Recycled Glass Microscope

Introduction: Recycled Glass Microscope


Microscope is an instrument used to magnify tiny objects. This microscope was a hobby project of mine back in my high school days during 2015. This was constructed without the aid of mathematical design, but only by trial and error and experiment. This was originally a telescope, but I decided to convert it into a microscope so I can study things like leaf structure, salt, hair, insects and others. It was hooked up from the excess glass used for the constructions of classroom windows which I took home from school. The lenses are from an old family camera that was no longer used together with a magnifying glass. The magnification is roughly 20-25x as will be seen at the end of this Instructable. So over-all, as named, this is a Recycled Glass Microscope since 90% of it was taken from would-be trash and old stuffs.

So, let's get started.


1. Set of lenses
2. Magnifying Glass
3. Glass sheets
4. Wood as base
5. Paper
6. Glue sticks
7. Glue gun
8. Milk tea straw
9. Piece of illustration board
10. Acetate or any clear surface
11. Simple Glue

Step 1: Understanding the Materials and the Construction

The main component of a Microscope is lenses. If you're planning to recreate this project on your own, I recommend that you look for an old camera, from there you will find lenses (and/ or compound lenses). If you can't find one, try to look for cheap tiny lenses (single tiny, and a compound) from online stores like Amazon. This Recycled Glass Microscope has three stage of magnification:

1. Base Lens
2. Middle Lenses (Compound Lenses)
3. Upper Lens

The Upper Lens used is a magnifying glass with 3x magnification, so if you don't have magnifying glass yet, you'll need to buy one. Since this does not incorporate mathematical instructions, you have to do trial and error once you found your set of lenses. The trial and error will determine the distances of the lenses from each other. The distances are:

1. From the object to the Base Lens
2. From the Base Lens to the Middle Lenses
3. From the Middle Lenses to the Upper Lens
4. From the Upper Lens to the Eye

Lucky I am, the distance from the Object to the Base Lens and the distance from the Base Lens to the Middle Lens is also the thickness of the Glass Sheets.

Step 2: Wash the Glasses

Wash the glass first to remove the dirt which would cause blurriness on the magnified image. Rinse them an use soap as necessary and wipe using a cotton cloth. Be careful with the edges, often times they are very sharp and can cut skin.

Step 3: Cover the Wood With White Paper

Cover the wood with white paper. There we will put the object under observation and the covered wood will serve as the base of the entire microscope. A bond paper was used in here and it fits the job. Use glue to stick the sides of the wood with the paper. It is recommended to cover the wood first with something hard like illustration board, a card board would do.

Step 4: Glue the Base Glasses

The base glasses should be spaced as shown. The space in between will serve as a compartment for the object holder. Glue the glasses with the paper-covered wood base using hot melt glue. Lightly remove the strands of hot melt glue that stick on the glass.

Step 5: Glue the Second Base Glass and the Base Lens

Glue the base glass on top of the two base glasses as shown. Again, secure them using hot melt glue carefully injecting it on the edge of the glass. Place the lens on the center of the base glass.

Step 6: Glue the Pair of Middle Glasses

Do the same as the two base glasses in which the second layer pair must be parallel with the previous pairs. Put again a middle glass where we will put the compound lenses. In short, we will just repeat the steps we did in #4 and #5. Place the compound lenses in parallel with the base lens, it must be collinear to it.

Step 7: Glue the Straw Stand

The length of the straw must be the optimum distance from the compound lenses to the upper lens. Measure this distance and cut the four straws according to that length. Glue the Straw to the corners of the middle glass.

Step 8: Glue the Top Glass

The final glass sheet is the top portion, where we will place the top lens or the magnifying class. Hot glue it to the ends of the straws.

Step 9: Place the Final Lens

Once the hot melt glue is dry, place the magnifying glass on top of the top glass. The magnifying glass must be aligned to the compound lens and with the base lens. If one of them is not aligned, the image will not be projected correctly and clearly.

Step 10: Creating a Sample Holder

A sample holder is good for tiny samples so they come in handy. Measure the width of the space between the two base glasses (the object compartment). The thickness of the sample holder depends upon the thickness of the compartment itself (which is also the thickness of the glass sheets). I put together three of the illustration board and it fits the thickness. On top of the illustration board, I hot glued a clear sheet of acetate from a mouse casing (and my glue gun casing) on the sides. Cut another sheet of acetate to serve as a "Lock" for the sample.

Step 11: View Tiny Objects

Once finished, you can start using your homemade recycled glass microscope to observe tiny objects. Best used with insects such as tick, ants, and mosquito; surfaces such as paper, leaf, and cloth; and others among all. Just be curious so you will discover a lot of things in a microscope world. I find night time or a dark room best to view the objects with a help of a lamp. Enjoy, and God bless!

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