3D Viewer and Virtual Reality Headset Like Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard, for Ipod Touch and Similar Size Smart Phones.

Introduction: 3D Viewer and Virtual Reality Headset Like Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard, for Ipod Touch and Similar Size Smart Phones.

About: Like to tinker around with computers and other electronic devices. Also have a lot of interest in 3D and virtual reality technology and its usefulness as a tool, to aid in teaching. Better visualization is the…

Let us make a 3D Viewer and Virtual Reality Headset for gaming or for viewing 3D side by side photos and 3D SBS videos using an IPOD TOUCH or a SMARTPHONE (with screen size upto 4 or 4.5 inches).

This can also be used as a headmounted display with some minor mods, similar to the oculus rift but instead of using a built in, dedicated display, you can use your ipod touch or smartphone.

The idea came from an old View Master which my GrandFather(mother's side) had gifted to my mother which eventually came down as inheritance to lucky me... :-)

And yes, you can use this viewer to view any of the thousands of Youtube 3D videos, 3D trailers and 3D movies(side by side format) which are so easily available on the internet, or those which you own.

Step 1: Lets Begin......

To make the housing, I have used 2mm sheets of particle board wood, which were laser cut to the desired shape.But you can use cardboard, or plastic or opaque plexiglass(acrylic) sheets, as well.

For the lenses, I have used optical grade +6 diopter reading glass lenses which I purchased from my local optician.

I shaped the lenses to fit inside the housing as best as I could, using the grinder shown in the photos above.The approx Focus distance with these +6 dioptre lenses is between 5.5 to 6.25 inches.

Painted the inner side of the wooden housing black, to block unnecessary reflections.

I also additionally purchased +5, +4, +3 diopter lenses (in pairs) which can be used to focus on to wider smart phone screens. The +6 diopter is good for up to 4 inch to 4.5 inch screen sizes.

If you use larger screens then you will need to use lower power lenses(example the +5 or +4 or +3 dioptre ones as these will enable you to keep the larger screen further away from you, and still be able to focus and also allow for easy 3D convergence).

The 3D effect and clarity is very good due to the optical grade lenses. But you can also use simple magnifying glass lenses(2 similar pieces), or binocular lenses from cheap toy binoculars.(They work just as well).

The cost of the pair of optical grade lenses was Rs.120 to Rs.150 in India.(Approx $2 to $2.50).

The cost of the wood and cutting came to Rs.100 odd.(Approx $2).

The cost of the piece of Elastic (to hold the ipod in place) was Rs.10. The cost of Quick Dry Glue was Rs.20.

I have put up the dimensions in a CDR file, a pdf file and a png file to be used as a template.You may choose any of the files depending on which one you are comfortable working with.

Step 2: These Are the Measurements and Template Files in Cdr, Pdf and Png Format.

Use the above measurements and templates to help cut your wood, plastic, or cardboard viewer.

Also, for those who wish to know, an explanation would be in order to help you calculate the distance between the lenses and your smartphone,ipod:-

To calculate the power of a lens, in diopters , to focus at a particular distance, first convert that distance into centimeters, then divide 100 cm by that number. The result is the dioptric power. For example, suppose an object is at 1/2 meter. Converted to centimeters, the object is 50 cm away. Divide 100 by 50 and the result is 2 D of power needed to focus at this distance. The formula to remember is D = 100/F, where D is diopters and F is the focal length (or distance) in centimeters. This explanation is from this file here :-


In the case of our viewer the distance between the lenses and our ipod is approx 158mm i.e 15.8cms.

So dividing 100 by 15.8cms = 6.32 diopters approx. (Which we have rounded to say...6 diopters in our case.)

Hope this helps.

Let me know what you'll think of this 3D viewer - Virtual reality Headset. :-)

If you wish to learn how to shoot 3D photos and Videos using your smartphones, and also how to align them so that you can view them in such viewers, or on your 3D LCDs,LEDs then let me know via your comments and I will put up an INSTRUCTABLE for just that.

Just for fun, and to whet your appetites, here is a link to a 3D video which I shot using two lenovo S820 smartphones mounted side by side on a DIY wooden rig which I had built.



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    6 years ago

    Whether watchmaker's loupe will happen? They are cheap. Two of these are little more than a dollar.


    Reply 6 years ago

    batvanio, sorry for my late reply. The watchmaker's loupe should be able to focus at a distance of approximately 15 centimeters, or more. If it focuses at shorter distances then 3D convergence, for an ipod screen size or mobile screen size of 4.5 to 4.7 inches will be difficult for our eyes and will cause eye strain & headaches. Also shorter distance focus lenses will tend to magnify the pixels too much & the picture quality will suffer & not appear very sharp. You can try the loupes, since they are not very expensive, and see what happens. Do let me know your experience & thanks for reading my instructable.

    Vatsal gala
    Vatsal gala

    6 years ago

    Is there sme relation between the focal length and lenght of the cardboard vr? Or its based on trial and error.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, Vatsal, there is a relationship between the length of the cardboard & the focal length of the lenses. I have explained the same in detail, in STEP 2 of the Instructable. Click on the "View all the steps" button, and then scroll down to STEP 2 for the explanation.

    Thanks for reading my Instructable.


    7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this! I bought a USD 3 Google cardboard, it was great until it quickly broken, so I start to rebuild it using plexiglass (bought it from local bookstore, it was sold as stand for flyer, so.I cut it using hacksaw, scroll.saw and dremel. Join each parts using cyanoacrylate (super.glue) and silicon hot glue (acrylic glue is rare to find). I am yet to paint the body black.with.spray paint. The problem is, its lenses are cheapo plastic and I can feel the imperfectness on their.edge... Now that you are using real optical lenses, I am so eager to try it...well have you try cardboard yet? You only need to add a neodymium.magnet for triggering action in cardboard..


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I like that you go into the science behind the optics. This really serves to show people that 3D viewing isn't restricted to high-end equipment. Nicely done.