I have 8 (maybe ten if I can find the other 2), 5" magnifying lenses.
The lenses come off of bench top light/magnifiers that are used for
assembly and inspection. When the light breaks, they toss the whole
thing in the dumpster. I scoffed the lenses. So, I'm looking for design
ideas that use the lenses. Incorporating them into a piece of furniture
for decorative purposes, maybe a lawn sculpture, maybe a table top with
the lenses let into it, small enough so that kids can get thier hands
underneath to magnify stuff. Who knows. There's something there, just
haven't figured out what yet.
Your ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
The kids table/desk idea sounds interesting, and using a slot cutter
inside a hole cut with a router circle jig wouldn't be difficult.
However, if they were set down into the table, it seems like gunk/dust
would build up in the recesses, and if they were raised above the
surface, it seems like they'd scratch easily.
Or you could make dedicated magnifying toys - something that's sort of
like this, with a lens set in the top:
Stuff could be set where the "x" is, the upright would be equal to the
focal length. Or the bottom could be horseshoe shape, so it could be
used on top of a larger surface.
My only other ideas are in a clock or lamp or something that's
primarily decorative. Maybe you could make a "lighthouse" lamp with
your lenses to let the light out. Of course, if you live in Nebraska
or something, a lighthouse might not exactly fit in to popular
I'm curious to hear other ideas also.
I have had tremendous difficulty buying a good magnifying glass to use with
my failing sight. I am familiar with the magnifying lamp. I bet if you put
something together based on a hand mirror design, you would then have a
super hand magnifying glass. I, and many others, would buy it in a flash.
And it would become super useful item in our lives.
You would probably have to come up with a design that allowed it to be
I you happen to have a lathe, there are a LOT of things you can use them for...
I've used CD's and Hard disk drives as box lids and bowl covers... both would be
very cool with your lenses... put tiny beads or potpourri in the bottom and it
would look HUGE until you took the lid off..
Hi John, I like the idea of the table with the lenses in it... You
could make a "sandwich" so to speak... Make your table in 2 layers,
use a router to cut in area's to recess the lenses, matching recess on
top and bottom... Close them up to secure the lense and you can have an
area underneath to put stuff... .Hands, toys, interesting bits and
such.... I'm sure kids and adults would like it. You could make box
tops the same way I'd guess... That would make securing them easier too.
Great ideas and suggestions, please do keep them coming. As several of
the ideas employ the magnification qualities of the lenses, how can I
figure out what the focal length of the lense is? Is is simply a matter
of holding the lense above a surface and moving it up and down until
maximum magnification/focus is reached and then measuring the distance
from the lense to the object? This would be useful to know in
designing, say the kids fun table.
To determine focal length, take a piece of white cardboard and hold it
behind the lens while pointing it towards a distant, bright object
(such as the moon or a streetlight at night). Move the carboard
forwards and backwards until the image is in focus. That would be the
focal length of the lens.
Speaking of which, you might make some kind of viewing box out of a
lens based on the setup mentioned above. You could use a translucent
film, or just plain paper, which could display an image. I would
caution you, though, to avoid this being pointed towards the sun
(unless of course you intend to make a solar powered water boiler :-)
Make sets of camera obscura. I did this almost 20 years ago, but out of
cardboard boxes that would slide past each other to focus the image. You
can build them straight, or with a mirror, make a right-angle camera. They
are great for atr students - a way to "cheat" and copy an image or scene.
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