Cheap and Easy Guide to How to Make a Digital Microscope

    Tick that “create something fun and worthwhile” off your bucket list with a DIY digital microscope. A cool new project to unleash the Einstein in you, this homemade digital microscope brings a worthwhile and educational experience from its creation down to its use.

    This project can help in developing your or your child’s planning, creativity, and love for natural sciences. A great plus is that it is so easy and fun that you can complete it in 3 to 5 minutes.

    Here is how you can recreate it:

    Materials Needed for the Digital Microscope

    Here are a few things you need for this project. Remember! You can use whatever is available at home.

    1. Hard Cardboard

    This will be the body or base of the microscope. We prefer using a hard one to ensure that the microscope has a sturdy base.

    2. Web Camera with Manual Focus Feature

    Via Amazon

    The webcam or camera should be small enough to fit the desired size of the microscope. It should also be connected to your computer to reflect what is seen by the camera. We suggest that you find a camera with a USB cable connector.

    3. Nuts and Bolts (large size)

    It should be large enough to serve as the adjusting tube of the digital microscope.

    4. Flat White Light Flashlight

    The flashlight will be made as the illuminator of the equipment. We prefer using a flat one rather than a rounded flashlight because it will be placed upwards later on.

    5. Hard Clear Plastic Sheet

    You can use a hard plastic (container of your webcam) or any clear frosted material that can be used as the microscope slide from where the specimens will be placed.

    The Tools

    • Pencil Or Any Markers
    • Ruler
    • Cutter

    How to Make It

    1. Making the Body

    We first start working on the body of the digital microscope.

    Step 1: From the cardboard, cut two U-figures of different sizes. These figures will be the stage and the lower base of the digital microscope.

    Step 2: To make the arm or spine of the microscope, cut a thick strip of cardboard with a rectangular opening on the upper part of the strip. The opening is where the lens mount will be inserted later on.

    The figures from Step 1 and Step 2 should look like these:

    Step 3: Glue the arm strip on the middle of the bigger U-figure, which is the base.

    Step 4: Glue the smaller U-figure (the stage) a few centimeters below the lower edge of the rectangular opening of the arm.

    Set the assembled body on the side and work on the second phase of our project - the lens.

    2. Working on the Lens

    In creating the lens, the process is based on the wonders of science and technology. The steps are quite simple but will require attention and care due to the sensitivity of the technology involved

    Step 5: Now, get your web camera and open it up with the use of a screwdriver to reveal the inner construction of the technology, specifically open the area where the camera’s lens is located.

    Reminder! Every camera has a different anatomy. We suggest that you identify where the camera lens is located to guide you how to proceed without breaking anything since we need the camera to be working.

    Step 6: Once the camera’s body is open, careful remove the lens out from the body.

    Reminder! If you are not confident with your skills to safety remove the lens, you can ask someone to do it for you. Make sure that they know how.

    Step 7: Glue the lens back to the camera. But, this time invert or reverse the installation (turn it upside down). This will now give you lens similar to that of a microscope.

    The end result will show you that the camera is able to capture the littlest of details.

    Set the camera aside first and do the tube and lens mounting on the next part.

    3. Creating Tube and Mounting for the Lens

    Step 8: For this step, you need to four figures from the cardboard. These figures will be the parts of the tube and the mounting of the lens. See the image for your reference.

    8.1 Cut a small thick strip of cardboard.

    Once done, cut an unfinished square starting from the edge of the strip. You should leave a few centimeters on the center of the strip (See Figure 1). 

    8.1.1 Open holes (the size should fit the bolt) on the center of the unfinished square and other edge of the strip.

    The second hole should be a few centimeters from the edge and should be big enough to fit the lens of the webcam (See Figure 1).

    Tip! To get the right measurements, use the measure the stage of the microscope from Step 4.

    8.2 Cut two small square sheets of cardboard and create a hole in the center of each sheet (hole size should fit the bolt). See Figures 2 and 3 on the image.

    8.3 Cut a small round figure a little bigger than the bolt (See Figure 4). This will be glued on the tip of the bolt later.

    Step 9: Insert one nut on one end of the bolt.

    9.1 Insert the bolt on the hole of the first square sheet.

    Step 10: Insert the strip (Figure 1) on the bolt. But, it should fit or be locked the second nut. See image for reference:

    Step 11: Insert the remaining square sheet (Figure 2) on top of Figure 1.

    Step 12: Glue the small round figure (Figure 4) on top or edge of the bolt.

    4. Placing Every Part Together

    We are now ready to place all the parts together to create the digital microscope.

    Step 13: Place glue on the front edges of the two square sheets (Figure 2 and 3) and stick or attach it to the back part of the arm.

    Make sure that the camera mount (Figure 1) is inserted into the rectangular opening of the arm from Step 1 and 3.

    It should look like these images:

    Step 14: Once the mount is glued properly, mount the camera by inserting the lens of the hole of the mount ( the hole made from Step 8.1.1).

    Step 15: To secure the camera, glue the cable. But, be sure to leave a few inches up for the camera to be movable.

    5. Making the Accessories and Placing the Accessories

    Step 16: Grab the hard plastic and cut it into a rectangle to make the microscope slide from where the specimen will be placed.

    Step 17: Place the flashlight in between the foot of the base and turn on its lights.

    Step 18: Connect the webcam to your computer.

    Step 19: Place the microscope slide (Step 16) with the sample specimen on the stage of the microscope.

    With just about 20 steps, you’ve got yourself a project that you can really call nifty.

    Check the video tutorial here:

    Final Thought

    This project makes a good use of your extra time that can also save you from The next time from buying an expensive one or heading out to a science lab. You can make one at home in mere minutes only using material at home.

    For comments or queries, you can hit us some on the comment box below. We’d also love to hear your experience and learning. If you have friends looking for a good time, share this article with them!

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