[Alec] just sent us this great project he’s been working on. Converting an antique View-Master from the early 50’s into a modern 3D video player, capable of reading Mini-CDs.
Most View-Masters don’t have much space for tinkering, let alone adding a Raspberry Pi, two displays and a CD drive, so [Alec] really lucked out when he found this model — complete with light and D-cell battery pack. Tons of space! He originally looked into getting some cheap digital photo frame LCDs from China, but soon realized the effort involved with making those work just wouldn’t be worth it, so instead he picked up some 0.9″ OLED displays from Adafruit. He still forgot to check if they had drivers for the Raspberry Pi though, and ended up on another detour of modifying FBTFT drivers to make it all work.
After that headache he got to the fun part — cramming all the hardware inside. He picked up a cheap laptop CD drive off of eBay, and discovered that using the 80MM Mini-CD standard, the discs would just fit inside of the View-Master, sticking out just a little bit, kind of like the original photo wheels!
Quite a bit of fiddling later, he managed to assemble the entire thing in layers, without damaging the external shell of the View-Master. Since it is an antique, it was important for him that his hack be reversible — and for the most part, it is! Stick around after the break to see a short video explanation!
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This super quick hack will be fun to do with the kids. Remember the days of View-Masters? You’d put a disk of small slides into a little plastic viewer and a stereoscopic image would jump out at you in 3D! Now you can not only view stereoscopic images on your smartphone, but make your own too!
To shoot the images just hold your phone in portrait orientation and take a snapshot of your subject, then move the camera six inches to the right and take a second image. The two pics need to be displayed on the screen at the same time and for this [Plarky] uses a free iPhone app called Pic Stitch. We’re sure you can find an Android equivalent in no time if you do a bit of searching.
To view the stereoscope it helps to make a divider out of cardboard like the one seen above. You’ll need to cross your eyes and focus on a point to bring the two images together. We don’t remember having to do this with the View-Master so we’re hoping someone will take the idea and improve upon it. We’ve already seen a digital View-Master. Now we want to see those dual screens replaced with an iPhone cradle.
Who could forget the stereoscopic goodness of a View-Master? [Tuttle] put a modern flair on the classic optical device by adding two 1.5″ LCD screens. The screens replace the film disk of the original, showing slightly different images to produce a 3D effect. No word on a camera rig used to take the original images, but for our money this a great way to make something out of those useless key chain picture frames.