Cheap Compound Microscope


[Aj] found this great article for building a really cheap microscope. The goal of the project is to construct a compound microscope that is superior to the cheap toy/children’s microscopes. Besides standard construction materials it uses the lenses from four disposable cameras. The article also covers a lot of possible improvements to the ‘scope: focus control, fine focus control, condensers, different eyepieces.

14 thoughts on “Cheap Compound Microscope

  1. This is really a cool idea! I bet that a brass tube and some nicer hardwood and a little time you could make a really nice microscope to keep around in a stylish office/home lab.

  2. I think this is interesting. I got a “childrens” microscope about 7 years ago or such. Aside from the crappy built-in underlight, the rest is solid steel and the lens can go 1x, 5x, 20x, 100x, 500x, and 900x (which is enough to see blood cells. They’re cool little buggers.) I should build this, and I probably will, but first I need money. And a little more handiness with tools.

    Yes, the hack may seem a little boring. But it could be worthy of quite a few mutations.

  3. homebrew microscope + half decent webcam + some sort of time lapse software = endless hours of watching various types of bacteria scurry around!

    prove me wrong guys, prove me wrong.

  4. 1) I recently attatched a webcam to a cheap old microscope that I had laying around- results were very fun, and it was super easy to do
    2) I would love to see an improvement to this design, remaining cost effective of course, that would change the mirror to a few LEDs, powered by battery- should still stay cheap (led’s cost pennies and battery unit could be harvested from almost anything)

  5. #7 “prove me wrong…” you can’t see bacteria live bacteria in a microscope. You have to stain the first, usually Gram staining, and that will kill them.

    “But i have seen it done…” yes you have.. but that was in a phase contrast microscope, and that is something difrent.

    “But can’t i just hack the phase of the contrast in this microscope…” NO.

  6. The people! Help us! The village school for a class of biology needs a microscope. School very poor. Who has old unnecessary microscope present it please our school. Beforehand thank! Russia, 453100, Bashkortostan, Sterlitamak, Odesskaya, 91-44, Pivtsaev S.V.

  7. I have a Sony video camera that I inadvertently threw overboard on a dive trip in Fiji. I have kept it because i thought the lenses may be useful sometime…could it be used for something like this?

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