Introduction: How to Make Your Own Document Camera for Around $20 or Less.

About: I've been teaching about 20 years. I love it. Kids are brilliant and fun to work with.

I'm a kindergarten teacher trying to find a way to make distance learning better. I needed a way to see what my students were working on so I began designing super cheap easy to use document cameras. My first designed was built around a .3MP camera--This camera's resolution did not work for most purposes. I designed a second document camera around a 1.3MP camera--this was better. All of the design work was done on Tinkercad.

I designed a third case for a 5MP camera. It cost $30 shipped from Aliexpress.

Before you start printing stuff up, decide which camera you want to use.


1 M2 Nut and M2 x30mm bolt-$1 --This is the hinge for our camera.

The 1.3MP HBV-1805--$15 on Amazon--This is a plug and play usb camera:

The 5mp OV5640 Camera $30 can be found here:

USB extender--$2

A student whiteboard--$7 (If you're a teacher, you should have a million of these!)

Order the parts preprinted or print them yourself using these .stl files:

Step 1: Design the Base.

I want my base to connect with a generic student whiteboard. I measured the whiteboard and create a virtual one in tinkercad. I turned this virtual whiteboard into a hole by clicking the hole button. I dragged a paraboloid on and stretched it a bit. I then dragged a cylinder and stretched it to 90mm. I pulled a second cylinder and brought its dimensions down to 5x5. I put the smaller cylinder on top of the bigger cylinder. Select both the cylinders and then click the align button. Align the small cylinder and merge cylinders together. Make a duplicate of the new cylinder by pressing command + D. Drag one of the new cylinders over to the paraboloid and center it using the align button, then merge the cylinder and the paraboloid. Position the virtual whiteboard on the paraboloid object and merge them--This will leave a space for a real whiteboard to be able to slide into.

Step 2: Make Connection Pole Parts

Make a duplicate of the cylinder again and turn it into a hole with the hole button. Position the none hole cylinder above the one with a hole. Make sure the cylinders are centered on each other and overlapping. Merge the hole cylinder with the none hole cylinder--This will leave a nice hole at the bottom of you pole so that you can connect the poles together. You can bring your camera closer to objects by removing a pole.

Step 3: Design Housing for Camera.

Measure the camera. Pick a shape for the housing and then cut a little space for the camera. I downloaded some other swivel connector from thingiverse and connected it to my camera housing. I then connected the female part of the swivel connector to a duplicate of my cylinder. I printed everything out and sanded a few rough spots, attached the housing with the 3M bolt, attached the usb extender, and plugged it into my computer. I started up Zoom and clicked on the video button on the bottom. I clicked on my camera and it started up on the first try.

Tinkercad Student Design Contest

Participated in the
Tinkercad Student Design Contest