Every once in a while I see somebody create something so awesome, right up my alley, that I think to myself, “Why didn’t I think of this?” That’s really all this post is about. Sadly. Because I am the last to draw on this one.

But it was completely worth trying it out. So. How to make a projector out of an iPhone (or any phone really… anything at all with a display) and a magnifying glass. I was surprised how much this project was akin to my experiences with camera obscuras. It starts out the exact same way, you take a box and cut a whole in the side (in this case also adding a lens element). Instead of the world being projected into your box, however, you are projecting something from your box onto the world. I began with a box and cut a whole in the side wide enough for my magnifying glass element to squeeze inside


The magnifying glass element I used, pushed into the whole in the box
DYI-Projector-iphone-phone-magnifying-glass-wmiii.co- (6 of 17)My iPhone, playing a favorite movie (Anyone?)

There are a number of ways to set up your iPhone in the box. At first, I used this clip to keep it upright. When I shut out the lights to try it out I discovered that the display has to be within the center of the glass and that setting my display on the floor of the box was much too low for a clear image, which is why I used this extra little stand to elevate my display

The result, at first… If you’ll just move your display back and forth within the box, that is, closer and farther from your lens, you will be able to focus your image. It’s also best to keep your lens parallel to surface you are projecting on and to keep your display parallel to your lens. If you can elevate your display to the center of your lens, you will get the clearest picture with little vignetting.

I decided to give it a go again with a few of my old bellows cameras. This is an old Eastman-Kodak from about 1910.

The problem here is that I couldn’t get my display far enough inside of the bellows to bring it into focus with the size of the lens.
DYI-Projector-iphone-phone-magnifying-glass-wmiii.co- (16 of 17)When I tried again with my Ibsor DRP I got the clearest picture of all, though it was significantly dimmer. Unfortunately, no picture of that one. Trinity need some help getting to the peanut butter.