Introduction: Build a USB Digital Microscope in 60min and 15$

Picture of Build a USB Digital Microscope in 60min and 15$

How to turn a 10$ microscope and a 5$ USB camera into a cool digital microscope in 60 minuets.

Step 1: Disassmble Any USB Simple Webcab

Picture of Disassmble Any USB Simple Webcab

Just remove any screws and plastic cover that is not needed.
This webcam cost me 5$ - very simple low resolution web cam.

Step 2: Place Hot-glue Over the Electronic Side of the Camera So It Won't Get Damaged.

Picture of Place Hot-glue Over the Electronic Side of the Camera So It Won't Get Damaged.

Place hot-glue over the electronic side of the camera so it won't get damaged.

Step 3: Remove the Insolation From the Cable & Add a Red and White Wire.

Picture of Remove the Insolation From the Cable & Add a Red and White Wire.

Use a cutter or a small knife to remove the insulation (BE VERY CAREFUL - DO NOT CUT YOURSELF!)
Cut the red and black wires and reveal the copper wiring .
Connect two additional extensions for these cables (5V DC) and solder the red together and the blacks together (not red to black!)

Step 4: White LED Connection

Picture of White LED Connection

connect a 50 to 330 Ohm resistor to the red wire and the other side to the long LED line .
Then connect the black wire to the short LED lead.

Step 5: Connect the White LED

Picture of Connect the White LED

1. Solder the LED lines , connected and insulate with electric tape.
Remove the mirro from the bottom and connect a toothpick to the two holes that remain.
connect the LED to the toothpick with hot-glue.

Step 6: Connect the Camera

Picture of Connect the Camera

while you view the image via the SW used for the webcam - position it so you get a clear image . you may need to play with it for a while .
After you find the exact location use a hot glue gun to fix it to that position .
Then tape the wires tidily to the microscope and start taking pictures...

Step 7: Pictures of Pollen (150x 300x 600x)

Picture of Pictures of Pollen (150x  300x 600x)

Pictures of Pollen (150x 300x 600x)

Step 8: Pictures of Cotton(150x 300x 600x)

Picture of Pictures of Cotton(150x  300x 600x)

Pictures of Cotton(150x 300x 600x)

Step 9: Pictures of Grass(150x 300x 600x)

Picture of Pictures of Grass(150x  300x 600x)

Pictures of Grass(150x 300x 600x)

Step 10: I Hope You Like My Instructable - If You Do - Please Rate It

Picture of I Hope You Like My Instructable - If You Do - Please Rate It

= Please Rate on the right of the page

I love comments and feedback (good and bad)


mihir.sahu.355 (author)2015-03-27

can i make it without microscope and what type of microscope it is ??? i am from india i am not able to find one

glitvjaks (author)mihir.sahu.3552015-05-06

You need a microscope for this. Try eBay - I've found a x1200 microscope for 25 pounds, free worldwide shipping

dogsrcool2me (author)2009-03-16

This is really neat but the title is a little deceiving, since the Microscope part of the USB Digital Microscope for only 15$ costs around $250. Otherwise, good job

moris_zen (author)dogsrcool2me2011-10-24

Trust me - this microscope is the cheapest type you can buy in a $ shop (it cost 10$) - If I where to use a 250$ one the pictures would be much much better!
give it a try.

moris_zen (author)dogsrcool2me2009-03-18

This microscope cost me 6$ (bad wraping) - new it is 10$ . look in the toy section in "toys R us" good luck :-)

bnurkholis (author)2011-09-16

How to change magnification?

Viaticus (author)bnurkholis2011-10-23

The microscope pictured has a revolving "turret" that allows the user to dial a magnification. You can see a similar microscope with the parts labeled at this web site:

tolga (author)2011-04-30

very nice!

danbar (author)2011-03-08

muy bueno! felicidades Grats!

Malk007 (author)2009-12-14

 Yo quiero hacer uno de esots, ¡Muy bueno!

moris_zen (author)Malk0072009-12-14

English pls .

psychlones (author)moris_zen2010-06-14

Translation: I want to make one of these. Very well done!!!

moris_zen (author)psychlones2010-06-15

Thanks - good luck . post pictures when you make it.

Ramon-DC (author)2010-02-13

yeap, this i a good instructable Congratz!!

kitfoxtrot (author)2009-11-11

In bold @ the top of step III it says "...add a red and white wire."

Should be red & black as I'm sure you know :p

marko29 (author)2009-10-17

 hey can you please give me materials how to build this microscope because i want to build two different kinds of microscopes?

william90049 (author)2008-08-24

how would you make it magnify in the thousands 1200x just wondering

On optical microscopes the maximum usable magnification is around 800X with out using oil immersion. If you use oil immersion it is possible to get a magnification around 1200X, but only under thebest conditions.

moris_zen (author)william900492008-08-26

I assume it should work .. just give it a try and play with the distances before you put the glue. see the image in real time and only then put the glue on.

ICBMer (author)2009-10-09

You can get better qaulity if you use a nicer digital camera (more detail with higher x) Plus using a stand allows for greater mobility and ensures you get the picture you want, check out my instructable) Sure it's more expensive, but it looks cooler. otherwise AWESOME INSTRUCTABLE (: (my I-able)

mzclive (author)2009-08-27

lol Forget cutting myself, I've managed to solder myself once. =)

codongolev (author)mzclive2009-09-03

once I dropped my soldering iron.... then I caught it..... :P

codongolev (author)codongolev2009-09-03

(in case you didn't catch that, I mean I just caught it as a reflex and grabbed the business end.)

natman (author)2009-08-01

Great Instructable!!!! can't wait to build mine!!!

cheath (author)2009-06-25

Nice tutorial i just built mine.

ramuproject (author)2009-05-29

nice work, Do you know the magnification of the objective, eyepiece. Or you removed the eyepiece.

moris_zen (author)ramuproject2009-05-30

I didn't remove the eyepiece just glued it to it.

skizzilini (author)2009-05-26

Where did you get the camera (webcam) from, or what is its design?

moris_zen (author)skizzilini2009-05-29

The where stoked up in a pile in a computer store .. It was just the cheapest brand available .. some Chinese unknown brand...

fortunecookie (author)2009-05-14

what's the effect of putting an ohm resistor near the lead??

moris_zen (author)fortunecookie2009-05-14

If you dont - the LED will burn (it limits the current)

fortunecookie (author)moris_zen2009-05-15

that's why my eyes feels itchy after i used my microscope with an led light. tnx

paulm (author)2007-12-18

very good job =)

one thing, its insulation, not isolation...

wierd idiot (author)paulm2009-03-25

yeah but insulation does Isolate so I think that it could be called isolation.

paulm (author)wierd idiot2009-03-25

... but that doesn't change the fact that the material around the wire is an insulator to electricity and used for that property. its confusing to call it isolation

wierd idiot (author)paulm2009-03-25

Yeah I suppose that's true.

moris_zen (author)wierd idiot2009-05-14

Thanks for repairing me English (just joking)

iaqhygienist (author)2009-03-29

Great job Dude!! I was looking into buying a USB Scope and the problem was the 20X to 200X limitation before they got to be too expensive, I will definately give this a try.

Sinster (author)2009-03-20

In step 3 when you cut the red and black wire. Do you connect the two halves back together along with the extension?

moris_zen (author)Sinster2009-03-22


Kike (author)2009-02-04

very good, where did you buy the microscope?

moris_zen (author)Kike2009-03-18

Toys R us - discounted returned lot for ~6$

paperninja (author)2009-02-18

couldnt you just hook up the camera without the LED under it and use the light already there like on mine? would save me time.

moris_zen (author)paperninja2009-03-18

not strong enough

abadfart (author)2009-02-05

very nice we did something like this for our biology class

jeoncs (author)2009-02-04

Maybe you can take the same approach only use something that will allow a higher resolution camera to be used and removed. Awesome none the less

TheRookie (author)2008-12-22


tbenefi33 (author)2008-08-19

Larkus you might be able to check out wall-mart they have microscope neare the eyeglass department there about $20.00 though. I have a 10x digital camer that usb will that work also?

moris_zen (author)tbenefi332008-08-26

I did manage to get very nice images from a digital camera (use the macro mode) but I wasn't willing to glue it in .

codongolev (author)2008-06-18

I can't figure out how to rate things. help?

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