This project was a result of developing a simple iPhone APP to capture, share and view stereoscopic photos and just a general love of mobile VR and AR technology:) During our development we realized there is still a major shortage of people who have been exposed to this technology and also a lack of hardware in general. Most of the tools you may already own and the materials are either free or very low cost.
Why did we choose Tin (Aluminum Cans) as a medium? The main benefit is its free (if you drink a lot of beverages:) and the headset is based on pinhole lens design which does not require separate lens assemblies0. Metal is also thin, easy to work with and makes the most precise pinholes! TinVR also has several benefits not present in other headsets. The focal length works over a wide range of distances as the phone is not plastered to your face. It also allows you to actually operate and see your phone and surroundings whenever you want.
Enough of that, lets start building a fun and portable Virtual Reality HMD. More info can always be found on our homepage www.tinvr.com.
Step 1: Collect Your Materials
You most likely have some of these items. All materials are easily available locally or through Amazon. Here is the recommended list.
1. 1/8 inch round hole punch
2. Thin sewing needles or a stapler with standard staples (to make and shape pinhole lenses)
3. Empty and CLEANED tin cans 12oz or 16oz of your favorite beverage
4. Pair of sharp scissors
5. Craft knife
6. Large double sided tape sheets
7. 5/8 inch craft punch (optional for cleaner radius cut around nose)
8. Sheets of 2mm craft foam in colors you desire.
9. Assorted colors of extra large rubber bands (7" x 1/8" Size 117b)
10. Download and print templates for both TIN and FOAM.
11. Protractor or metric ruler for I.P.D. measurements or print one HERE.
12. Sharp marker or scribe (not shown).
13. Light & tight glove(s) to protect against cuts. Rubberized gardening gloves or a golf glove are good.
16. Very light sand paper or foam sanding pad/block
Step 2: Prep and Cut Tin Cans
Your goal is to create a flat sheet of tin by removing both the top and bottom portions of the can.
Take your cleaned tin can and using your craft knife puncture and cut along the very top of can about halfway through. Using your scissors, cut lengthwise along the can in the middle of nutritional facts area all the way to the bottom of the can. Cut along the bottom of the can to remove this portion as well. Go back and cut remainder of the top portion. Make sure you recycle all your waste material! Trim all the rough edges along the top and bottom of your tin sheet using scissors keeping as much material as possible.
Step 3: Prep and Cut Tin and Foam Templates
Print your templates on a thicker paper stock for ease of use if possible. Tin and foam templates should each measure around 7.5-8.0 inches in length. There is no need to cut the round eye holes in the tin template.
Tape the tin template on a flat surface and use a sharp marker or scribe to outline the template on the tin sheet. Using scissors, cut along inside of your mark to produce the tin pattern. Use the 5/8" punch to create the round nose piece for a cleaner cut.
Follow the same process for the foam template cutting along outside of your mark however you wont be able to use the punch on the thicker foam so just use the craft knife or scissors for the nose area and eye holes.
Step 4: Punch Holes for Rubber Bands
Using your 1/8" punch, create 2 parallel holes on each edge of the pattern centered on width for the rubber headband. Be sure you punch from the outside to the inside. Do not punch holes in the foam until it is attached to the tin piece later in this process.
Step 5: Sand and Trim Edges
Lightly sand all edges of the tin piece with a light sandpaper to remove any burrs or sharp edges.
Step 6: Create Pinhole Lenses
This is by far the most critical and difficult process. Lay the Tin template down with printing side up. Place 2 pieces of tape along the middle of the template lengthwise. Place your Protractor or other metric ruler and center/level on the nose cutout in middle of pattern.
Measure your I.P.D. Measure out from the center of the ruler based on your I.P.D. (i.e. if your I.P.D. is 62mm then measure 31mm to the left and then to the right of center and mark each distance with a sharp marker.
You will want round up or add 1/2 mm to the measurement due to the fact when you wear the headset the curvature will reduce the actual distance slightly.
Using a very thin needle, lightly punch through tin on your marked holes. Do NOT punch all the way through! Just enough to see +/- 1mm of needle point through the other side and then lightly rotate needle around to create a nice smooth and round hole. Trial and error is needed until you have a feel for proper size of hole. To small and it will limit field of view and be very dark. To large and the screen will not be in focus at closer range. Test on a random piece of tin before using on your piece.
You will then want to lightly sand the interior of the tin piece to a smooth finish around all your punched holes (pinholes and punched holes for rubber bands. Take your needle and very lightly insert back into hole from the interior side and lightly rotate back and forth to create a nice smooth hole.
Step 7: Attach Foam to Tin
If not using our pre-cut or adhesive backed foam templates, use two sided tape to attach foam to tin. Use your 5/8 punch to create 4 circles in the two-sided tape and apply them on the outer/inner edges of the tin pattern. Remove backing to expose sticky side.
Lay your foam pattern down on a flat surface. Take your adhesive backed tin piece (with printing side up) and apply to the foam starting with the center nose area and moving outward ensuring the foam is aligned with the tin edges. The foam should match or slightly overlap the tin pattern along all edges. Finally, using your 1/8" punch and using the pre-existing holes in the tin pattern as guides, punch 4 holes through the foam pattern to allow for the rubber band head strap.
Step 8: Cut and Attach Rubber Bands
Select the appropriate color rubber band. Try and match to primary color of the can or foam. Cut the rubber band in half to create a string. Thread one end of rubber band through outside of outer hole then back up through inner hole of one side leaving 2 inches exposed. Tie a knot in the band using the least amount of waste.
Keeping the band straightened, do the same for the other side of the headset. Trim any excess rubber after the knots.
That's it! You should have a completed headset. If you haven't already download our iPhone App (Android coming soon!), do so now to test your headset and be sure to check our F.A.Q. if you have any questions.
TinVR can be used for ANY other VR/AR related Apps from the Play Store or the App Store as it is not phone specific. You can also check out stereoscopic videos and photos from across the web.
You can also add embellishments to the headset but be sure not to do anything to deform the shape or functionality. New ideas and improvements are always welcome. Maybe there are ways to use other parts of the can??? Maybe the can tabs can be used to make a clasp for a dual rubber band headset? Use your creativity and make sure you share with the community...
Have any questions please contact me at c o n t a c t @ t i n v r . com as i don't always have time to answer directly on these boards.