Picture of Homemade Infrared Goggles! For Under $10
See the world in a whole new light with these home-made Infrared Goggles! Amazing images! See the Test Results in the video at the end of this Instructable. Thanks to Bill Beaty for the idea.

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Step 1: What you need:

Picture of What you need:
First pick up a pair of welding Goggles. I got these online for $7.

Step 2: The Gels:

Picture of The Gels:
You will need a specific type of blue gel to make this work. The theatrical lighting gel is called "Congo Blue" and it is manufactured by the two most popular gel companies, LEE (C181) and Rosco (#382)

You can find them HERE

Step 3: Gel #2

Picture of Gel #2
The second lighting gel is "Primary Red". The LEE number is 106 and the Rosco number is 27.

You can find them HERE

Step 4: Prepare the goggles...

Picture of Prepare the goggles...
Unscrew the lens assembly for each eyepiece and remove the green welding gel, leaving only the clear gel. This will reinforce the blue and red gels you will be installing. Using the welding gel as a template, cut out 8 blue gels and 2 red gels.

Step 5: Put it all together...

Picture of Put it all together...
Take 4 blue gels and insert them in the eyepiece assemblies and then screw them back on to your new IR-Goggles. Now, wait for a very bright sunny day and go outside! You won't believe what you see. DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN!! Serious, permanent eye damage can occur in seconds. Then for another effect, add the red gel to each eyepiece and see the difference. Now here is the video!

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taubin12 years ago
Oi I made these and they are great, I'm in the military and during training we were issued a 90 deg angle flashlight and naturally it had standard blue red and clear lenses, during an exersise we had to use a night vision monocle and naturally use of lights was strictly forbidden, I found that combining the blue and red filters I could make an ir flashlight that with the naked eye couldn't be seen after 5' so even on the gloomiest night I was able to see clearly for a great distance without anyone knowing where I was, the knowledge gained in this project was able to be used in a real life situation and helped greatly. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

I'm very happy with that positive answer, because I working in military and we need it to our solders

gonzog5 months ago

trying to find / make infrared goggles that can be used by volunteer firefighters to locate " hot spots" /active fire in structures / open fields,

does anyone know of a reasonable reliable source for these items?

do they work at night time

0ctaviu52 years ago
Do these goggles work with infrared LED's?
wjbeaty 0ctaviu512 months ago

No, infrared LEDS are worthless with the goggles. Beware of many hoax articles with "night vision goggles" based on congo blue filters and LEDs. (I think the scammers were even selling 'em on ebay. Sheesh.) Congo Blue goggles will put you into the infrared world during BRIGHT SUNNY DAYS. Become a summertime cyborg with greatly expanded senses in the deep nanometers! But they are worthless for night vision.

These will not boost the amount of IR light coming from the source, but it will block out most of the surrounding non-IR light.

great job

caustin81 year ago
Well, it is a very good knowledge sharing, but are they going to work under the water when I wear them while swimming? I am interested in buying something extraordinary in Swim Goggles category. Your knowledge will offer a great knowledge to me in this regard.
_PJ0072 years ago
goggles is nice. you can use this in night using some pairs if IR LED as auxillary
0ctaviu52 years ago
Do these goggles work with infrared LED's?
Kzummo2 years ago
I made these and they are really cool! If you use only rosco, use indego for the blue filter.
idy266 years ago
Will these allow you to see an infrared diode when its on. Normally infrared is invisible, but i'm wondering if this lens will make it visible to the human eye?
me835 idy266 years ago
sorry man, but the title here is misleading. humans can't see infrared, unless the theory discussed elsewhere on this page is true, but even then...
Notbob me8356 years ago
for what you say to work idy26, the diode would have to be emitting light in the near-infrared spectrum.
idy26 Notbob6 years ago
I am pretty sure that there are Infrared-Emitting Diodes that you can buy that give off infrared light.
Notbob idy266 years ago
the light has to be in the NEAR-infrared spectrum, As LEDs that emit infrared light would have no visible effect, because the human eye cannot see truly infrared light.
Kev93 Notbob5 years ago
 Wrong. The eye CAN see IR. Just not near as well as other colors.
Notbob Kev935 years ago
Before outright telling me I am wrong, would please provide me with some scientific backing to support your side of the argument.
wjbeaty Notbob5 years ago
See the links in the original article    In the D. Griffin paper they plot the human visual sensitivity (HVS) curve out to 1050nM.  As usual, they find no sharp division between "visible" and "infrared" wavelengths, just a peak at 505nM green, and a low frequency logarithmic rolloff of about 3 log units for every 100nM.   Most graphs of the HVS curve will tell you the same, although usually they go only out to 800nM.

Human eyes are like bandpass filters, and the farther you are from the peak, the worse their response.  To see light that's 100nM deeper into the IR, simply make it ~1000 times brighter.  Of course at some point the light must be dangerously bright in order to be visible.  (But the eye could still see it!)

I'm with Notbob on this
I'll make it easier:

As the paper shows, humans see NIR just fine. But it has to be bright, and it can't be swamped out by normal visible light.
wjbeaty idy265 years ago
These goggles don't change the light's wavelength, they only block the visible band.  Same as turning off the room lights.    You don't need goggles to see IR LEDs, just view them in a darkened room.
not true
Yes true. I can use a TV remote as a flashlight in the dark.
Goodhart idy264 years ago
It is much easier to see the NEAR IR light of an IR diode by using a digital camera, turn on the camera and then the LED and look at it through the view screen (not the view finder if it has one). It will appear quite brightly.
LiftAndLove3 years ago
1-not real infared
> not real infared

Human eyes actually see way out into the NIR, here's the graph from a 1947 research paper (via the original project page: The human visual sensitivity curve slopes smoothly off, with no real vis/IR boundary. So, is 800nM not infrared?! How bout 1000nM?

The challenge is to provide an IR illuminator 10^5 times brighter than a dim visible source, or if using sunlight, to filter out the 400-700nM visible spectrum and pass the 700-1000nM infrared. A big bank of 750nM LEDs would work. A stack of Congo Blue filters is cheaper.
jmart903 years ago
would it be possible to use the same approach on a flashlight (say a bulbed maglight?) and use these goggles to view "near ir" from the filtered maglight??
jmart90 jmart903 years ago
i mean i saw something about a year ago saying that this would work, but not for led lights.... can anyone confirm??
I am definitely planning to make these, maybe even combining them with some steampunk models...I was just wondering where you got the gels. I looked at various stores and they were 7-14 dollars. And I would like to keep the whole project under 10. If you could just reply to this as soon as you can, that would be great! Thanks!
For detailed info, see the original project article on Science Hobbyist.

Yeah, you have to buy a big sheet of congo blue, but that's enough for around a hundred goggles. Perhaps get a smaller piece by contacting other goggles-builders on comments, or on the steampunk forum (Brassgoggles co uk)
few questions,
so how can you do this so that it would let you see at night using IR leds, or would this work with it? oh and where would you get the sutff for it
You can get the colour gels on ebay they are disco light filters and instead of using welding goggles use CLEAR uv protection sun glasses then you are less likely to burn you eyes out because the filters make it very dark only letting not visabule light in such as I-R and UV light, because the filters make it dark your pupils get bigger to try to let in more light there for letting in more uv light which will burn your eyes out so use clear sun glasses to be on the safe side.
czenob6 years ago
could you make these into night vision by putting a infrared led into, lets say, a maglite w/ led conversion and use both together? just saying because the flashlight would put off infrared and goggles would pick that up right?
geekdude czenob6 years ago
the theory is that we can see part of the infrared that is hidden by the rest of the ambient light in the day, if it were pitch dark we would not need the goggles only a powerfull enough infrared light, but then everyone arround could see in ir
Exactly, and that's part of my original project: using Congo Blue filters to convert an incandescent floodlamp into an "IR vision" generator in a darkened room. This doesn't work nearly as well as welding goggles and sunlight. Even so, it's really odd to see black clothing turn red-grey, and human eyes turn huge, black, and alien.

IR Goggles? IR Floodlight!
Bill is absolutely correct that by heavily suppressing the so called visible spectrum from ~400 to ~750 nm the normally "swamped" NIR sensitivity of the eyes is allowed to come into play. As there is more IR coming from the Sun than visible light this effect is very strong in sunlight.
It is easy to prove that the eyes are actually recieving NIR when wearing the filters Bill pioneered. Typical organic fabric dyes are NIR transparent so if you look at most dark fabrics when wearing the filters the fabrics will appear light coloured.
I have written my name on on my black camera case with a black Sharpie felt tip pen and it is virtually invisible to the unaided eye. Yet it appears perfectly clearly when wearing IR passband filters in sunlight or under a stong incandescent light. This is because Sharpie pens (and perhaps other pens) contain a NIR opaque dye(s) wheras the black dye in the nylon camera bag is NIR transparent. This phenomena could only occur if the NIR sensitivity of the eyes was a fact.
In fact recent work has shown that a large percentage of the population even have a higher sensitivity than previously thought at the other end of the spectrum; the UV.
if it was real IR it could pick up IR radiation from living things and not just give colouful vision
Reflected IR and emitted thermal energy are not the same thing.
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