Introduction: DIY Macro Lens for Tablet

Picture of DIY Macro Lens for Tablet

A simple and cheap device to enable closer focus on a tablet camera.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

You will need:
a strip of thermoplastic, because we will be will be using heat to form it. Mine came from the cover of a defunct printer. Dimensions are not critical, can be changed to suit what you may have to hand.

a small lens, salvaged from the optical unit of an old DVD ROM drive ( mine is just over quarter inch diameter)

various drill bits and a drill.

a heat gun

scraps of wood


super glue

I have also shown a fine tooth saw and a block plane which I used to cut and clean up the plastic strip.

Step 2: Drill the Hole for the Lens

Picture of Drill the Hole for the Lens

First drill a hole in the plastic strip, near the end. The hole should be the diameter of the lens, and the full diameter part should be as deep as the lens is thick. In my case the hole was 17/64"

Then drill a hole on the same centre a tiny bit smaller. In my case 15/64"

We should end up with a stepped hole, and the lens will sit on the ledge. Test fit the lens, but do not glue it yet.

Step 3: Forming the Plastic

Picture of Forming the Plastic

Using some scrap wood, make a former that is the thickness of the tablet computer. (two sheets of 4mm ply = Nexus 7). Measure the position of your device camera from the edge, and mark this distance from the edge of the wood former.

Now clamp the plastic strip in place, with the lens hole centred on the mark.

Now for the heat forming. If you don't know much about the properties of the plastic then apply gentle heat at first, and increase until the plastic goes soft enough to bend. A glove is useful here, to protect the hand doing the bending. We are aiming for a U shape. ( you might want to cut the strip to a suitable length before this step - I only realised halfway through the bending!)

Step 4: Fit the Lens

Picture of Fit the Lens

Clean up the edges of the plastic, and fit the lens. Use only a small amount of super glue, to avoid getting it on the surface of the lens. I used a toothpick to place the glue around the step in the lens hole.

Step 5: Using the Lens

Picture of Using the Lens

Clip the lens over the edge of the tablet, covering the device camera. I can't show this, because I only have the camera on my tablet!

Photo 1 shows how close the tablet camera can focus. Photo 2 shows a close up of the same pen, taken with the new 'macro' attachment.

Not great optical quality, but interesting to play with, and made with all salvaged materials!

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and maybe you will be inspired to do something similar.


Swansong (author)2017-01-17

That's a great cost effective fix :)