Make Your Own 3D Viewer (A Glass Prism), to View Cross Eye SIDE BY SIDE(CES) Images, Stereograms and Videos in 3D

Introduction: Make Your Own 3D Viewer (A Glass Prism), to View Cross Eye SIDE BY SIDE(CES) Images, Stereograms and Videos in 3D

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…

A do it yourself glass prism, filled with water or glycerin oil, to view 3D Side by Side (CES) Photos, i.e. (CES)stereograms and (CES)Videosclearly and easily, without you having to learn the cross eye method.

This project shows you how to build such a 3D viewing prism ,as cheaply as possible, without compromising on the final quality of the resultant 3D View.
So here goes.... and Happy Viewing.

This is a very easy way to make your own 3D Cross eye Side by Side, Prism viewer, to view side by side content, which is so easily available on the net, or which you have photographed yourself ! You can also view 3D side by side movies available on youtube or elsewhere without having to buy an expensive 3D TV !! Yes, this works on any ordinary TV or monitor and the result is full colour 3D, unlike the anaglyph(Red/Cyan) 3D which distorts the colours of the photo or video.

Step 1: A Very Easy Way to Make Your Own 3D Side by Side Prism Viewer

So let’s begin :-

You will need :-

1. A CD plastic cover like the one shown in the photo above. (Basically any flexible piece of plastic or waterproof material which is easy to cut.)

This is going to be used to make the base of the prism. Cost in Indian Rupees Rs.5.

You can also simply use a 6 inch plastic ruler, like the one you use to draw straight lines with. In fact a 6 inch ruler would be easier to use as a base, to stick the cut glass pieces on. (Then you don't need to cut anything) :-)

Step 2: Next You Need 3 Pieces of Ordinary Clear Glass :

You will need 3 pieces of ordinary clear glass. The big piece is of size 5 inches in length and 1.75 inches in height. The two smaller pieces of glass are of size 2.75 inches in length and 1.75 inches in height. (A template is given at the bottom of the instructable).

You can get the pieces of glass cut to this size by any glass cutting shop.

Alternatively you can also use clear transparent pieces of acrylic sheet. But the glass pieces will give a clearer image.

Cost =Rs.30.

Step 3: Sticking the Glass Pieces Onto the Plastic Base

We need to stick the Big piece of glass and the two small pieces of glass onto the plastic or ruler, as shown above :-

(Note :- The flexible piece of plastic (or a 6 inch ruler....) is simply the base, so that we can fill water into the glass without it flowing out.)

Tip :- I used a 6 inch plastic ruler, ( like the one we use in school to draw straight lines with), as the base of the prism in another prism which I built later. The ruler (since it is made of hard plastic), makes the base of the glass prism stronger.

Step 4: the Adhesives You Can Use.

Use fast drying clear araldite adhesive, or any other fast drying waterproof adhesive:-

If you choose to use Araldite then you need to mix equal amounts of
the adhesive from both the tubes together, and then use.

The drying time is about 5 minutes for the initial bond. But let it dry for an hour or two. Cost=Rs.40.

You can also use a silicone based adhesive or plain and simple Super Glue to do the job.

Step 5: The Center Divider Piece

Use a small piece of plastic(acrylic) or a thin piece of wood as the center divider piece, which you need to stick to the center of the Big piece of glass, as can be seen in the images above. This piece of plastic can be cut from old plastic CD Covers(the black portion) or can be any other piece of thin plastic or thin wood available with you. I have used a piece of discarded sunmica or laminate which I found lying around in my house, as some furniture had been recently built. (Ensure that this piece is not transparent.)

If you did everything right and stuck the glass pieces onto the base correctly, then your prism will look like what is shown above.

Step 6: Fill the Prism With Water or Glycerin Oil.

Once everything is all dry, we simply need to fill clean water(bottled drinking water) into the glass prism, which we have just built. If you detect any leaks than remove the water, and apply more glue-adhesive around all the joints and let dry. Fill with water again and check for leaks.

You can also fill clear Glycerin oil instead of water. (Its refractive index is better than the refractive index of water).

Glycerin is available at all chemists or medical shops. It looks like the bottle in the image above. Cost of Glycerin =Rs.24 for 100gram bottle. You can make two prisms with the contents of one bottle.

Fill it up to the top but avoid spills. (I have used water in my prism as it is more convenient to handle)
You may seal off the top of the prism, if you so desire, by gluing some more flexible plastic on to the top of the prism.
I have left the top open for easy cleaning of the glass if it becomes dirty from inside.



Display a Side by Side image on your monitor.
You can download some Side by Side images suitable for viewing with this prism from here :-

Hold the prism filled with Water or Glycerin oil in front of your eyes, close to your face as shown in the illustration above.

You may hold it with either the flat side facing you, or the angled side towards doesn't matter.
Hold it as you would hold a binocular...close to your face.

The images which appear as two images on the monitor will turn into three images when you hold the prism in front of your eyes. The image in the center will be the 3D image.

My monitor is a 26 inch LCD and I get a comfortable 3D view, sitting approximately 2.5 feet(30inches) to 3.5 feet (40inches) away from the monitor.


The Side by Side Cross eye image as seen WITHOUT the PRISM will be displayed as shown above.



If you see four images then come closer to the monitor or move further back, till you can see only three images.

THE IMAGE IN THE CENTER will be the one which is VISIBLE IN 3D.

With some trial and error on your sitting distance between the monitor and yourself, you will see the center image in FULL COLOUR & MAGNIFICIENT 3D.
Total cost of this glass prism in US dollars, will be approximately $2 to $3 max. In India it cost me around Rs.110 to build.

HAVE FUN !!! ..... Thanks. :-)

I have built another fun and easy to make 3D viewer, just like the google cardboard viewer.
Here is the link :

Do check it out.

Step 10: A Diagram (TEMPLATE) to Help You Build the Prism. Print It on A4 Size Paper.

A Diagram (TEMPLATE) to help you build the prism. Print it on A4 size paper. Do not resize the image. Print it on A4 paper as is.

Note that the angle between the two small glasses and the big glass is 18 degrees.

Some helpful links :
Stereo photo maker : for editing side by side images.

3D side by side images gallery:-

And once again, Happy Viewing ! :-)
HAVE FUN !!! ..... Thanks. :-)

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    Thank you rimar2000 for your comments.

    Sir, I have mentioned on the opening page that this DIY glass prism is for
    viewing CROSS EYE SIDE BY SIDE images, stereograms and videos (CES).
    It is for those of us who find it difficult to cross our eyes to view such side by side content.

    Thank you once again for your encouragement. :-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Warning: Cross-Eyes Stereograms (CES) don't are the same thing that Side-by-side stereograms. Your viewer is proper to see CES, not Side-by-side.

    To view Side-by-side, the prisms must be in opposite way, it is to say the thinner part at the center.

    Anyway, it is a good idea.