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Picture of Easy 30 Minute Pocket Digital Microscope
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Ever wanted to see things up close? Ever wanted to read that fine print that is just too small to read? Well, now you can! This pocket digital microscope is very easy to make and will only take you about a half an hour or so to make. It also fits in your pocket so you can take it wherever you would like! Note: To see the results, please click on step 9!

Materials:
  • Pill bottle
  • AV Camera ($10-ebay)
  • AV cable
  • Magnifying lens
  • Power jack
  • 9v battery
  • 9v battery clip
  • On/Off switch
  • Squirt gun (you'll see why later...step 10)
Tools: 
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wire cutters
  • Soldering iron/solder
  • Heatshrink tubing
 
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Step 1: Prepare the Bottle

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Start by drilling a hole in the top middle of the pill bottle cap big enough for the camera to see through. Then, drill 2 holes in the pill bottle: one in the bottom on the outside, and one on the side near the top.

Step 2: A Bit About Lenses...

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I used a lens from an old camera I have, but there are many smaller lenses that you can use, just so long as it magnifies.

Step 3: Fix the Camera

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The camera I used included six infrared LEDs that very annoyingly lit up my objects so I couldn't see them very well. So, I decided to open the camera, remove the LEDs, then close up the camera again. NOTE: Now is a good time to check the manual focus on your camera by holding it up to your lens. I had a camera that the lens on the camera was a focus for the camera. I held the lens up to the camera, and spun the focus until the picture was clear. If you take the lens away, the image will be fuzzy, but it will be fine when you put the lens back up to it. 

Step 4: Install the Lens and Camera in the Top

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Glue the camera into the pill bottle top so that it can see through. After, glue the lens to the top of the pill bottle cap.

Step 5: Video Time

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Glue the video out port from the camera into the bottom hole of the pill bottle, making sure no glue gets around the metal, preventing a solid video connection. Also, in the picture, it appears the port isn't sticking out far enough from the bottle to actually connect to the AV cable, but it does make a solid connection. I checked several times.

Step 6: Power Circuit

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Now solder together a simple circuit of the switch, 9v battery clip, and power jack. Attach the 9v battery.

Step 7: Start Installing Everything

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Plug the power jack into the camera, and start putting everything into the pill bottle. Also, glue the switch into place in the other hole in the pill bottle.

Step 8: Finish Installing Everything

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Finish putting everything in the pill bottle and screw on the cap. What's good about using a pill bottle is its easy to replace the battery or fix connections because the top can come back off.

Step 9: Results

Well, these are a few images of my TV displaying some random objects. I was very pleased with the results. Check 'em out they're really cool!

Step 10: Oh, Yeah...the Squirt Gun...

The Squirt gun was just in case you got bored, at least you have a squirt gun to play with! ;D

Awesome

bmohr2 years ago
Nice work. I wanted to get one of my son's a microscope for Christmas but they were too expensive. May have to build one of these for him. Thanks for documenting the project.
Adum24 (author)  bmohr2 years ago
No problem, glad you like it!