make a usb microscope

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We’re not sure why we have a pathological hatred of webcams, but if we’re not ripping them apart, then we’re trying to permanently epoxy them to other things. Our latest endeavour came about after another trawl of the bargain aisles at the local eBay. After playing around with our USB telescope from two issues ago we stumbled across a cheap microscope.

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  • UNDER THE SCOPE: BUILD YOUR OWN USB MICROSCOPE FOR 15

    Torturing webcams so you dont have to...

    Issue 227 June 2009 5.99 Outside UK & ROI 6.49

    Empire Total War

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    FALLOUT 3 THE PIT: DIGGING DEEPER

    COMPANY OF HEROESTALES OF VALOR

    61 Games90 AppsSee page 118

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    PERFORMANCE GEAR & GAMING

    VISTA VS XP VS WINDOWS 7THE DEFINITIVE BENCHMARKS

    IS IT TIME TO CONSIDER LINUX?INSTANT BOOTING AND GAMING

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    THERES MOREBig screens from 140AMDs budget super-computerGame coding: Explosions

    ISSUE 227 HERES TO SWIMMING WITH BOW LEGGED WOMEN

    Nvidia GTX275 versus AMD HD 4890

    PCF227.cover 1 15/4/09 3:17:54 pm

  • Make

    Were not sure why we have a pathological hatred of webcams, but if were not ripping them apart, then

    were trying to permanently epoxy them to other things. Our latest endeavour came about after another trawl of the bargain aisles at the local eBay. After playing around with our USB telescope from two issues ago we stumbled across a cheap microscope.

    It struck us that in a similar way itd be perfectly possible to capture images from the microscope onto the bare face of a webcams detector. All thats needed is a contraption to mount the webcam in the right place over the microscopes eyepiece. Beyond that itd be just a case of focusing the image onto the webcams detector just as youd focus it onto your retina.

    It sounds simple enough: fi nd a suitable section of tubing, cut a slot to take the webcams innards, line it up correctly and fi x the whole thing in

    Make: A USB microscopeIn our continuing quest to strap things to webcams, we delve into the microscopic world

    place. The best bit about this build is that it works beautifully. Old microscopes can be picked up for as little as 10, while most people have an old webcam, or else again these can be picked up for peanuts online.

    These are great things to play with as you can easily watch organisms grow in ordinary tap water or just examine slices of plants or vegetables. Its perfect for projects and if connected to your PC you can record videos. Neil Mohr

    What you will need Microscope Webcam 25mm tubing (from tinfoil pack) Hotglue gun Hacksaw Stanley knife

    64 June 2009

    Future Publishing Limited provides the information for this project in good faith and makes no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions in this project do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgment in determining the appropriateness of parts, equipment, sealants and other

    adhesives for a particular use. (Yes, we know, but its what the lawyers tell us to print).

    Protective clothing, gloves and goggles/safety glasses should also be worn at all times, when using drills. Use of the USB microscope may void a products warranty (like you care, but, again, we have to say this for the stupid people). To

    the fullest extent permitted by law, Future Publishing Limited takes no responsibility for any person relying on the information relating to this project and disclaims all liability for any errors, omissions, damage or injury to users or their equipment as a result of or relating to their making and use of the USB miscroscope.

    Cost: 15

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    PCF227.make 64 17/4/09 9:37:30 am

  • Make a USB microscope

    How to make a microscopeAs always, please take proper safety precautions while undertaking these Makes. We get our mums to look after us, which also means a steady fl ow of free sandwiches (1). To start we need to rip open the webcam. The plastic case is often just unnecessary fl uff (2). Were just interested in the logic board and sensor. Remove any lens array that might be attached (3). The plan is to slide a suitably sized tube over the lens typically this will be about 25mm in diameter then mount the webcam at the end of this (4). The webcam sensor needs to be around 1cm from the eyepiece, but more importantly it has to be central. Put the tube in place and mark where the slit will need to be for the sensor to sit correctly (5). Use the Stanley knife or a hacksaw to cut a section out for mounting the webcam. You may want to add tape to the inside of the tube to create a tight fi nal fi t (6). Power up the webcam and work out where its central position is by looking for a bright spot. You may need to move the tube up and down to hit the correct focal point (7). You can add extra rings for a fi nal fi t but once you have the webcam in position hotglue the logic board in place (8). While it may not be the prettiest of sights its a functioning beast and enables normal use of the microscope afterwards (9). Et viola, tiny things pleasing tiny minds (10).

    June 2009 65

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    9 The best bit about this build is that it works beautifully. Old microscopes can be picked up for as little as 10

    PCF227.make 65 17/4/09 9:37:32 am

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