Turn your Phone Camera into a Microscope

Have you ever wondered how you could possibly build a digital microscope for a much smaller cost than buying one? Well, the cost of building a microscope is more like $20, but compared to the average cost of scientific microscopes, it might as well be 3 cents!

You probably already have most of the tools that you need right in your lab or at home! If you have a smartphone, then you already have the camera for your new microscope. You can build this microscope in about an hour once you gather all the necessary supplies.

Portable Microscope:

This is a quick project for anyone who fancies themselves a scientist but doesn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on something like a microscope. With this little hack, you can get up to 375 times magnification. That’s amazing!

  • Smartphone
  • Focus lens from a laser pointer
  • Smartphone camera lens clip attachment (for temporary attachment)*

* None of these are needed if you are making a plexiglass stand.

It is not necessary to make the base for your microscope. However, think about how much your smartphone photos are when the phone is steadied up against something immobile (especially on high zoom), as compared to an unsteadied ‘freehand’. Imagine how much more any movement will be amplified by a magnifying lens! Then, consider how inexpensive and quick it is to make the plexiglass stand for your homemade microscope set-up! 

Step 1:

 Purchase a laser pointer and screw the top off of it in order to remove the tiny plastic (sometimes it’s also glass) lens inside. Place this lens on a piece of cloth to make sure it doesn’t get lost.

Step 2:

Next, clean the lens to make sure that there’s no dried glue on it.

Unscrew the curved tip of the laser pointer.

Unscrew the plastic casing (typically black) that contains the focus lens. You might need to use a pair of pliers to get a better grasp on the casing that houses the focus lens.

Pull out the focus lens.

Use the tip of a paper clip or tap the housing of the focus lens on the countertop if necessary to loosen the lens

Step 3:

Get yourself a bobby pin and secure the lens on to the back of your smartPhone, with the lens centered over the camera.

Step 4:

Turn on your camera to make sure that the lens is in the center and your set!

Make a Tripod for your smartPhone with Binder Clips and a Business Card

If you’re looking for a quick, yet reliable hack to help keep it steady, then this is it!

It needs no explanation either. Just by looking at the image below, you’ll know exactly what to do.

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