Public Lab Wiki documentation

Basic Microscope Kit

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The Basic Microscope Kit is an introductory Do-It-Yourself microscope made from affordable and easy to find parts. It's based on the Hackteria microscope, the OpenFlexure Microscope, and @maxliboiron's work at ( #13503 ), among other sources. (above image by @partsandcrafts)


This project was started as a collaboration between Public Lab and Parts & Crafts. The goals of the project are:

  1. offer a very easy starting point for DIY microscopy
  2. act as a stepping-stone to more advanced DIY microscopes
  3. be as affordable and simple as possible while still providing great microscopic images
  4. be good enough to view 2-5 micron size particles (see sample images below)

Parts list

Example parts list for building a Basic Microscope:

Extras to help you get started:

*Microscope slides * A microscope stage calibration slide * Microscope Immersion Oil

Getting started

Start with the Overview activity, here. Then see the activities below for each step in detail.

Kit coming soon from the Public Lab store!


Title Author Updated Likes Comments
What is the magnification on the Basic Microscope kit? @maxliboiron 12 months ago 1
Would it be possible to make our own microscopic scale rulers (micrometers) using optical discs (DVDs?) @warren about 1 year ago 6
How could the new basic microscope project be used in building towards advocacy outcomes? @stevie almost 2 years ago 1
What information should be posted with images taken with a microscope? @stevie almost 2 years ago 3
What is the best light source to use for the basic microscope? @stevie almost 2 years ago 9
Looking for a simple DIY microscope stage design with parallel plates @warren over 2 years ago 3
Help the Kits Initiative launch the Basic Microscope Kit by 3d printing lens adaptors! @Bronwen over 2 years ago 13
What do respirable silica particles (frac sand pollution) look like? @warren over 2 years ago 5
What types of slides would be good for working with the basic microscope? @stevie over 2 years ago 3
Where can you get the stage for the basic microscope? @stevie over 2 years ago 0
How cheaply can I get all the parts of the basic microscope kit? @warren over 2 years ago 4
Where can microscope lenses (objectives) be bought? @warren over 2 years ago 19
What are some ways to collect dust or particulate samples for analysis? @warren over 2 years ago 4
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Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Overview: Hackteria Remix: Building a Basic Microscope with Raspberry Pi - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
Attaching a Raspberry Pi Camera to a Microscope Objective Lens - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
Prepare an SD card for a Raspberry Pi camera from scratch - - @warren - - 1 replications: Try it »
Setting up the Raspberry Pi Camera for Wireless Streaming - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
Community Microscope Assembly Instructions - - @Bronwen - - 0 replications: Try it »
Building a Basic Microscope Stage - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
Looking at Dust (and other things) - - @partsandcrafts - - 3 replications: Try it »
Add a high-quality webcam to your Community Microscope kit using LEGO - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Testing and Calibrating Your Microscope - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
Microscope Webcam Conversion - - @Bronwen - - 0 replications: Try it »
Quick Build: Basic Microscope Kit with Raspberry Pi - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
Hand-cut or lasercut a simple DIY microscope stage - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Lighting Your Sample - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
6. Looking at Dust (and other things) - - @partsandcrafts - - 0 replications: Try it »
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Add an activity  or request an activity guide you don't see listed

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.


We're working to refine and improve DIY spectrometry on a number of fronts; here, take a look at the leading challenges we're hoping to solve, and post your own. For now, we're using the Q&A feature, so just click "Ask a question" to post your own challenge.

Ask a question  or help answer future questions on this topic


Folks involved in getting this project started include:


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And @bmela! Not sure why she's not showing up here, but it's a bug!

Sample images