Wooden Cell Phone Projector!

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About: Come spend some time in the shop. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and professional computer geek in Northern California. I guess my projects will vary widely, and I have no clue what I plan to make next...

Intro: Wooden Cell Phone Projector!

Make a wooden projector for your cell phone. And if you happen to watch the Force Awakens trailer 4 times in a row on your shop wall, well it is Star Wars day so who can blame you!

This one is made from 1/8 Baltic Birch plywood and measures, 6" x 5 1/2" x 3" and has a lens savaged from an old projector.

Step 1: Cutting Your Stock

So the idea for this project came from an old projector I found in a tech warehouse. I brought it back to shop and removed some of the bits. One lens in particular seemed of use. Wait you don't have a slide projector from the 1970's?! A magnifying glass lens from the local dollar tree would also work!

The wood is just 1/8 birch plywood. The dimensions were for my iPhone 5 with an otterbox case. You will need to size your box for your phone.

bottom & top = 5 1/2" x 6"

Sides = 3" x 6"

Front and Back = 3" 5 1/4 (to allow then to be inset from the sides and top)

Step 2: Side Decorations

The side decorations are copied from a picture I found of the death star panels. http://www.niubniubsuniverse.com/download/Download...

I simply put the image into Inkscape and created an SVG file for my CNC to cut out. It's a bit of a process and probably too much of a side track for this Instructable. Regardless it made a nice design.

I painted it with dark gray paint, and sanded it off to give it the look in the photo.

Next I cut a window in my two side panels on the scroll saw to give the project some depth. Otherwise it's just a rather boring looking box.

Step 3: Front Lens

The front lens was about 2 3/8" in diameter. I only know that because that's the size forstner bit I used to make the hole, and it was almost a perfect fit.

Now I made a mistake by messing with the lens and scratching it all to hell. I was attempting to remove a tiny scratch and instead destroyed the lens. I would suggest you skip this step altogether

I had to start over and pick another, less functional lens from the projector. It was smaller and more curved. It worked okay, but I think my original would have worked better!

Step 4: Assembly and Finishing Touches

At this point you can just glue the 5 sides together. (not the top!) I used regular wood glue and some cabinet clamps.

While that dried I cut out the symbol for the rebel alliance and put a quick coat of red paint on it.

The next day, when the glue had dried, I added the top symbol with some super glue and gave the whole project a coat of polyurethane for protection.

Step 5: Putting It to Use

Now that everything is dry and finished, let's test this out!

Turn up the brightness on your phone.

Pick your video of choice and set the screen to landscape and invert the image. (on the iPhone I used the "Assistive Touch" setting to accomplish this)

Then place the device in the box.

You'll have to play with the spacing between the lens and the phone to find the sweet spot. On mine, it was about 3" away.

The image wasn't bad. (Though my video camera doesn't film well in low light) I got about a 15" vertical picture on my wall in decent focus.

It certainly will not replace my TV, but it is a fun toy to play with!

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    26 Discussions

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    joshgriswold

    3 years ago on Introduction

    i am trying to make this for as cheap as possible and i need a lens that will work but don't know where to get one or what kind to get. if you could send me a link to where i could buy a lens for it that would be great.

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    bennelsonjoshgriswold

    Reply 4 months ago

    Science and surplus stores are great places to get lenses.
    Otherwise a plain magnifying glass can work well and are widely available.

    would it be possible to use more camera lenses to inprove and increase the quality/size index?

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    cookaka

    3 years ago

    Would you be able to estimate what quality it projects in? Are we looking at closer to 240p or 480p?

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    QazW2cookaka

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    aw, comme on.... where are your brainz?

    the lens will project whatever pixel count your phone has
    if your phone is 240p thats all the quality you will get

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    ir_One

    3 years ago

    you have link for app android to switch view device..

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    bigone5500

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I would like to know where you got the corner braces for gluing.

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    okiebookie

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Look for a Kodak Electa-Light screen from the 70's. Or maybe an old analog projector TV screen. Both are light grey (increased contrast) and curved (concentrates light to viewer's eyes). In 1975 I killed my mother's 5" Sony TV playing it upside down and projecting it thru a slide projector lens. I had a 48" picture in a totally darken room.

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    gary delatte

    3 years ago

    Would it work with a flat magnifing lens? Great 'ible, love Star Wars!

    1 reply
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    aleiva3

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I also did something similar but with adjustable focus

    http://next-technologies.net/media/ochi/index.html

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    grey_starr

    3 years ago on Introduction

    This is a sweet way to make a projector for some Halloween setup - such as the moving statue faces.

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    anicolaikludge77

    Reply 3 years ago

    Great, you could point the insite black. The image should improve a little bit.