Turn your iPhone into a microscope for $10.

Surely it can't be too hard to make this. Photo: Kenji Yoshino/MAKE

Taking macros of your monitor or American Apparel hoodie with your iPhone is so last year.

Make Magazine tutorial shows you how to make a powerful microscope with up to 375x magnification using just your iPhone, a clear plastic panel, a piece of plywood and some inexpensive hardware.

If you’re a DIY-er that knows how to drill holes and take apart a laser pointer on a keychain, you could be taking super up-close pictures of cricket legs and your cat’s tongue before you know it.

Make contributor Kenji Yoshino has put up all the steps you’ll need to create this slick microscope that lets you magnify all sorts of things, not just the stuff you’ll typically find in a laboratory.

“It was designed to be easy to operate, lightweight, and portable,” Yoshino writes. “Just align your phone’s camera with the focus lens on top of the camera stage, then place the object you’d like to view on the adjustable specimen stage.”

Cat tongue at high magnification. Photo:

You can create this tool with either one or two lenses that you’ll pull out of one of those cheap laser pens you can find pretty much anywhere these days. You’ll also need some Plexiglas, some wood and some
basic nuts and long bolts that will let you adjust the height of the specimen tray. You can use it with or without an external light source (Yoshino suggests a small LED click light), making it perfect to use either outdoors or inside.

Yoshino took a picture of his cat’s tongue (eesh – sharp), some cricket legs and some fly wings with his homemade microscope. Be sure to head over to Make to see them all; they’re pretty fantastic for such an inexpensive setup. I’m sure someone could do a convincing science fair project like this.

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