How To Make A Projector Without A Magnifying Glass

Projectors are becoming a standard electronic item found in the home, with more and more people opting to own one.

However, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on one – you can just DIY it!

With some of the materials already around you, you can build a projector for as little as $10, and you don’t even need to be a science geek!

Here, we’ll tell you how homemade projectors work and guide you in building your own.

Today we’re specifically looking at building a light bulb based projector rather than one using a magnifying glass. After all, you’re much more likely to find unused light bulbs around the house than you are a magnifying glass that can be repurposed!

1.Key Points About This Projector

A. Unlike the projectors readily available on the market, our one doesn’t need any electricity to run.

B. You will need a smartphone.

C. You will need a projection surface such as:

  • Projection Screen (the expensive option)
  • Blackout Fabric
  • Spandex
  • A white wall (the inexpensive option)

D. It will use a light bulb but no magnifying glass. You will need a filament lightbulb, not one on those energy-saving bulbs.

2. Benefits of a Homemade Projector

A. Financial

Building a home-projector can save you a lot of money. As we have mentioned before, all you need is a spare $10 to make all this happen.

Even a cheap project will cost up to ten times as much.

It also helps to own a smartphone beforehand since it can give you a head-start. Otherwise, you might need to spend at least $100 on a cheap phone.

B. Time

Researching, finding shops, and buying projectors is a time-consuming process, and there’s no guarantee that after all that time, you’ll have a great projector.

Making a projector at home might take you an hour at best. If you are an expert with glue-guns and scissors, it might take even less time.

Additionally, it can be a fun activity to do with a child, which would be time well spent.

C. Eye Rest

The biggest advantage of using a projector is that it will drastically decrease the amount of pressure placed on your eyes.

Doctors highly recommend not looking at the screens of phones, tablets, and computers for hours on end.

A big projector screen, allowing you to sit further back from the light, will definitely provide endless comfort for your eyes and prevent the need for endless optician appointments in the future.

3. Building A Projector Without A Magnifying Glass

A. Items/Materials Required

  • Shoebox with the lid
  • Filament lightbulb
  • Clear, impurity free water
  • Clean bottle top
  • A smartphone
  • Phone stand (Prebought or homemade)
  • Pen
  • Glue-gun
  • Poster Paints

B. Process

1. First, you’ll require the bulb. Take it and carefully remove the end cover. The end cover is usually metal, but you can take it using pliers. Make sure to remove the filament as well. The bulb should be completely empty inside.

2. When done, align the bulb with the smaller side of the box.

3.  Use your pen to trace around the bulb onto the smaller side of the box. This will ensure that the measurement and shape are correct for the fitting.

4. Cut out the traced part using a pair of scissors. For better accuracy, you could use an NT Cutter if one is available.

Note:  Children need to make sure they have a responsible adult around when doing this project. It involves cutting with sharp objects and potential harm if any glass is broken.

5. After removing the traced part, carefully put the bulb, with the bulb opening facing upwards, in the cut-off area and ensuring that it is firmly fixed and won’t move while the projector bring used. Use a glue-gun and paste the glue on the sides to achieve this feat.

6. Wait for 5 minutes so that the bulb can stick properly.

7. With the bulb in place and secure, take the impurity free water and fill the bulb to the top. Impurities will distort any image coming from your homemade projector.

Do not damage the box by getting it wet!

  • Take a bottle cap from a soda bottle and seal the bulb opening with it. You can also paste glue around the bottle cap to ensure it sticks and no water leaks out.
  • Paint the whole shoebox with dark paint. With darker interiors, there will be no reflection of light while projecting is going on, resulting in a more pleasurable viewing experience. You can use poster color for doing this. But do not paint the bulb mistakenly.

C. Setting Projector Up With Smartphone

Option 1: Purchase a phone stand

Option 2: Make your own phone stand

1. Get a large piece of cardboard.

2. Download and print off a template for a DIY phone stand from any craft website.

3. Cut out the template.

4. Use the template to draw onto the card.

5. Cut out the card and assemble the stand.

6. Using the glue gun, fit the stand on the base.

7. After it dries, put two-sided sticky tape on the stand.

8. Now stick a plastic phone cover on the sticky tape. Your phone stand is ready now.

Don’t Forget!

  • Face the phone towards the lightbulb
  • Ensure that the phone brightness is at 100%
  • Turn off any screen rotation.
  • Play your video upside down
  • Connect your phone to any audio devices you want to use

9. Place your phone inside the cover. The phone stand will hold your phone in place inside the projector now.

10.  Adjust the position of the smartphone until the projection is clear

11. Press play

12. Put the lid on the projector and enjoy watching.

Final Word

You don’t need to have a degree in electronics to build a projector. This is a process that has been tried and tested in elementary schools around the world. It won’t take long to master the art.

Just remember, this process involves the use of sharp objects and potentially causes injury if you are not careful.

If doing this as a project with children, be vigilant at all times and ensure all safety precautions are taken.

You don’t want to end up in the Emergency Room when you could be enjoying a film instead!

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