This project lights up a 5x magnifier by adding 24 bright LEDs.

It's built around a magnifier designed as an upscale version of an optical loupe.  The magnifier has a clear plastic skirt that is intended to admit light from the sides.   I have a small loupe made on the same principal, and it works OK.  But I found that with the bigger version, the magnifier casts a shadow on the subject, and not enough light makes it in from the sides.  I decided to add some LEDs for better illumination.

In order to make it as bright as possible, and to make construction neat and easy, I used a ring-shaped LED array which is marketed for use as an accent light on automobiles.  It's a circuit board 80mm in diameter (just right to fit the magnifier) with 24 surface mount LEDs on one side and current limiting resistors on the other side.

I considered battery-powered options, but I wanted this magnifier mainly for use on my workbench, so I decided to trade off portability for brightness, and made it operate on 110V AC.  I used a 3D printer to make a little box on the side to hold the on/off switch and contain the wiring.

I made it at TechShop.   http://www.techshop.ws

Step 1: Parts, Materials and Tools

These parts and materials are needed:
  • Carson 5x Stand Magnifier.  About six dollars on Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Z9HGAS/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Angel Eyes LED module - Be sure to get the 80mm version.  I used natural white, but cool white or warm white are also available.  Ten dollars..  http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/led-headlight-accent-lights/led-angel-eye-headlight-accent-lights/49/
  • 12V DC wall-wart power supply.  I got mine on eBay for about two bucks.  The LED array draws about 100mA, but to be conservative you should use a power supply rated at 500mA or more.
  • 3D printed switch/wiring box.  You'll make this yourself.
  • Small rocker switch.  The one I found in my junk box fit an opening about 13mm x 9mm.  If yours is a different size, you'll need to adjust the 3d model for the switch/wiring box accordingly.
  • Hook-up wire, stranded.  I used 22 gauge.
  • Two 4/40 machine screws, 5/8" long.  I used button head screws.
  • double sided foam tape
  • clear silicone adhesive
  • masking tape
  • shrink tubing, 1/8" diameter, 1/2" long
You'll also need these tools:
  • drill press
  • handheld electric drill
  • drill bits: 1/8", 1/16", 9/64, #60 and #43
  • 4/40 tap and tap wrench
  • 1/16" hex driver
  • soldering iron and solder
  • 3D printer
  • Drilling guide for switch box holes.  You'll make this yourself.


I'll replace the electrical tape with shrink tubing when my order from China arrives but it works! It will replace the ultra-hot light on my vintage stereoscopic microscope.

About This Instructable




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