Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

A while back we shared a tip on taking high magnification macro photographs using a cell phone and a lens from an old DVD.

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

Here is a pretty cool twist on this hack from Instractable user Yoshinok using a lens from a laser pointer rather than a DVD (I guess DVDs are getting more scarce these days).

Not only that this microscope provide about X40-X180 magnification, which is pretty cool, but rather than a hand held device it is a full microscopic capabilities.

The first step is to “salvage” a lens from a laser pointer. Since those can be found in a Dollar store, this may be easier than getting a used DVD lens. Turns out this is quite a powerful lens that provides up to X40 magnification.

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

The lens is than mounted on the back of a smartphone

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

The basic rig itself is made from 2 small plexiglas plates and a piece of plywood connected with screws.

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

The bigger plate is mounted on screws so it can move up and down to provide a focusing mechanism. The smaller plate is used as a specimen plate

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

Here is a video describing the build process, or you can read a textual guide here.

Here are some photos takes with this setup:

Plasmolysis of red onion epithelial cells (175x)

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

Maple seed pod (80x)

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

Elderberry (40x)

Build A $10 Smartphone To Microscope Stand

[$10 Smartphone to digital microscope conversion! | Yoshinok]

Thanks for the tip, Jason.

  • echomrg

    how do you go from x40 to x180?

    with the phone’s digital zoom?

  • Jim

    This is so beautifully simple, well done.