Do you have some extra time and are interested, or are you bored over rodeo break and need a project. Well, in response to a comment I received last week, I will explain how to build a simple microscope for under 15 dollars. It’s, as I said, simple. All it takes is three long quarter inch screws, 3 washers, 9 nuts, 2 winged nuts, a piece of wood, 2 pieces of plexiglass the same width and different lengths, a quarter inch drill bit, an led flashlight and a cheap laser. First we need to measure out where to drill on the wood and plexiglass. Place the two pieces of plexiglass on the wood laying flat where all three pieces share a lengthy side. On the side where the pieces line up measure 2 holes about an inch into the pieces from their edges. Then place a marking at the back and center of the two larger pieces forming a triangles. Now, you drill with the quarter inch bit through all of the pieces. Afterwards take the largest piece of plexiglass and drill a hole between the two holes that were just drilled on the same side. This is the hole for the lens, but currently, we do not have a lens. To get that lens, we will take apart the lens of the laser. If your laser is cheap enough, it should take nearly no effort to remove the lens. Once you have your lens, you have to make it fit into the hole you just drilled which seems easy, but definitely is not. If yours does not feel like fitting into your hole, you can spend some time shaving the edges of the hole you made with the drill. Before you put the lens in, you should try and figure out which side of the lens magnifies. If you are unable to figure that out, it doesn’t matter, you can flip the big piece of plexiglass around later to fix fix that issue. With that said, you should just stick that lens right in there. You can use a little force or a lot. I hit mine with a book. Once again as long as the lens is secured you did it right. The ends will justify the means. By now we have completed the only difficult part of this project. Now we put all three screws through the holes in the wood then put on the washers and secure them with a nut each. Then, we put on the winged nuts on the screws that share a side and the we place the smaller piece of plexiglass on top of those. The final step is to set the larger piece of plexiglass on three nuts that you elevate to about the top of the screws and then secure them with the last three nuts. After checking to see if your lens the right way and nothing is slanted, gently place your phone on the plexiglass so that the camera aligns with the lens, place the flashlight under the lens on the wood pointing up, and you can safely say that you have a microscope. Mine ended up having a maximum magnification of about 35x magnification before it lost focus. You can measure yours by placing a ruler under the microscope and comparing the lengths of the millimeter markings. Hope you enjoy your new homemade microscope.
P.S. If you want to learn about Microscopy Staining to use your microscope more effectively, but also don’t want to spend lots of money on expensive dyes, the read this article. https://microscopetalk.wordpress.com/tips/diy-microscopy-stain/