Introduction: Make Simple Digital Telescope

Build your own high range telescope, using Webcam, PVC pipes and a scrap camera lens.

1. Lens (Long focal length)
2. Webcam CCD circuit
3. 50mm camera lens
4. 60/50mm (Diameter) PVC pipe and joints

1. 20/25mm (Diameter) PVC pipe/Joints
2. Nut & bolts
3. Mount

1. At first select a long  focal length lens, better to use compound lens to avoid chromatic aberration. Here I used high range binocular lens, focal length is 180mm.

2. Next pick a 50mm SLR camera lens ( I have used 50mm SMC Pentax-A) and remove all the lens elements from it and keep only aperture mechanism, this is used as aperture to control the light.

3. Fix the selected lens in front of the camera lens hood, this will act as fine tune focusing (Secondary focusing). And fix about 4 inches length 50mm pipe at rear. (if u have Pantax-A lens, it fits inside 50mm pipe)

4. Take 50mm pipe joint and scratch its inner surface (to increase its inner diameter, about 2mm) so that 50mm pipe moves freely forward and backward , this is act as primary focusing.

5. Take a 60mm pipe , fix its joint at the rear end and fix the 50mm joint  inside at other end. The length of the 60mm pipe you should keep according to the focal length of lens that you have selected.

6. Cut a 60mm dia foam sheet ( or similar material) and fix webcam circuit , its ccd sensor should be at the centre of foam sheet. Make the ccd area maximum dark , perpendicularly about an 35mm from ccd make 2-3mm hole, this act as secondary aperture.

 (Checkout construction schematic, step -10)

Step 1: 50mm Pantax-A Lens

50mm lens hood with aperture after remove all the lens element.

Step 2: Webcam CCD

Webcam CCD circuit and a light proof mask.

Step 3: CCD Mask

Making CCD complete dark. 

Step 4: Telescope Parts

1. Take 50mm pipe joint and scratch its inner surface (to increase its inner diameter, about 2mm) so that 50mm pipe moves freely forward and backward , this is act as primary focusing.

2. Take a 60mm pipe , fix its joint at the rear end and fix the 50mm joint inside at other end. The length of the 60mm pipe you should keep according to the focal length of lens that you have selected.

Step 5: Telescope

 Lens fixing

Step 6: Telescope With Tripod

Telescope and tripod

Step 7: Target

The distance between the telescope and tower is around 200-250 mtrs.

Step 8: Captured Image

These are the photographs captured in my telescope by adjusting aperture and focus. 

Step 9: Moon at Night

Capturing moon at night, not upto the mark, :-( but next time i will try with longer focal length lens.... 

Step 10: Telescope - Schematic

The schematic of my telescope.
First one: Construction
Second one: It works just like cropping an image, here from the alphabetic array letter 'M' is cropped using secondary aperture. 

Step 11: With Tele-lens

You can also build it using Tele-lens.

Step 12: Tripod - Schematic

Step 13: Video


chirstobal6891 made it!(author)2016-09-27

What kind of magnification does this make??

LuckyB2 made it!(author)2015-03-18

Nobody has asked yet. What sort of images can we expect from something like this? Does anyone have any example pictures?

superdave5481 made it!(author)2011-12-08

I bought several little ccd cameras from deal extreme at a very low price and glued the guts of one inside an old Pentax camera body with a 55mm lens on it. The little ccd was placed where the film passes into the focal area. I used a dremel type tool to make a slot for the cords to come out and attached them to the appropriate power and video/audio cables. It works so very great. This progect has me interested in making a telescope with some other great lenses I have and use with another little ccd camera. These tiny ccd cameras are great for this and all are under $15!

crishrx made it!(author)2011-12-10

Its great and one of feasible technique for digital telescope, and i think you removed shutter mechanism right? share your project here. My present project is using above same technique. I want to convert my classic Nikon FM2 into digital.

dchurch24 made it!(author)2011-11-24

That's really good. It's inspired me to have a go with my old Practica.

martzsam made it!(author)2011-10-18

I made something like this a few years back with an old telephoto, a nasty logitech webcam, and a garlic salt lid. Fun!

Suizezem made it!(author)2011-10-09


Great one and made me wanna do something like it. I found a Tele-Auto 6.3/400 mm lens but as I know nothing about lenses would a thing like this work? Or would it be better to buy something thats called like: Sigma 70-300 mm F4-5,6 DL Macro Super?

Im have not worked anything with camera lenses before so any input would be great =)

Thanks for a good one!

crishrx made it!(author)2011-10-10

Thank you Suiz...

Well, with 400mm lens u can do easily, no need to de-assemble it. You need to provide a dark area for CCD (Tube-B) and a lens mount (Tube-A).

The following schematic will help you, checkout...

schematic 2.jpg
Suizezem made it!(author)2011-10-10

Big thanks =) I got the dark thing and I think your schematics over ratio is really good and gives a good understanding, when understanding it, over all. Im gonna actually buy my self a Logitech C910 HD webcam, after trying out with some discarded friends cams.

What I did not understand with this lens I was looking on was the 6.3/400 (and differense on a 70-300) but maybe that dont mean anything else than its just a 400 mm but I would guess its better than a 300.

As I been looking for telescopes to connect with computer none has by my meaning met any of the range and quality you actually can gain by doing it by your self.

Big thanks =)

crishrx made it!(author)2011-10-10

Good morning :-)
You have to play with light adjustment, with aperture. At day time larger F number will give good result. I hv checked with my 28-105mm Nikon lens, i captured in the morning around 7.30-8.00, sun. so image has come little dull. :-)

yokostar made it!(author)2011-10-10

WOW!! Thanks!

rimar2000 made it!(author)2011-10-09

There is no specified focal length. The longer, augment and difficulties increase.

That's all I can say. Good luck!

extremeseeker made it!(author)2011-10-08

where can you get that kind of webcam? and for how much?

crishrx made it!(author)2011-10-08

if u use high resolution webcam circuit u wil get clear image . any webcam u can use.

extremeseeker made it!(author)2011-10-08

cool! any idea where to get the camera lens

crishrx made it!(author)2011-10-08

any scrap SLR camera lens, better to use 50mm lens, we just need aperture from it to control the light.

rimar2000 made it!(author)2011-10-08

WOW! This is really awesome.

I suggest you make an equatorial mounting (it is easy), so you can use it for look planets, stellar cloud, etc.

crishrx made it!(author)2011-10-08

ya it was difficult to point out moon at night without proper mount.
thank u...
and one more thing to watch moon surface how much focal length (lens) is required?

About This Instructable




Bio: Passionately Tinker and Hacker.
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