Projects Blog About

DIY Digital Microscope

Make your own USB microscope using cheap and simple materials! I was able to build mine for less than $20 (links below). This project uses an old webcam (the higher definition, the better the image but I was able to get quality results with as low-resolution as a 520p) and a laser pointer lens to allow you to examine material up close using your computer's default camera software.

For this project I built two versions, a 480p and a 720p so you can compare the difference in quality. As you can see from the playing card, the 720p camera has a significantly closer look and higher resolution. I particularly liked how sharp and clear the material of the playing card was in the image.

See it in action below!

Step 1: Disassemble the Webcam and Laser Pointer

Use the small screwdriver to take apart the webcam and laser pointer. Remove the casing from the webcam until you have the exposed lens and electronics. Remove the lens from the front of the laser pointer. Place it face up on the desk.


Step 2: Assemble the Microscope's Lens

Now plug in the webcam and open the camera software. Then take the laser's lens, and hot glue it to the webcam so that the webcam is behind the front of the lens (in the same position as the laser diode originally was). Be extremely careful not to get glue on the lens of either component. I used a small metal washer to separate the two (so I glued each to one side of the washer) to help avoid getting glue on the lens. I did this step with the camera on so I could see if I was eclipsing the field of view.

I hot glued purple craft sticks to my webcam casing to help shield the exposed electronics and so I could mount it later.


Step 3: Mounting and Enhancing Light

Once you have the lens mounted to the webcam, test it out! Point it at small objects to see their surface's up close.

I added a small white LED (hot glued to the side of the microscope lens) to improve the quality of the image. I simply duct taped the LED to two button cell batteries for this step, which means that the LED is always on but I plan on adding a switch later. If you want to diffuse the LED's light so it does not saturate the image, you can also use the aquarium tubing (by sticking the led into one end and snaking it as you want around the microscope lens) to solve this problem.

If you have some issues with holding the device steady at close range then I would recommend mounting it so that you can get clearer, less shaky images. I hot glued mine to a clothespin so that when I pressed down I could apply a controlled amount of pressure to simulate a " focus zoom".


Step 4: Take a Closer Look

Voila! You now have a brand new digital USB microscope. If you want to take a picture of what the camera sees, simply focus on the image and hit "Printscreen" on your computer. Feel free to post pictures in the comments below of the cool close-ups you find, and let me know if you have any questions!

I tested three similar materials: wood, paper, and leather so you can see the difference between each one up close!

Project Materials

Laser pointer lens
1-2 white LEDS
2-4 button cell batteries
Aquarium tubing (optional)

Project Tools

Mac - Photobooth
Windows - Camera app
Small Screwdriver
Duct Tape
Hot Glue

Image Gallery

March 25, 2022, 5:57 p.m.
My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post's to be just what I'm looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs? I wouldn't mind creating a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome site!
March 26, 2022, 1:07 p.m.
Howdy! I know this is sort of off-topic however I needed to ask. Does building a well-established website such as yours take a lot of work? I am completely new to blogging but I do write in my journal on a daily basis. I'd like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!
March 27, 2022, 6:34 a.m.
May I just say what a comfort to uncover a person that genuinely knows what they are discussing on the web. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you are not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.
super cheap flights
April 2, 2022, 3:52 p.m.
An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your web site.
airlines tickets cheapest
April 3, 2022, 2:52 a.m.
Why people still use to read news papers when in this technological globe the whole thing is accessible on net?
airlines tickets cheapest
April 3, 2022, 7:11 p.m.
Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all people you really know what you are speaking about! Bookmarked. Please additionally discuss with my website =). We may have a link exchange contract between us
flight ticket booking
April 4, 2022, 11:04 a.m.
Hey very nice blog!
lowest airfares possible
April 4, 2022, 3:03 p.m.
Hey very nice blog!
airline tickets best price
April 5, 2022, 10:43 a.m.
Great site you have got here.. It's difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!