Digital Microscope Version 2This microscope views the specimen from below. Here I use parts from an old CD-Rom drive, a web cam, block of wood to hold it together, laser pointer lens, some foam board and glue.
Taking apart the CD-ROM (fig 1) I keep the carriage that moves laser LED along the CD. This allows the specimen stage to move up and down to focus it. The gears on the side are used for the focusing, the bottom gear is used for regular focus and the top gear is used for fine focusing. I manually move the gears. I may look into using the gear motor to electrically move the stage.
I mount the carriage on a thick piece of wood (fig 2) to allow stage movement and support.
The specimen mount (fig 2, right of image), is made from foam board. and (fig 3) then mounted on the carriage with Gorilla glue.
Fig 4 and 5 show the whole thing put together. You can see the stage is up and then is lowered to focus the image.
To raise the magnification of the camera I used the lens in a cheap laser pointer and mounting it on the lens of the camera. This does give higher magnification, about 100-150x but is not as powerful as a compound microscope which can get to 800-1000x. I found that when using live mounts, living organisms many times it is best to view them from underneath.
All the parts I had were just laying around which made this a very inexpensive build. I am sure that it is easy to find a junked or used CD-Rom or DVD. The camera is just a cheap webcam again something you might be able to find from a friend or thrift shop. Mine was a dollar store purchase for $3. I find that this microscope does work better than my first version, especially with the focusing.