21st Century Scrimshaw Magnification – USB Microscopes

iPevo document camera on stand. The stand makes it great for scrimshaw.USB microscopes can be a great aid for doing scrimshaw, but you need to have a relatively modern computer and at least a USB 2.0 microscope.  Several years ago there were some low-cost microscopes available for kids that could be set to magnify up to 400% – far more than you would need for scrimshaw, but they were USB 1.0.  The software and the signal were so slow there was a noticeable lag.  Now with faster computers and faster USB, using this combination can make this a rewarding experience. The Ipevo camera works out very well, having an arm that stays out of the way and an easy interface.  There are some momentary pauses when using this camera, and it is best to shut off any other programs that may interfere with it if you are using it for scrimshaw.  Experiment – see if you can play music or podcasts on the computer you are using the USB microscope on. If you find there are lags or momentary pauses, try it without the extra programs running. If it still pauses, chances are your anti-virus or backup programs may be the culprits. If you’ve recently upgraded your laptop and have an extra one with USB, disable all extraneous programs, shut off any wireless or internet connections and get a couple of extra years out of it as your scrimshaw microscope. I found it a little disconcerting working in one area with my hand, looking at the screen and using a picture as a reference, but my daughter has no problems using a Bamboo tablet when she’s creating art on her computer so it may only be a matter of time.

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