions, improvements and updates to: <[email protected]>
Version: 2.0, Version Date: 2017-10-19

Tips and hints are indicated like this.
Warnings are indicated like this.
Critical or important items are indicated like this.

Welcome to your new GIGAmacro Magnify2 system!

Congratulations! Within an hour or so you will have set up and be running the most advanced gigapixel macro imaging system available today.

Your system will ship in a number of separate components, depending on the exact configuration and options that you ordered. We may also schedule the glass scanning table for separate delivery from a local supplier, to avoid damage in transit.

You will receive a large crate for the Magnify2 robotic system; there will also be a capture/processing computer, an LCD screen, camera and lens options and the Magnify2 control box.

You will need plenty of space to unpack and a large desktop area to set up your Magnify2 system. You will need help to lift and move the larger items.

Your system is preconfigured with the software already setup on the computer and camera and computer settings completed.

The principle we adopt is to prevent the computer or camera from being interrupted, eliminating “sleeping” or “hibernating”, restarting, operating system updates, etc. - while the system is running photo capture. Though Windows 10 does not allow you to prevent updates, the system should notify you before any updates are applied. This should allow you to apply the updates after your Project has completed.

All of the GIGAmacro software, user guides, receipts and licenses are located in the appropriately named folder in the C:/GIGAmacro directory of your computer. Other software is installed in the default location for the application, with an icon in the System bar of your computer.

Uncrating your System

Your system will arrive in a number of packages. The large wooden crate contains the rig and needs special attention to unpack.

shipping crate

Please check that the shock markers are intact. If they indicate that the crate has been mishandled, or there is any apparent damage, please take photographs and email them to us.

The securing screws on the side of the crate are marked RED, these should be removed and the lid will then lift off.

shipping crate interior view

Remove the 12 nuts holding the wooden securing straps and lift off the straps. You will then be able to lift the rig out of the crate (this requires two people) and place it on a convenient surface.

rig removed from shipping crate

Carefully remove all packing materials

Ensure that there are no bolts, or small items wrapped in any of the packing materials before you dispose of them.

Checking Your Shipment

Unpack and identify all items.

typical camera equipment

Camera, lens(es), flash and any optional equipment: (you may not have everything in the photo, or you may have additional items, depending on the options ordered).

si 002a TIP: The Magnify2 may have the optional backlight flash system installed, in the area shown by the red arrows, above.

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The Magnify2 (top picture) and the Magnify2 Control Box (bottom picture):

The computer and LCD screen.

This will usually be a small desktop computer (and, depending on options ordered, may include a second processing computer.)

You will also have a small toolset, comprising Allen keys, a wrench and other tools which are required to remove or install the shipping locks and secure the gantry in its vertical position, and set up the Magnify2.

Camera and Lenses Put the camera equipment and computer equipment to one side, out of the way until needed.

Setting Up the Magnify2 Rig

Place the Magnify2 rig on the working surface (you will need to be able to work at the front, sides and back during setup). Note the orientation, with the arms and gantry folded towards the back in shipping configuration.

You will need help to lift the Magnify2 out of the crate.

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Removing Shipping Locks

Locate the tool set and identify the shipping locks, one at each side, at the back of the unit.

(the views below are from the back of the rig).

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Each shipping lock has THREE RED DOTS, each beside a bolt that needs to be loosened.

ONLY LOOSEN bolts that have a red dot. All other bolts should be left untouched

Locate the appropriate sized Allen key and loosen each bolt that has a red dot; do NOT remove the bolt, it is only necessary to rotate the bolt a half to three quarters of a turn. Once the bolts are loosened, hold the shipping lock and gently shake it, and the securing lugs should release from the frame leaving you holding the lock.

Repeat the process for the shipping lock on the other side of the rig.

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Erect the Gantry

From the front of the Magnify2, locate the bolt on the left arm pivot and using the appropriate Allen key and wrench, slightly loosen the bolt. Do the same for the matching bolt on the right pivot arm.

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Once both bolts are loose, gently raise the arms and gantry to the vertical position:

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Once the gantry is vertical, tighten the left and right bolts to secure it in the upright position. Add a second bolt, as per the photos below (shipped attached to the Magnify2 frame, look for a plastic bag secured with tape holding the bolts and nuts) to each pivot arm.

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The Magnify2 frame should now be set up. One final detail is that on the left pivot arm is a small clip that secures the cable powering the back-light flash. Use the appropriate sized Allen key to secure the clip, containing the cable, to the pivot arm. Ensure that the cable runs along the side, and not the face, of the pivot arm.

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Camera, Lens and Flash

You are now ready for the camera and flash equipment. The camera, lens and flash are assembled, secured to the arm assembly and the complete arm assembly is then attached to the slides on the front of the gantry.

Attach the lens to the camera (the standard system is a Canon TNi with the MPE-65 macro lens, shown below).

Ensure that the power adapter is installed in the camera with the power cord emerging from the battery compartment. Make sure that the LCD screen is rotated (on cameras such as the TNi) so that the screen is viewable.

Locate the arm assembly.

The camera is secured to the slide by a screw, and you will need a small coin, (a quarter will do), to tighten the screw. The camera back and LCD should rest firmly against the block on the slide when the camera is correctly mounted.

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Locate the camera flash system. Check that the flash control unit has the power supply installed and that the external power cord is coming from the battery pack cover.

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Attach the flash control unit to the camera and gently tighten the securing ring.

Attach the flash heads to the mount screws on the end of the arms (see arrows, below) and tighten finger tight.

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Mount the Camera and Arm Assembly

The whole camera, flash, and arm assembly is now mounted onto the Magnify2 by sliding the camera plate into the receiving plate(s) on the Z axis, from below.

Drive the rig high enough on the Z axis to give yourself plenty of clearance to maneuver the arm assembly. Fold the Magic Arms and flash head close to the arms during mounting.

Ensure that the unit slides high enough to engage the safety pin (press the pin to release the assembly when lowering or removing it). This ensures the unit cannot drop out, even when the locking lever is loosened. Rotate the locking lever to secure the arm assembly in the desired position.

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The arm assembly slides UP into the receiving plate(s), and can be secured to the upper or lower plates or straddling both plates. Ensure that when the arm straddles the plates both locking levers are tightened.

Control Box Connections

The Control Box can be located either to the left or to the right of the Magnify2 rig, or underneath the desk if preferred.

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The Control Box should be located in a position that is convenient for quick access to the power switch (the flip switch on the left) and the Motor Rapid Stop button (red, on the right of the Control Box.)

Be cautious of floor placement: do not place the Control Box where it is possible to kick or knock the power buttons.

Connecting Cables & Computer to the Rig.

NEVER connect or disconnect any cables when the Control Box is powered ON. Disconnect the power connector before making, or undoing, any connections.

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Each of the cables from the Magnify2 Rig will be connected to the Control Box. You will see that each Control Box connector is color coded; note that some connectors have two colored bands, some have one. Each cable has a identical coding at the end of the cable by the connector. Connect each in turn and secure with the screw locks.

You will have three cables which are not yet connected; the 2.5mm plug is unmarked and connects to the unmarked 2.5mm socket on the back of the Control Box.

When completed, the back of the Control Box should look like the illustration below.

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Now plug the Control Box power cord into an outlet.

Place the computer and monitor in a convenient location and connect the power cord, the network connection, and the connector between the computer and the LCD display. Connect the keyboard and mouse. Connect the power cord for the LCD display and power up the system. Confirm that the computer is working, has internet connectivity etc.

Now connect the Magnify2 system to the computer. Find the USB cables in the cable bundle (there will be two, one is a spare for future use), and connect them both to USB ports on the back of the computer.

Note the colored tag on the end of the USB cable you will need to connect the camera to the other end of the same cable on the gantry.

Find the separate USB B-type cable with a square connector on one end and a regular USB connector at the other. Connect the square end to the Control Box and the other end to a USB input on the back of the computer.

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Camera & Flash Connections

Now for the camera and flash connections. At the front of the Magnify2, (note: the camera arm assembly is omitted for clarity), connect the flash and camera power supplies. These are color coded in a similar manner to the other cables.

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Check the power cable is connected to the MT-24 Flash unit, and attach the flash to the top of the camera. Check that the remote trigger cable is connected to the camera.

Locate the camera mini-USB to USB connector and plug it into the USB cable that you earlier connected to the computer (one USB cable is a spare, check the color of the tag on the back of the USB cable in the computer if you are unsure which one it is). Plug the other end into the Plug the other end into the mini-usb port on the camera.
 The 2.5mm Remote Connector cable plugs into a camera specific connector or cable. Connect the 2.5mm jack to the appropriate adapter/cable for your camera - the default configuration Canon TNi uses a sub-mini plug - and connect that to the Remote socket on the camera.

Double check all connectors and fastenings.

Check power cables and connections.

Once you are confident that all fastenings are secure, and cables are correctly connected, you may power up the computer.

Power up the Control Box using the flip switch on the left side. Ensure the camera and flash unit are switched on and have power.

Date: 2017-10-19

Computer Settings

On the computer, in the Taskbar, locate the icon for DSLR Remote Pro and double-click it. You should see that DSL Remote Pro shows that it is connected to the camera, and displays the camera settings urn on the live view window.
 Locate the icon (on the desktop, lower left corner above the start logo) for GIGAmacro Capture and double-click to start the program. I like to organize the layout of all the windows to my personal preference, the layout should be "sticky".

You should now have two programs running, DSLR Remote Pro (which shows “Connected” and the camera data) and GIGAmacro Capture. In the latter, you should now be able to use the mouse to press the “Left”, “Right”, “Top”, “Bottom”, “High” and “Low” Motor Control Buttons to drive the Magnify2 in each of the six axes of movement. If you do not have movement, check out the Troubleshooting appendix.

Locate the laminated glass scanning table, ensure that it is clean and undamaged. The glass may have been shipped to you separately. Again, this is a task that is easier with two people: carefully lower the glass into position and, if necessary, adjust the side buffer stops so that the glass is both square with the frame and held in place by the buffers. If you need to adjust the buffers DO NOT turn the rubber buffer; instead use a wrench to carefully adjust the nut behind the buffer. There are four rubber buffer adjustment points, one close to each corner, and one in the middle of each side of the Y axis.

Leveling and Scanning Table True-up

It is important that the gantry is truly vertical and that the scanning table is orthogonal to the camera & lens.

This whole process is easier and quicker with two people.

You will need a level (if you don’t have on, a phone and a spirit level app will do), the supplied wrenches, Allen keys and something thin and flat - we use a nice thin mousepad or an optical target - that has an image on it that can be brought into sharp focus. If all else fails, a piece of paper with a mark such as a cross in a circle works just as well!

The first step is to ensure that the gantry is vertical. In order to do so, ensure that the Magnify2 is on a table that is stable and reasonably level. Remove the glass scanning table and place it safely aside. From the front of the Magnify2, locate the bolts on the left arm pivot and using the appropriate Allen key and wrench, slightly loosen the bolts. Do the same for the matching bolts on the right pivot arm. With the pivot bolts slightly loose, use a level and move the gantry until it is perfectly vertical. Tighten all the pivot arm bolts and recheck with the level.

Carefully slide the glass into position and, if necessary, adjust the side buffer stops so that the glass is both square with the frame and held gently in place by the buffers. When you adjust the buffers DO NOT turn the rubber buffer; instead use a wrench to carefully adjust the nut behind the buffer. There are four rubber buffer adjustment points, one close to each corner, see photo below. There are also four supports and it is these that are adjusted slightly to ensure that the scanning table is completely orthogonal to the lens. It is also helpful if the Magnify2 is completely level, though a small error is not a problem.

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To adjust the scanning table we are going to place our test subject (remember the mousemat?) in each corner in turn. When the subject is precisely in focus at each corner, then the scanning table is correctly adjusted.

Here’s how to set up the Scanning Table

Place the subject in one corner of the scanning table. Drive the camera to one corner in a position that it is directly over the subject. Drive the Z axis so that the subject is precisely in focus. Click the ‘Home’ button for the Z axis, which will lock in the datum (zero point) to the GIGAmacro Capture software.

Now we have a datum and we will use that datum to align each corner in turn to that datum; we do this by driving the camera to the next corner and checking if our subject is in focus. If it is in precise focus, that corner is OK and you may move to the next.

When you find a corner that is slightly out of focus, drive the Z axis so that the focus is precise and note the change, measured in mm, in the GIGAmacro Capture window. That is the amount to adjust the glass support (use the supplied wrench) up or down. Each full turn of the support screw is about 1mm.

Repeat the process for each corner until you can drive the camera around the scanning table and the focus is correct - sharp - in every corner. When you achieve that, your true-up is complete.

Date: 2017-10-19

Next Steps

Congratulations!! You are ready to make your own spectacular high-resolution, super-sharp macro images.

We would love feedback on what worked well for you, what we could improve in packing, shipping or setup instructions.

Please now study the “Operation & Workflow User Guide” that will instruct you in a workflow that we have found to be successful for most people and situations. You will, of course, find your own variations, modifications and improvements that are tailored to your particular needs once you are familiar with the Magnify2 and its operation.

We value you as a GIGAmacro customer and look forward to being your partner in image making for many years to come.


Canon T2/3/5/n/i Settings

This is a brief description of the recommended settings for Canon DSLR cameras. The menu structure varies depending on the Mode Dial setting and is similar on all Canon models, with the more sophisticated models having many more settings.

Most automation is turned off, as the camera is driven by the GIGAmacro Magnify2 to move to each location that a photo is required, the exposure made (and downloaded to the computer) and the rig moves to the next location.

Ensure that the camera is switched on, and Manual mode is selected.

Press the Menu button and check (and set if not as indicated):

Beep = Disabled
Release shutter without card = Enabled
Peripheral Illumination = Enabled
Image review = Off
Red eye = disabled
Auto Lighting Optimizer = Disable
Color space = Adobe RGB
Picture Style = Neutral
Histogram = RGB
Set the date and time correctly
Custom Function 3 = 1/200th (flash synch speed)
Custom Function 4 = Off (Long exposure noise reduction)
Custom Function 5 = Disable (High ISO noise reduction)
Custom Function 6 = Disable (Highlight tone priority)
Custom Function 7 = Disable (Autofocus beam assist)

Date: 2017-10-19


No Power to Magnify2

  • Switch off Control Box and disconnect power

  • Check all connectors on the back of the Control Box are correctly located (check color codes)

  • Reconnect power cord and switch on Control Box.

One (or more) Magnify2 axis doesn’t move.

  • Check connector cables (see ‘No Power’, above)

  • Check that each axis is not at the extreme end of its travel

  • Check the limit switches - there are six switches, each should have a small red light. Two are on the gantry, two on the Z axis and two on the left hand (from the front) side of the Magnify2

  • Check that the Motor Rapid Stop button is NOT pressed (rotate clockwise to release)

  • In GIGAmacro Capture, check ‘Settings’ and Stop serial connection, then Start the serial connection.

Noise when Magnify2 is moving.

  • Check that nothing is obstructing each rail

  • Check connector cables (see ‘No Power’, above)

  • In GIGAmacro Capture, check ‘Settings’ and Stop serial connection, then Start the serial connection.

DSLR Remote shows “Not Connected”

  • Check USB plugged into camera, to the connector on the gantry, and to the computer

  • Check that external power is plugged into the camera

  • Check that the camera is switched on

  • Check camera LCD screen for errors

  • Confirm in DSLR Remote Pro that Camera>Auto Reconnect is checked in the menu

  • In DSLR Remote Pro Camera menu, click Connect Camera.

No Power to Control Box

  • Switch off Control Box and disconnect power.

  • Check all power cables, confirm that there is power at the outlet (plug in another device that is known to work).

  • Reconnect the power cable.

Camera connected, won’t take a photo

  • Check that Shutter Release cable is connected

  • Check that camera is in Manual mode

  • Check that focus is set to manual on lens (if appropriate)

  • Click the ‘Release’ button in DSLR Remote Pro

  • Check Capture presets (folder location for captured photos, etc.)

  • Check camera LCD screen for error messages

  • Check that you have sufficient disk space where your project is saved. If you are saving to a network drive check that it is connected and accessible.

Camera Flash not firing.

  • Check that the flash control unit is correctly on the hot shoe, with locking ring finger tight

  • Check that external power is connected to camera and to flash.

  • Check that camera and flash switched on

  • Check the USB cable (from camera to PC)and remote trigger cables are connected.

After all these checks, If none of the above solves your problem, please call GIGAmacro support at +1 415 841 3322, and / or email [email protected]. Support is based in the US Pacific timezone (GMT -8 hours) and is available 9am - 5pm.

Date: 2017-10-19