Super-magnifier Webcam Lamp




Introduction: Super-magnifier Webcam Lamp

About: Writer, engineer, techie. I've been using computers since the original Apple II in 1978 and have always been interested in technical topics. Check out my articles on They include how-to p…

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If your vision’s not perfect it helps to have a good magnifying glass. I saw a commercial video magnifier – basically a small video camera on a swing arm which you connect to a television set and realized a DIY solution could be far better – using a webcam for far higher resolution than a television set.

Materials –

An adjustable desk lamp which can be aimed down.

A webcam and computer display. It helps to have a large monitor.

A 1/4"-20 bolt, about 1.5 inches long.
A 1/4"-20 nut.
A 1/4"-20 free spinning washer nut.

The hardware is available at any decent hardware store for about $1.50.

This project is very similar to my swing-arm lamp, but fixed in a single position to optimize it for magnifying reading materials.

Step 1: Drill Hole

Drill a 1/4 inch hole in the lamp’s light shield. Clean any burrs out the hole.

You’ll want to place the hole in a place where the mounted webcam will face down toward the table.

Step 2: Insert Bolt

Insert the bolt into the hole you just made with the bolt sticking out. Screw the normal nut on top. You can glue the nut and bolt in place for a more permanent and stronger setup.

Step 3: Add Free Spinning Washer

Screw the free spinning washer on the bolt with the washer facing out.

Step 4: Attach Webcam

Screw the webcam on the bolt and tighten it in place with the free spinning washer.

Use a couple of bread twist-ties or nylon ties to attach the USB cable to the lamp to keep the cable out of the way. Make sure the cable won’t interfere with the lamp’s normal movements.

Install the webcam’s software on your computer.

Step 5: You're Done

Just run the webcam software in full screen mode and point the lamp down and put the material you want to read under it. The lamp can help illuminate the material. This is especially useful for reading fine print on maps, bus schedules, and similar fine print documents.

Make sure you check out my other instructables and web magazine for other interesting projects.

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    6 years ago

    Nice i like it want to buy for one of friend


    10 years ago on Step 5

    I commend you for the idea - it's really great and I have been looking for a web cam that doesn't clip onto a screen etc - mainly because we have a house full of desktops and I want a stand that is a bit higher than my screen/s. I have an old lamp that is going to be upcycled - and will make a great stand for it. Just brilliant!


    10 years ago on Step 5

    Very simple and effective DIY! Whats even better is that both the webcam and the lamp can still be used for it's original purpose without disassembling everything. This could also be a very good webcam mount for skype or video chat. I have had a hard time finding a webcam with a tripod screw mount on these days. Seems like a lost standard. Microsoft has an HD cam with the tripod mount if anyone is looking.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    In at least one case I've found a webcam which pops apart from its base and has a 1/4-20 nut on the camera. At a minimum of the camera has a flat base you can glue on a 1/4-20 free spinning washer nut to add a tripod socket.