DIY Film Projector Fits In The Palm Of Your Hand


DSLRs aside, the price of digital cameras these days can make it easy to consider just tossing your old one out when it breaks. [Leonidas Tolias] had another idea, and with a few broken cameras he had on hand he constructed a slick little pocket-sized projector.

The project started out as a pair of lenses from busted cameras and an Altoids tin in which he mounted them. The larger lens from a video camera was installed on the exterior of the tin, while the smaller of the two was mounted inside. Bits from disposable cameras were used to create a set of film reels, which he supports with some hand cut scrap aluminum. He made some test photo slides by printing some images on transparency paper, which he can cycle through using a film advancement rig he built out of string and a couple of gears.

While you won’t be using this projector for your next boring PowerPoint presentation, it does work pretty well as you can see in pictures on [Leonidas’] site.

[Thanks, Taylor]

11 thoughts on “DIY Film Projector Fits In The Palm Of Your Hand

  1. Needs to even out the LED light and put in a mattebox to make it so it shows the whole thing well instead of a bright spot middle. Plus film is typically exposed for yellow light projection, so use a “warm white” led that is at least 100,000mcd in a light tight box with a piece of ground glass as a diffuser and a mattebox on the front of the film and you will have a fantastic setup.

    1. Blah blah know-it-all. Give this guy some props- he did an amazingly innovative thing here! lol btw, I’m totally joking about the know-it-all comment, I am NOT an online bully-troll! And here’s proof of that:
      Although I know little to nothing about this kind of DIY techie stuff, your comments show me that you are certainly a very smart gentleman (or gentlewoman) and that you seem to know what you are talking about. So mad props to you as well. Go knowledge!!! ????

  2. I would’ve went about using a cheap working digital camera, and mount the LCD behind the lenses with it’s white backing off, that way you could store movies on the camera’s SD card, and play them for crowds on the fly. And a camera with sound capability would help with the sound of the flick. Then I’d re-route the female USB to the outside of the tin for uploads, and wire the power lines to some kodak AA rechargeable batteries (or a pack if the camera used that) so it would rarely need to be toyed with.

    Would serve more of a useful purpose and be a much more impressive project.

  3. @fartface unfortunately there’s absolutely no room in the box to fit anymore optical things like a diffuser, everything ended up pretty much pressed together, and the locations were entirely dependent on the properties of the lenses I happened to find. The “film” was really just transparency paper with pictures printed onto it, so the white LED was not a problem, no need to warm it up

  4. @zacdee316 I wanted to do this, unfortunately the area that gets projected out is about 2-3 square millimeters, so it would be almost impossible to get a display with high enough resolution for it to project anything usefull, you would need practically 200 pixels per millimeter, which is rather high, especially for an LCD small enough to fit in the box. If you happen to know of anything like that please let me know, the only possibility that’s come to mind for me would be to try to interface a replacement part of the Sony nex-7 electronic viewfinder, as that is very small, and supposedly fantastically high resolution. Even that might not be enough though, and I have yet to find replacement parts for that camera anywhere (the camera itself is about $1200, last I checked), and managing to interface it would probably be tricky regardless.

    Alternately a different optical formula could be used to make the projected film/screen area larger, but as I said, those were just the lenses I had on hand.

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