Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Optical DIY inverted microscope out of a webcam

  1. Dec 12, 2014 #1
    Not sure if this is the right place for this thread but, have you guys ever made anything cool at home? I was planning on making an inverted microscope out of a webcam by just taking the lens out and flipping it over and setting it up like a microscope.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Yes. When I put things in my refrigerator, they automagically get cool.

    Seriously though, I've done a lot of DIY things at home for fun, if they are cool or not is a matter of taste. Some examples are basic spectrometer, basic double slit experiment equipment, various electronics, microphones, loudspeakers (more engineering, though).

    There are a lot of scientists/engineers/students on this forum, so there are definitely people here who have done/are doing things at home for fun...
  4. Dec 13, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I've made everything from prosthetic make-up appliances (see my avatar for a sloppy example) to exotic weapons systems to my current project of a tank-treaded "docking station" for my power-chair. (It's currently useless in snow and can't climb stairs.)
    No scientific instruments, though.
  5. Dec 13, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I would break the server if I listed everything I've made over the last 25 years.

    The last cool thing I made was a Relative Humidity/Dew Point sensing device.
    It consisted, of a wet paper towel, a muffin fan, and an infrared thermometer(not pictured).
    It worked!
    Unlike my vintage, indoor/outdoor thermometer, which claimed that it was 112°F outside. I think it was closer to 50°F this last Monday. It's marked off in 2°F increments. So, I think scientists would say it has an accuracy of 2°F +/- 62°F. Or they might say, that I should throw it away.

    I also made a microscope similar to what you are talking about, though, I used my digital camera and held the lens from my enlarger over the camera lens.
    The camera is manual focus, and has a minimum focus distance of about 1 foot. The enlarger lens reduces the focus distance to about an inch or so.
    It comes in handy for sharing pictures of teeny bugs, and moldy things.

    Stephanitis rhododendron

    Unidentified fungus
  6. Dec 13, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    How did you get a camera into my fridge? :oldgrumpy:
  7. Dec 13, 2014 #6
    An older pic, but back in '07 or so I built a flowbench for testing cylinder heads and manifolds. I had it set up to measure up to 36" of depression, but it could probably have pulled close to 96" if I had two more motors and a taller U-tube manometer. Sounded like a jet engine with all of the motors running under load pulling through a 1" orifice. Definitely one of the more interactive things i've built.

  8. Dec 13, 2014 #7
    And after building a flowbench out of PVC pipe, what do you do with the spare parts? Build a potato cannon of course! :D Also had to perform a series of tests using common flammable workshop liquids. A 20,000 volt stun gun works much better than a grill lighter.


  9. Dec 13, 2014 #8
    Gee, that looks dangerous fun. I found one of these on ebay but I'm not about to drop 350 for hobbies at home. It's so cool looking though. But considering I have a good amount of experience on microscopes it'd annoy me if I didnt have 100x objective and oil immersion to use to look at cells. Oh well. I'll find something cool to do.

    I figured a railgun would be pretty easy too.
  10. Dec 14, 2014 #9
    A few years back I built an old fashioned spark coil:


Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook