Introduction: Solar Eclipse Viewer & Video Recorder. Made in TechShop.

In this Instructables, I will show how to make a Solar Eclipse Viewer and Video Recorder using a leftover box from our favorite sandwich shop.

Step 1: Introduction

Here in the United States of America, we are blessed with a special celestial event know as Total Solar Eclipse. This year, the shadow of the moon is cast from East Coast to West Coast of the USA. Also, the Sun would be totally block by the moon during this event. When the Sun is totally blocked, there would be total darkness for a few seconds during daytime. The full event before the blocking, the fully blocked and the fully unblocked time would take a few minutes.

Not all countries could view Solar Eclipse. In a few countries, they would only see Partial Solar Eclipse. Only a portion of the Sun would be blocked.

You could Google search for more information. I found the article below quite informative.

Here in Detroit, Michigan. We will have a nice partial eclipse. I hope the clouds won't be on the way.

Step 2: One Safe Way

For welders, they could use the welder's helmet. I bought one last year from Harbor Freight. You set the dim to dimmest at #13 setting. Set to fast delay and high sensitivity. Many people went to welding supply store and bought welders' shade(s), the number need to add up to #14. At the Harbor Freight store that I went to this morning, they were out of it a week of the #13 shades a week ago.

There are also many solar viewer that could be purchased. At this time, local store likely ran out of supplies and it would be too late to purchase online.

If you missed buying the welders' shades or solar eclipse viewer, don't feel too sad. Search Instructables and YouTube to find other way to make up for the shades.

I will show you how I made a solar viewer and video recorder. The original idea was from a YouTube video. I added the smartphone video feature. Those I used TechShop Epilog laser cutter, you could do it with a sharp blade.

I used an empty Jimmy John's sandwich box after everyone enjoyed the delicious sandwiches.

Step 3: Steps

* Get a suitable empty box.

* Layout and cut the holes shown. Two large 2.5" holes. A camera opening. A rectagular ring holder.

* On the inside surface, across from the hole, paste a sheet of white paper.

* Cut a rectangular piece of aluminum sheet from an empty pop can. Allow ample overlay.

* Insert on the left side of the hole. Use a pin to punture a hole. Keep the burrs inside the box for safety and unobstructed run ray.

* Close the box. Look into the box through the right hole (cover the camera holes). Use opaque black tapes to seal all lights leaking into the box from the box edges.

* Test it well ahead of time of the Solar Eclipse. Practice on how to hold your viewer for a few minutes This is important step so that you won't make mistake and force yourself looking into the Sun. If problem happen in real time, remember NEVER look into the Sun even for a second. It is not worth losing your eyesight. You could always watch videos online later on.

* How to use the viewer. Install your smartphone, Turn Video on. Face directly backward from the Sun. Position the box so that you are looking into the right hole. Move the box so that the Sun rays get through the pin hole and you see a round dot on the white surface.

* Thank you for reading my Instructables. Enjoy and be safe.

Step 4: Lessons Learned:

* The welding helmet would not protect your eyes 100% of the time. Just before is reach climax, the glass dimness turns off and your eyes are unprotected for an unacceptable amount of time. Also, when the clouds partially cover the Sun, your eyes would be unprotected.

* Placing your camera inside the helmet won't create good image.

* The bright spot (Sun) in the viewer box is so tiny. I think the pin hole should have been much larger to make the bright spot about an inch to begin with. I will have to experiment on the hole size and report back.

* The camera also did not get good images using video or phote mode. Perhaps the bright spot is not too clear or too small.

* I tried the solar glass view, they work very nice.

* In retrospect, it is kind of dumb to buy one viewer shade for every person. The small one-time deal cardboard box cost $20 or more. The event is so slow motion and many people could share one pair of solar viewing shades.

* No matter how careful you are, you will still suffer some after effects.

* I got a tip that using a high power scope with magnification, one could get an inverted image shining backward through the scope.

* Best is taking time lapse photo and not video of the event. Perhaps, every 1 or 5 minutes.

* Next Total Solar Eclipse in the USA is in 2024. Here's one link This time, it would be closer to Detroit, Michigan.

* Thank you for reading and allow me to share my experiences. I had a memorable day to remember today.