Introduction: DIY 3D Head-Mounted-Display Using Your Smartphone

About: Hi! I'm a maker, teacher, editor

I recently stumbled over the OpenDive 3D glasses from Durovis.
Stefan Welker designed this nice little toy and made the plan open source.
It is a Head-mounted display like the Oculus Rift but instead of using a dedicated display you can use your smartphone as a display.

The plan he released is a 3d model for 3d printing.
Today everything seems to be printed with a 3d printer but simple constructions like this do not necessarily need such hardware. I have read that printing this model in 0.3mm layers takes like 6 hours.
Actually this can be easily made from wood or plastic sheets. And actually :)... cutting out the parts by hand took around 1.5 to 2 hours. *WIN!!*
Man beats machine...

So I downloaded the plan, took the measurements and constructed a frame using Inkscape.
Yes, Inkscape. Not very much known for it's technical drawing capabilites but the result is nothing to sneeze at.

My fellow students can confirm that ...

The lenses used in the OpenDive can be bought over at Amazon for 7€.
The kit contains 2 lenses and a headstrap.
The wood and velcro I had laying around but all in all this Head-Mounted-Display can be build for around 10€.

The outcome is not that bad ! At least it helps to fill the time until the final Oculus Rift hits the stores.


29. Dec 2013: 3mm plans have been updated. Edges should now align better.
Added a modified version with bigger viewing window (Better for bigger smartphones)
2. Jan 2014: Updated both 3mm versions (0.2 and 0.2b) to 0.3 and 0.3b. They now have stronger edge reinforcement (headstrap) and a nicer eye divider.

Step 1: The Blueprint

1) OpenDive 3D model meassured
First I loaded the 3d model into Netfabb and took it's rough measurement.

2) Inkscape box maker plugin
Using Inkscape and a plugin called Tabbed Box Maker I first made a box. Then I looked at the 3d model and modified the box in Inkscape.

I have uploaded three versions.
  1. One is for 4mm thick material.
  2. One is for 3mm material.
  3. The last is for smartphones with a bigger screen. Also for 3mm material.
The viewing window is 110mm x 50mm for No. 1 and 2.
No.3 viewing window is 104mm x 57mm. The Edges can be sanded/cut beveled so that the viewing angle is even wider.

For a complete list of PPI's from different smartphones read the Wikipedia article.


1) I have updated the 3mm plan as there were some errors in it. All edges should now align nicely.
2) Added a modified version 0.2b. The viewing frame has been removed so that phones with a bigger screen don't get cut off. Especially Galaxy S3/4-ish phones.

Step 2: Cutting Edge

Next the plan needs to be transfered to the material of your choice.
Print out the SVG on paper and glue it onto wood or cardboard.

In the beginning I tried to use my Laser Engraver to cut through 4mm cardboard from a TV set but realized that 300mW are to weak to even cut through the first layer of cardboard.

Then I simply engraved the plan onto 4mm balsa wood which work out nice and used a fret saw to cut out the parts.

I found some hobby plastic sheets at my hardware store. This stuff is 3mm thick and a rather soft compared to acrylic glass. It can be cut with a knife so I tried my Frankentein Laser Engraver on it.
The result was okay but not satisfying. The laser could cut through the sheet but takes rather for ever. At a speed of 400mm/minute it can engrave nice fine lines. At 50mm/minute it cuts about the 1mm into the material. I tried it at 20mm/minute in one run but it cut merely 1-2mm. I guess several runs at 50mm/minute could cut it but that would be a torture for the laser.
Besides the very hazardous styrol fumes (see wiki on Styrene) that come up when this stuff melts, I really like the material and with some rework and a sharp knife this could be cut as well.

Step 3: Putting It Together

Finally the parts were put together. I used sandpaper to smooth the edges.
When everything fits nice and tight I glued the parts using wood glue.

I decided to cut the lens holder into two and used a rose-head bur to shape a guidance for the lenses.
The lenses were fastened with a hot glue gun.

To fix the smartphone I used velcro. This worked out nice and the smartphone isn't able to slip out.

For the slides were the lens holders go through, cut some piece of foam and pull it over the handles to block out light from the outside.

Step 4: Games - Techdemos - 3D SBS Trailer

So now give me some stuff to do !!!

Here you go...

1) Visit the home of the original OpenDive for games. The range of games is somewhat "managable" but should increase in the next month. Or how about some old school matches Quake 2 in a modded SBS version. Scroll down to get instructions how to get started.

2) Contact Youtube and search for "SBS 3D". A lot of 3D TV manufaturers offer 3D Side-by-Side demo trailers. These are what you are looking for. Don't forget the movie trailers filmed in SBS 3D.
I personally really like LG demo disc 3. All I say is "BASEBALL" ! You will remember we !!!

3) Play PC games streamed to your Android phone. I havn't tried this one yet because my Xperia Sola lacks a gyro. Well how ironic. Anyways, check it out - Kainy

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