Cheap and Easy Macro Lens for Phone

About: I'm a retired IT professional and now enjoying life. The most stressful part of my day these days is feeding the chooks and mowing the grass on my Kubi mini tractor. I have always been a tinkerer and handyma...

This instructable will show just how easy it is to make a Macro Lens for your smart phone. All you need is a torch with a zoom lens and if possible, a case from an old phone to mount the lens. In fact, all you really need is the torch lens as you can mount the lens on your phone by other methods such as blu-tack or sticky tape for example.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

IN my case, I already had the torch and an old case off a Galaxy III which died a long time ago. The torch is still functional, so I am just going to temporarily borrow the lens when I have the need to take close up photos of something small.

Step 2: Tools Required

This is a list of the tools I had on hand to make this project. None are really necessary as there are alternative methods to achieve the same outcome,

Calliper Calibration tool

Hole punch

Hammer

Screw driver.

The hammer looks a bit out of place for a build of this nature, but rest assured it's not for use on the phone or torch.

Step 3: Modify the Old Phone Case.

Fortunately my current phone fitted into my old Galaxy III case even with the protective cover on. Not a perfect fit, but enough to hold on firmly.

I began by cutting the old case on half as it was much too short to fit over my phone.

Inverting the case upside down, i measured the position of where the lens hole had to be punched out so as to have the lens perfectly centred. Using a calibrator, the hole needed to be roughly 22mm.

I only had a 3/4" (19mm) hole punch on hand which would have to do. You could of course drill out the hole or shape with a box cutter as another means of achieving this. The hole doesn't have to be that accurate.

Step 4: Extracting the Lens

Unscrew the top of the torch to expose the lens within, and carefully prise out of it's casing. Mine popped out without issue.

I found that with this lens (which is flat on one side), I didn't have to fiddle around to find the focal point. The lens sitting directly on the phone gave a sharp image.

Step 5: My Case After Modification.

This is the finished product. I could of course glued the lens to the case, however as I mentioned previously, I still want to keep my torch operational.

You can also just attach the lens directly to the phone with blu-tack as shown above, but be careful you don't let it fall off and get scratched, damaged or lost.

Step 6: End Result

Here's the result of the magnification that can be achieved.

I think I need to invest in a mini camera tripod rather than holding the phone in one hand, juggling my tablet in the other and trying to get them both in focus - anyhow you get the picture...pardon the pun.

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    8 Discussions

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    AceSound

    1 day ago

    Super simple, but practical, thanks!

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    RayP24

    27 days ago

    Brilliant! I'll be keeping an eye out for an old phone case and led lens now. Thanks for sharing:)

    6 replies
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    AussieAlfOrngrimm

    Reply 25 days ago

    Mine was free and on hand, so didn't have to wait 2 months to ship from China, but thanks, may help someone if they want a permanent solution to mine

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    RayP24AussieAlf

    Reply 25 days ago

    I called my local electronics shop to see if they supply them. They only have a triple led lens. I think I'll give it a go. It should work lining it up with just one lens....or all three for unusual effects. I'll let you know how it goes.

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    AussieAlfRayP24

    Reply 25 days ago

    Hi Ray,
    I got my torch from a camping shop for about $10 bucks.
    I would be interested in how your tripple led lense's go, especially any unusual effects. Cheers

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    RayP24AussieAlf

    Reply 25 days ago

    Unfortunately the lense they had was for the standard leds. It had holes at the back so it wasn't suitable....Not to worry I'll keep looking or just order on line. I do like to reuse parts from old and broken stuff but going out and buying something to take it apart sort of defeats the purpose. Cheers!

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    AussieAlfRayP24

    Reply 25 days ago

    Hi Ray,
    Totally agree..I returned the borrowed lens to my torch. This of course is not a permanent solution if you are taking lots of macro photos. Good luck in sourcing one.