Instructables

Simple Super-Macro/Microscope Webcam Conversion

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So webcams are quite fun, they take pictures, you can record videos, but what if you could take pictures of microscopic objects? This is a simple and reversible modification for a webcam which lets you take pictures of things far less than 1mm wide!
 
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Step 1: The raw materials

Picture of The raw materials
2_BluTac.jpg
You only need two things for this microscope:
1. A webcam with an unscrewable lens (I got a really cheap one for about £5 on ebay)
2. Blu-tac

It is absolutely vital the webcam has an unscrewable lens, almost all do (and for most webcams this is actually the way you focus!).

Step 2: Dissasembling the webcam

Picture of Dissasembling the webcam
This bit is dead easy, just unscrew the lens from the webcam! Once you have taken the lens out be careful not to get any dust on the CCD (the sensor in the body of the webcam) or on the back of the lens. Dust on either of these is very hard to clean off and can mess up the pictures.

Step 3: Reassembling the webcam

Now just use blu-tack to stick the lens back in the webcam, but backwards. Make sure you get a nice tidy fit, you want to avoid any light leaking around the edge of the lens. For me this was simple because the lens slotted neatly back into the body of the webcam. For some webcams you will have to use a thin sausage of blu-tac to seal around the edge of the reattached lens.
mikkelbg3 years ago
What webcam did you use?
Zephyris (author)  mikkelbg3 years ago
See my reply to shadowdude77 above...
I'd also like to know what model webcam you used if you know what it is. It turned out very nice the way you did it and if I have to spend an extra few dollars to ensure that the mod will be easy and effective, so be it.
Zephyris (author)  shadowdude773 years ago
It is an Advent ADE-13MP+, it's a very old model so you may need some luck finding it!
Awesome instructable!!! I am making one called "how to make a PowerPoint sprite battle" Don`t get mad at me about it just because it has no photos
diolola4 years ago
Hi, Zephyris and NostalgicStone,
Thank you for the advice.
The model of my old PC Webcam just says -MODEL-X-EYE, and it is screwable type with  reddish lens outside.
My OS is windows 7.
Looking forward for the next reply, or else I will do something else, I'll keep this old stuff.
diolola
diolola4 years ago
Hi Zephyris,
I have a 4 year old webcam and wanted to use it to experiment by your 'tibles. How can we connect this to the laptop I have through USB, does this requires a driver or not. I have no idea of these things, so please bear with my innocence.
Thanks a lot.
diolola
Zephyris (author)  diolola4 years ago
As NostalgicStone says you almost certainly will need a driver which will depend on the webcam model...

As for software I would recommend "YawCam", it is free with a lot of useful features.
 Chances are buddy, you will need some sort of driver installed to get the webcam to work on your computer.
You will also need some webcam software to view the image too.
What is the model number on the camera, and what is your operating system?
With that information we will most definitely be able to help you out!
jimofoz4 years ago
I'm definitely going to try this out. However, one nit to pick, is that actually it's a removable or maybe "screwable" lens. If it was truly unscrewable, you wouldn't be able to unscrew it.

At first I was wondering why you didn't want a removable lens when you needed to take it out.... But don't mind me, I'm only bright enough to criticize, not create.
eight4 years ago
Well done instructable. Ta for your efforts...
Say... wasnt "Zephyris" the guy from Babylon 5 ?
Mig Welder4 years ago
nice 'ible! I'm definitely going to try this.

Did you take those pictures in the previous steps?! Those have to be some of the best DIY pics I've seen. Most I've seen are crooked, out of focus, and with really weird lighting!
Zephyris (author)  Mig Welder4 years ago
Of course I took those pics! I am quite anal when it comes to presenting things well :)  I should make an instructable on it!
Very nice instructable!

I´ll definitelly do it with some old webcan i have here.
MoritzB4 years ago
Here´s a video of my diy microscope webcam

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2rtb8GJdy8
Zephyris (author)  MoritzB4 years ago
Looks good, about the same magnification as I got (except my mod was reversible! :) )
kelseymh4 years ago
Congratulations on getting featured in the MAKE blog!  I missed this project the first time around -- now rated and featured.
Zephyris (author)  kelseymh4 years ago
Ooh, mentioned on MAKE blog! Excellent! :)
McGrep4 years ago
Very cool 'ible. I love the simplicity and ease of doing this to a webcam. Also, depending on the lens, this is extremely reversible in case something goes awry or one still wants to use it regularly. Great!
OH YA!! i just tested it out...
had to cut the lens mount a little here and there
but it really is cool
think i gona do some upgrades and post an instructable  
eyerobot4 years ago
Very cool idea.
This would come in handy while working on miniature objects.