How to make your own microscope

A tool to reckon with for all age groups, the microscope opens up a whole new dimension for kids. Though it might look a bit technical, you too can make your own microscope. Here's how to go about making your very own microscope at home. First, let us create a list of the materials we will be needing.


Materials needed:

  • Three pine boards of (5" x 2 1/2" x 3/4"), (4 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 3/4") and (5" x 2 1/2" x 3/4") measurements.
  • Plywood board of (5" x 5" x 1/2") measurement.
  • A PVC pipe (3/4"), with (6 5/16") length - available at plumbing stores.
  • Around 6 wood screws of #6 with (1 1/4").
  • Lens - 10X for eyepiece, 4X or 10X for objective lens.
  • Drilling machine.
Now that we have assembled all the required materials, let us get started on the actual process of making a microscope. we shall go about the process in two stages - making the body of the microscope, and making the barrel of the microscope.

Making the instrument:

1. Making the body of the microscope

  • Take the pine board of (5" x 2 1/2" x 3/4") measurement and drill into it a hole of (1 1/16") in order to hold the PVC barrel.
  • Now, we need to make place for the screws.
  • The next step would be to drill 6 screw holes in the boards of (5" x 2 1/2" x 3/4") and (5" x 2 1/2" x 3/4").
  • Make sure these holes are slightly larger in diameter to the screws so as to hold them smugly.
  • Prepare the microscope barrel as described below and fit it into the crevice created here.
2. Making the Barrel of the microscope

  • Take the PVC pipe and cut it to 160 mm length, the standard length of a microscope barrel.
  • Drill out one end of the barrel with a (15/16") drill.
  • Make sure that the eyepiece fits properly in this hole.
  • On the other end of the barrel, fit the objective lens.
  • If the lens fits loosely, tape it in place.
  • On the other hand, in case the lens does not fit, ream out the edges of the pipe and then tape the eyepiece into place.
  • This completes our microscope barrel, which we will now fit into the crevice we created in the first part of our procedure.
The PVC barrel made in the second part should fit snugly into the hole made in the first part. It should be such that the barrel is adjusted by pushing up or down for raising or lowering it. In case the hole is a tad too large, wedging in a bit of paper is a good idea.

Once you have done as detailed above, you have your very own microscope ready. You can give it a finishing touch by adding a small flat round mirror or such reflecting surface below the objective lens, and Voila! you are ready to experiment!

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