Introduction: Night Vision Goggles Cheap
Worried about not being able to see an night attack by the zombie horde? Do you want to experience a hike through the woods without the tripping and inability to see? Here is a cheap easy project that turns a kids toy into a pretty sweet night vision goggles setup.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Jewelers Drill Press
Philips Head Screw Driver
EyeClops 2.0 (for more info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOpJzH0XX-c)
Heat Shrink Casing
Screws and Nuts Fit to Mask Holes
Aproximately $30-$60 depending on what materials you have on hand. The fancy tools are largely optional and merely expedite the process
Step 2: Shrinking Form Factor
Realize box is almost all dead space.
Remove plastic nubs holding wires in place.
Cut apart; I used a band saw to remove plastic sections.
(just to clarify cut so the front electronics section has a clean cut line that will sit on face of mask)
Undo solder on battery pack leads to make this easier / so you do not break wires. You may also consider lengthening the wires to make the project easier.
Step 3: Mounting
Mounting is tricky.
I went through 4 prototypes before settling on welding mask.
The welding mask is largely unchanged by this process and can still be used for welding.
Remove the welding eye shield by unscrewing.
Use drill press to pilot holes from inside of mask through screw holes.
Refine and widen holes with drill press (or equivalent tool) on outward facing side of welding mask
Screw in screws. Depth will be determined by electronics section (you set depth to allow the electronics section to sit flush).
To mount electronics slide first screw in and push electronics/mount towards other screw and slide on. pressure actually holds the electronics very firmly. Obviously you can mount in a more permanent way but that will almost certainly compromise the masks original utility. If you do Go with permanent mounting I suggest cutting down the welding mask form factor on top (cut the section above the head gear mounting points) and using a fabric drop cloth to eliminate light leak.
Internally very straight forward.
Battery pack is mounted into a pocket that you can make with duct tape. I did a simple two pieces of double sided duct tape in a cross with the ends not being double sided so as to adhere to the inner wall of the mask.
Extra nuts to lock on switch and double lock other screw.
Use a piece of black electrical tape on the mask face to eliminate any leaking light from upper meeting point of mask and electronics section
Step 5: Conclusion
The Eyeclops gives incredible night vision performance for the price-point (total cost was probably under $50 for all parts). That said the original form factor and lack of a head mount was a major letdown. I hope I have mitigated these issues.
If you plan on head mounting in an alternative fashion know that you have a minimum distance away from the face the internal screen must sit. Also the head gear really must be rigid. I tried soft elastics with buckles for head gear and had absolutely no luck. The Eyeclops cut down weighs under a pound but that is still heavy if suspended inches in front of the face.
I really think both the look and the functionality of this project turned out great. I will likely more firmly secure the internals after a bit more beta testing. I will also likely convert the battery pack to some sort of rechargeable system. I don't know whether or not I will shrink down the welding mask form factor. As I mentioned earlier in the instructable this is very readily doable as is more firmly mounting the electronics. That said I think the current setup far exceeds good enough and looks damn sexy. This is a build you won't regret doing. I really do take this out on nature hikes and though it has some field of depth issues and doesn't do fast action real time, for a hike it is perfect.