Build Your Own Cheap Simple Mini Projector

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Build Your Own Cheap Simple Mini Projector

A simple version of a mini-projector is the dream of every do-it-yourself builder. This projector can be built with a 60p lens and a few parts from around the house. The design is based on the old focal projectors. The three components that are required include a light source, an image, and a focal lens. If your devise has a screen, then that takes care of the image and the light source. The focal lens can be used as an accessory to project the action onto any surface. This can work on your Play Station Portable or other hand-held device. Even a cell phone can be used.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Fresnel Lens
  • Duct Tape
  • Cardboard
  • Bright Screened Portable Device
  • Wall
  • Scissors

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Obtain a Fresnel lens. Fresnel lenses are concentric circles of lenses that act like a normal lens. The advantage is that they lay much flatter. These lenses are available at dollar stores. Fresnel lenses are sometimes called "full page magnifiers" and are used to magnify text for the visually impaired. Make sure that the lens is plastic since it will need to be cut later in the project.

    Build Your Own Cheap Simple Mini Projector
  2. 2

    Make a box out of cardboard so it has no top or bottom, just four sides. The box needs to be big enough to frame the screen of the electronic device. Make the box height a little less than the width of the screen.

  3. 3

    Make a second box about the same size as the first. Put a top on the box, but no bottom, so the box has five sides with the sixth side open. The second box should fit around the first box but allow the boxes to slide smoothly together and apart since that is the way to make the screen focus.

  4. 4

    Cut the fifth side of the second box, opposite from the open side, to leave a square rim of cardboard that is the same size all around like a frame. This is where you will fill in the square hole to make a window using the Fresnel lens. With the scissors, cut the lens to the proper size, keeping the centre of the lens in the centre of the new part made to fit the frame. Because of the way the Fresnel lens is constructed, this keeps the central focus of the lens in the middle. Glue the lens on the inside of the rim to form the window.

  5. 5

    Tape the first box onto your device and slide the other box forwards or backwards on it until the picture comes into focus on a blank wall in front of you. Smooth, white walls are the best for this purpose unless there is a projector screen available. Prop the new projector up. If the projector slips out of focus, strategically place tape in the projector to prevent the boxes from slipping.

    Build Your Own Cheap Simple Mini Projector

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure that the image is inverted if your device has the capability. If it does not, you can always add a second lens to "flip" the image again. The darker the room and the more intense the projection.
  • Don't stare directly into any magnified light source and make sure that your device has adequate ventilation for cooling.

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