Turn Your Smartphone Into a Microscope and Macro Photography Stand for Only $10


If you’ve followed PetaPixel for a little while, you’ll already know that a laser pointer’s focus lens can be put to good DIY use helping you take macro photos with your smartphone.

And even though you can simply find a way to secure the lens against your phone, a new Instructable shows you how to build a microscope stand/macro photography rig that will eliminate that particular problem altogether… and for only $10!

The man behind the idea is Instructables user Yoshinok, and the whole thing shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to build once you have the materials. And speaking of materials, if you do want to build one yourself, you’ll need to take a quick jaunt to the local hardware store to pick up:

  • Three 4 and 1/2 x 5/16-inch carriage bolts
  • Nine 5/16-inch nuts
  • Three 5/16-inch wing nuts
  • Five 5/16-inch washers
  • A piece of 3/4 x 7 x 7-inch plywood for the base
  • A piece of 1/8 x 7 x 7-inch plexiglass for the camera stage
  • A piece of 1/8 x 3 x 7-inch plexiglass for the specimen stage
  • A laser pointer focus lens
  • And an LED click light if you want to use the rig to view backlit specimens.

You’ll also need to borrow a friend’s drill if you don’t have one yourself. Once you’ve got all of that together, just follow the detailed instructions in the video below:

Once you’ve completed your base, you can start taking macro photos of anything that will fit on the specimen stage. They should look something like these sample pictures:





The video above should provide all of the info you need to make this stand yourself, but if you want to see more pictures and get a detailed step-by-step written guide, head over to the original Instructable and have at it.

$10 Smartphone to digital microscope conversion! [Instructables]

  • Christian DeBaun

    Nice DIY.

    That LED needs a diffuser though, as some of the images are blown around the edges.

  • Adrian S

    Nice project if you already have a smartphone. A microscope is less then $200, and an “underfunded science classroom” will not buy a smartphone. Still a fun home project.

  • Richard Horsfield

    However they could probably afford to build the stands, and let the kids use their own phones?

  • Fernando

    Nowadays every kid has a smartphone, come on.

  • Cajetan Barretto

    The more important note here is that a $200 microscope cannot capture a photo. You will need adapter and a camera to do that.

  • David Murray

    You can get a decent microscope on ebay for $80. But I always prefer being able to take pictures of what I’m looking at so I can share with other people. Unfortunately, a decent digital microscope costs a fortune. So this is a great idea.

  • drei david

    Nothing still beats the magnification power and the feel of peeking through a real microscope, though I have to say that this DIY microscope lens/stand is commendable enough. Kudos!

  • laptopforphotography

    Wow this is amazing!

  • TwentyPoundGorilla

    Now I can finally find my jimmy!