Making of the Nanoscope




The iPod Nano screen is too small.

A parody product with video was created and I was fortunate enough to get mass internet exposure. See it on youtube at:

Introducing Nanoscope

I was asked to create a guide of sorts for this site, so here goes...

The mod itself really isn't too hard to duplicate, which is fortunate, as I don't have any 'before' shots, so some mild photoshopping might occur :) Also I will try and detail the areas that need attention to make this work, rather than just showing photos.

For any mod at all I recommend a Dremel like product. Ease of access and in this case its higher speed settings were handy for melting through plastic which turned out to be much faster than the conventional cutting and sanding approach. This does have the downside of flicking bits of molten plastic pretty much everywhere so wear eye protection and have a vacuum cleaner nearby.

The original slide viewer used is a somewhat rare Photax Solar 3. This was chosen because it could be purchased from a friend for two pints :D Before that it came from a second hand camera shop I am told.

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Step 1: First Step: Remove Wiring

I'm afraid I don't have any great photos of this stage, however it is not too difficult.

The first part is making getting rid of the lamp housing (mine just slid out), and pulling out the rest of the wiring. In the Solar 3 the wiring takes the form of copper or brass metal strips which are pop-rivited onto the plastic. Lacking any special tool to remove these, I just drilled 'em with the trusty Dremel and then the metal came easily away.

Step 2: Next Up: Making the IPod Fit

This has two sections: The lid and the slide mount itself.

The first part I did was to widen the slide holder slot. This involved nearly cutting through the plastic on several occasions since it isnt very thick. The slot on mine tapers towards the bottom too, so watch out for going through the plastic accidentally here especially.

I should say that for most of this I was using a small drill like bit on the Dremel that was like a rounded ball and could remove material if the Dremel was moved sideways, something like a milling machine bit. This also gave the recess a nice curved fit to accomodate the iPod's profile.

Basic technique here:
1) Try and fit the iPod.
2) Look to see where it isn't fitting.
3) Cut relevent section away.
4) Repeat.

The same highly professional technique also works for the lid.

Step 3: Cutting the Speaker Brackets

The speakers I used came from a 2 Pound set of passive (no batteries) speakers that just plug directly into the headphone socket. Mine came from Argos (UK chain catalogue store, but they have now stopped selling them).

This step might not be necessary depending on your speaker size. For me, the only way to make the speakers fit was to cut the middle bits of each wall of the battery compartments away. This was more Dremel work. I drilled in about 5mm, but this will also vary with your speaker size. The removable middle section here definitely helps ease of access.

After making sure the lid fitted with the speakers in place, I glued them in with super glue. Then tie some of the excess wiring about parts of the viewer. This should also stop any pull on the cord detaching them from the speaker cones.

Step 4: Final Step: Drill Air Holes to Let the Sound Out

For this step I carefully marked out where I wanted the holes to be, used a screw driver to 'drill' small pilot holes, and then let the Dremel completely ignore their location as it tore through wherever it saw fit. Lesson learned: go slowly.

Either way, you now should have a nicely working Nanoscope of your own to show off round the ghetto :)

Hope this helps you,

Mark Irwin

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    26 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool! Reminds me of old Soviet TVs which had a small CRT and had to have a lens system in order to magnify the image.

    Sadly not, du to the encrypted firmware popularity of late.. Quicktime can flip videos upside down however. Turning a dvd rip upside down doesn't provide that much of a computational overhead when the movie must already be scaled to ipod resolution.

    I'm not sure about on PC, but on Mac, if you can get access to Quicktime Pro its in: Window -> Show Movie Properties -> Select the video track -> One of the tabs has a button for rotate 90 degrees. Just click it twice. Then choose export to iPod as you would do normally. It doesn't take up any extra encoding time at all that I can tell. Regards, Mark Irwin


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I love it. Believe it or not, this takes me back to childhood.... Back in the late 70's or early 80's, my grandfather had a similar idea. He had a 19" black and white TV with a 36" Fresnel Lense on a stand in front of it to make the picture bigger. It kind of had this greenish tint to it but it worked. I still remember watching Automan on it! LOL! FYI: I saw some smaller Fresnel Lenses for sale at Electronic Goldmine recently, but they don't have any right now. Great Job!


    11 years ago on Step 4

    Around the 'ghetto' - which part of JMH is that now? :P Awesome Instructable man


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Although the way this has been done is excellent I do not really see any sense, surely the reason the guy bought a ipod nano in the first place is because he wanted a small device, nano = small afterall. If a foldable and therefore more portable solution could be developed then it could work but then you could just buy a ipod touch instead.

    2 replies

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Its Either i make this or get those video gogles for my Ipod Video...But because im a nerd ill probably get the glasses. good instructable though.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Chariots of fire!!!! Rotfl!! oh my god thats funny! Oh and great instructable!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Thats pretty cool, but i don't have one of the new generation nanos, I have the 1st gen blocky one.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! If I can find the viewer I'm making one. Congrats on making engadget!