Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Make an Opaque Projector

I just bought this gargantuan lens from American Science Surplus, and I recommend that you do the same as soon as possible.
copier lens

Huge Lens

Even if you don’t plan to build a projector, telescope, or a big red pulsing HAL 9000 eye, you should pick up one of these lenses just to have sitting on your desk as a paperweight. The girth and heft of this optic is really quite impressive and for $10.95 you really can’t lose.

Opaque Projector

What is an opaque projector you say?

You know, it’s one of those contraptions that takes flat copy (not trasparencies) like printed matter, etc. and projects it onto a screen, wall, canvas or whatever you point it at. It’s a camera in reverse, with the light on the inside.

I bought this big lens to use as the heart of a drawing projector. You see, I found out that I like to paint, and an opaque Projector is a pretty convenient way to transfer your design onto the canvas without having to use a grid. When I started to look around for projectors, I found that the cheap ones like the entry level “Art-0-Graph” would only project puny little 3 inch originals. Even the $300.00 models seemed kind of limited at 6 inches. I want one like the big green wrinkle-painted monster that my grade school teacher used to wheel out on a cart, capable of taking at least 8×10 copy. Instead, I decided to build my own projector because, you know, I am that way.

I figure that I will get a much better performing projector for much less cash outlay (and have fun buiding it).

I found these old Edmund Optics DIY projector plans in PDF format, and the search for a suitable cheap lens was on.


Download PDF

The lens is a takeout from an old copy machine, and does not have any markings on it, but the focal length is 10 inches, and the field of view is really wide. I should be able to make a really nice projector capable of handling large media.

If you don’t fancy an opaque copy projector, it is not a great leap to use the same basic principal to make a video projector

Update: Projector Finished.

11 Responses to “Make an Opaque Projector”

  1. jd long Says:

    Great find on the lens! I went right there and bought one. Thanks for the link.

    BTW, here’s a great source for video projector links: http://www.diyaudio.com/wiki/index.php?page=VideoLinks


  2. Norm Says:

    in school, a huge projector was often used in order to share pages from books with the classroom. This was a great tool.

    I worked in an Oakland scrren printing shop years ago, and used an opaque projector for various layout projects. A very handy thing.

  3. Dean W. Armstrong Says:

    Ah, yes, I picked this up at my last American Science and Surplus visit, just knowing I could use it for SOMETHING.

  4. Marc Says:

    What a great place to shop – unfortunately, they don’t ship abroad. Does anybody know of a similar online store in Europe?

  5. buitri Says:


  6. Rip Says:

    For a nice selection of Optical Educational Documents check out: http://www.anchoroptics.com/documents/

    I’m still working on my opaque projector, too much time figuring and not enough building time?

    I love that lense! Paperweight sure, it wouldn’t be a bad weapon either! I also purchased a front surface mirror from http://www.sciplus.com, not sure if it’ll work for me yet , but it was cheap!

    When I’m done, I’ll post the results somewhere and let ya’ll know… and yes I am from the south.

  7. Steve Says:

    Hey Rip -

    Nice! Send me some photos of your projector when you are done and I will post them here.


  8. pam m Says:

    I am wondering if an old telescope lens could be used?

  9. David R. Says:

    I haven’t yet built an opaque projector, but I was thinking of using the lenses that I have from my Canon 35mm camera or from my slide projector since I now have converted to taking digital pictures and the camera and projector are essentially obsolete.

  10. CJ Says:

    Do you think it’s possible to turn an overhead projector into an opaque projector? I understand the concept of making an opaque when I read it, but can’t quite grasp how to relate it to what’s going on with the overhead. Before I tear it apart, wanted your opinion. Thank you!

  11. Ismail Mohamed Says:

    hello there ,

    thank you for this gr8 topics i was looking for something like this for long time but i want to create the lens by myself here in Egypt because we don’t have here store to sell this Lens and i cant to buy it from outside Egypt any way i want to know the total power of the Lens , and i can’t know this from the PDF file so can any one told me what the Total Power of This Lens ?
    i have an images with 15×10 CM and i want to Enlarge it on the wall to be 50x35CM & 70x50CM 100x70CM .

    thanks in advance