On Screen Stereo Viewer




About: No more fun than demolition, designing, building, experimenting! I like making things on a really low budget , so most people in this world, who are poor, might benefit from my ideas

Looking at a 3D anaglyph (for red/ green glasses) is an easy way to quickly see 3D in a stereo pic.
But red/ green glasses are not always around and in an anaglyph the color information is lost. A stereo pair can be printed in color and then viewed in a 3D viewer, but who wants to print everything.
Another option is the cross eye method, but if you want to show family and friends, hardly anyone can see and many complain about headache... (???)

This viewer is easily adjustable in height and distance to the screen.

Materials: 2 wooden boxes
a (piece of) mirror
discarded halogen fixture

tools: saw with fine teeth or hacksaw and small files for finishing
glass cutter

Step 1: The Base

Halogen fixtures ('study light') have been around for a while, so it is easy to pick one up a discarded one.

Remove the power cord and the top part where the lamp should be. Replace it by a piece of wood which can tilt back an forth, not too easy. Later the viewer will be glued on this piece of wood.

The 12 V transformer in the base is nice and heavy so the viewer will not topple over very easily. The fixture can tilt back and forward, the height can be adjusted

Step 2: The Inside of the Viewer

The viewer itself is made from a wooden box. The side toward the computer is mostly open. At both ends there is a mirror at 45 degrees, reflecting the light from the screen inside the box. In the middle of the box are 2 mirrors in a V shape of 2 X 45 degrees reflecting the light out of the box toward the observer. 2 holes on this side allow the light to reach the eyes.

Step 3: Building It

Cut the glass. the outer pieces should be as large as possible. I made them stick out of the box. Instead of making them rectangular, a trapezium shape would be better (wide ends on the outside). Next time better.

Cut one of the boxes diagonally. make a hole or slit at the bottom in the middle (see picture). This will serve as the mirror holder for the central part, towards the eyes. The lid of this box is not needed.

The screen side of the other box, which should be quite elongated, has to be cut in order to allow the view on screen to enter the box. Best is to take the mirrors, hold them in the proper position, and draw the line where to cut. The lid has to be cut in a similar way. The holes for the eyes have to be made as well

To support the outer mirrors, 2 pieces of wood have to be glued inside the box at 45 degrees (eye side). The mirrors can be glued on the wood with silicone putty.

I fixed the outer mirrors in the box, the inner mirror holder is bolted on the lid. Some play back and forth might be handy.

The picture shows the lid upside down behind the body.
In order to clean the mirrors I did not glue the lid on the body

Step 4: Displaying and Viewing

A simple way to prepare the images for viewing is to stick them into Word. The size is dependent on the dimensions of the viewer, always the same. So if you insert the pics in the document at full page width, check out which zoom factor is appropriate. Next time use the same factor, and display is always OK. Of course always check what is left and right, a good idea is to always name the pairs picL and picR.

Another cool experiment is to look through the viewer to objects in the room. Depth is greatly exaggerated, plants look very cool. This phenomenon is called hyperstereo



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    17 Discussions


    BobS, here is a link to a 3D viewer which can be made very easily, to view Cross eye side by side photos (Stereo pairs), on any regular TV, LCD, LED or Computer monitor.

    This simple viewer is for those of us who find it difficult to cross our eyes to view such cross eye photos and videos. Make one and see how easily you can now view such Cross eye side by side 3D images and videos. Here is the link to the instructable :-


    Happy viewing! :-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Did you use the "front surface" ohotography mirrors or just regular ones? Supposedly regular ones don't work perfectly (which makes sense when you see a diagram of it, but I don't have one to post), but it would be nice if it is minor enough to not really matter.

    1 reply

    I suddenly got an idea.... as with other ibles but I usually forget so I should list this

    astro boy

    9 years ago on Introduction

     this was especially what i wanted to build but i don't think i would be able to do fine wooden work like this can i use cardboard.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Materials: ... ... ... Spam! LOL


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I tried something like this a while back with two 14" displays and mirrors glued to foamcore... mine didn't work out so well :) Do you think a larger version of your stereoscope could be used with one adapter for each eye?

    I'd like to point out that any Nvidia card capable of running two displays (almost any card in the last 7 years) can run stereo 3d, with one eye's output on each screen!


    install the latest version of your nvidia driver (reboot), install the stereo driver (reboot) then go in to graphics settings, advanced, stereo 3d ... and specify '2 monitor' . Any 3d graphics your card can render (IE any game you've been playing already) will now be rendered in actual 3d!

    Sorry all, but this seems to be windows only...

    Thanks again for the awesome setup!!!

    4 replies

    Er...I wrote 'Do you think a larger version of your stereoscope could be used with one adapter for each eye?' I meant 'one adapter (stereoscope), large enough that each eye is focused on it's own monitor?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You know what: I had been thinking about this optical device to view full screen. Today I managed to get some optical stuff from a photo store which did 2nd hand sales. :) It is going out of business. So if my design (now only in my head) would work, you can look forward to an instructable in a week, or month or so.............


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Did not work out...Been getting quite busy lately.. I think the way forward is to employ the viewer screens of discarded digicams

    Wouldn't that be a toppy instructable!!!

    To hack the displays of former popular models!!!!!!

    The optics could easily be designed or to be determined by trial and error, if someone could hack the back screens of digicams. It could trigger a new generation of experiencing movies and games


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    with all the small netbooks out there sporting 800x400 or 1024x 600 displays... getting two of them (and getting them to work from VGA or DVI output) .. well... there's a lot ofreasonably high-res , small displays out there... and you could almost make a full stero headset out of those. Good to hear from you again!!! I'll see if I can track down replacement screens and encoder for a eee PC or an acer aspire one... and post the results.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    (It's anaglyph, not anagram.)

    How does this make a red/green anaglyph seem 3D? You have to filter the information to each eye so that each eye perceives a slightly different view - this does not do that.

    Or have you gotten mixed up with stereograms, which send two separate, slightly-different images to the eyes for the 3D effect?

    Example of an anaglyph

    Example of a sterogram

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the correction. When I make a pair of pics, to be viewed as stereo, I usually display them next to each other on the screen, and I cross my eyes. Works for me! But hardly any of my friends can do this, so I convert it into an anaglyph, so they can view. Because I do personal viewing only, I never think of the L and R pic as a stereogram, which it is of course. The viewer is to see 3D in a stereogram.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Without incorporating lenses into the system it will be a huge, furniture size contraption. But if you have enough space, it could be built. Another line of development would be to use smaller, high resolution screens. You would be on the way to make a virtual helmet.