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Alternative for microscope: webcam + close-up lens


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Posted (edited) · Alternative for microscope: webcam + close-up lens

If you want to examine a 3D-print in detail, but you don't have a microscope or good macro lens. Try using your webcam or smartphone, and add a close-up lens in front of it. Then watch the picture in full size on your computer screen.


You could use any old camera lens as close-up lens, provided that it is concave and does not cause too much distortion. Or buy a dedicated smartphone adapter with close-up lens. Magnification will differ depending on its focal length. If required, design and 3D-print a lens holder for mounting the lens onto your camera.


The results are not perfect, but not too bad either. Sharpness is okay. There is considerable cushion distortion, but that is not too important for this kind of pictures.


The photos below are from a Logitech C525 webcam, and an old ocular camera lens as close-up lens. But the concept should work with any similar webcam or phonecam.


Test photos:


3D-printed keychain with watermark text inside. Text caps height is 3.5mm, leg width is 0.5mm, and text is sitting 0.5mm below the surface. Material is transparent PET.



Underextrusion test. This is at 50% flow rate. PLA.



Insect antennas on a print, after I forgot to enable retraction.



A standard Bic ballpoint tip.



Micro-electronics from an old video camera (good for recovering lenses too). The resistors (little black things with numbers) are ca. 0.6mm wide x 1.7mm long.






Flintstone-text: here caps height is 3.0mm, leg width is 0.42mm (in the design, probably more in  print), printed on an UM2 with 0.4mm nozzle, 0.1mm layers, 25mm/s, 200°C, PLA.



The equipment: Logitech C525 webcam, with an old camera ocular lens attached. Obviously, I still have to design and print a decent lens holder... But any similar equipment with small cam and lens should work.



Test subjects, with ruler in mm and cm for reference.



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Edited by geert_2
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