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micro-webcam

A webcam repurposed as a microscope for real-time surface mount soldering and rework.

View this project on GitHub

Overview

Electronics are small. Soldering fine-pitch ICs and 0402 passive components can be extremely difficult and dexterously demanding. Lab tools such as magnifying glasses and professional microscopes are fantastic, but can be cumbersome to use or large/expensive.

This DIY project was completed in an effort to build a home electronics lab. I wanted the solution to be both affordable and portable, while retaining a high level of performance with a spacious working distance.

Hardware

This webcam microscope can capture 1080p resolution images at 30fps. It has a working distance of 15cm and a depth of field >10mm.

  • $40 Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam from eBay
  • $50 Microscope Lens MOD Kit from DIYINHK
  • $10 Targus Grypton Pro 6" Tripod from Walmart

GRAND TOTAL: $100

The mod involves swapping out the camera lens (left) with a microscope lens (right).

Camera lens:

Microscope lens:

Fully assembled microscope solution:

Software

To view the video feed, Microsoft LifeCam and VirtualDub software was used. VirtualDub is nice because it provides you with manual control of camera settings such as focus and exposure.

Test