Stereoscopic Viewer

by kongorilla, published

Stereoscopic Viewer by kongorilla May 5, 2010

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A Makerbot Giveaway entry.

This is a stereoscope used for viewing stereo pairs (two images that together make a 3D image) arranged parallel style (not cross-eye). Thanks to its central pivot, it can be used with a wide variety of image sizes. It's ideal for viewing pairs made of two 5x7" photo prints, or images approximately that size on a monitor. It's also fun to just plain look through the viewer, because it increases your depth perception by effectively moving your eyes farther apart.

But that's only half the fun. I've included a collection of stereo images I made especially for this viewer (see "Kongoscope_3D_Image_Funpack.pdf").
They're good viewing on your monitor or printed on 8.5 x 11" paper.

But that's not all! I wrote a light-hearted user manual (see "Kongoscope_USER_MANUAL.pdf") that should make assembly easy and fun. It also has viewing tips. While writing the manual, I made up a fantasy company, KONGO!, that's marketing this device. See their comic book advertising over there on the left.

I hope somebody has fun with this!

EDIT OCT. 6, 2010: By request, I've added the original Blender file. Note that there are reference objects in the file not meant to be printed, like mirrors and screws.


All the instructions you need can be found in the file Kongoscope_USER_MANUAL.pdf. It also contains the parts list and a fair amount of goofiness.

Here are a couple sources for the mirror you will need:

If anyone knows of other retailers of reasonably prices first surface mirror, please add links below! Thanks!

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I was looking for this to teach my students of chemistry, how to use stereo view of molecular designs.
Thanks for sharing.

Nice Design! I am in the process of printing this out (with all appropriate attributions and things of course) as a demonstration in our Public Library. Not only is this helping to grow the publics' awareness of the power of digital design, it will also be a useful tool for demonstrating how stereo images work in Virtual Reality. VR is something we are keen to design a STEMM programme around.
Thanks for sharing this.

Sounds great. I printed this again recently, and found the center connector to be too small, so the two sides of the viewer can wobble more than I like (tolerances have changed in 6 years). I haven't fixed it yet because I've been working on other projects. If you find the same, let me know and I'll jump on that.

Thanks for that. We'll see how we go. I'm picking this thing will be used by people with many different Interpupillary Distances (er .... many people with one interpupillary distance each that is rather than one person with many interpupillary distances .... that would be just wierd), and so will be likely to get a bit worn and wobbly anyway, so I'm not too fussed. With regard to the many and varied users, maybe we'll have to talk to you about your extended product range to cater for them.

As far as alternative mirror suppliers go, some of the Chinese Market places like Aliexpress have scientific optical equipment for prices that are pretty good. The downside is that their sizes are not quite suited to the 50mm squares you are using. I might get hold of some and see how they go with an adaptor. Their product photo does not inspire confidence but the rest of their product range looks OK - http://www.aliexpress.com/item/46-3-44-2MM-Thickness-2-MM-Optical-Al-Front-Surface-Reflected-Mirrors/32648772711.html.

How crucial is a surface mirror compared to a normal mirror for this application? The links are dead and i cant really find a cheap surface mirror here in the Netherlands.

Funny you ask -- I was just searching for reasonably priced sources myself to update this page. I came up empty handed, sadly. To answer your question, it makes quite a difference, but normal glass will work. The problem is having to see through the glass of two mirrors gives you some ghosting. At Maker Faire, the Makerbot booth had a print of this viewer using plain ol' acrylic mirror they laser cut. It worked fine, but it wasn't as good as what I'm used to at home.

There are tutorials online for making your own first surface mirror by paint-stripping the backing off normal mirror. I haven't tried that yet.

I hate to say it, but at the current prices of first surface mirror, it's cheaper to buy a manufactured viewer like this one:

I wish the current interest in VR would result in mirror being available, but all the headsets are using lenses which isn't a good choice for all situations. If there was more interest in this viewer, I make a bulk purchase and sell the mirror myself.

Thank u for the fast response. Indeed on youtube there are several people making there own surface mirrors by dissolving the protective paint layer on the back of a normal mirror. Maybe i could try this. This would be a a cheap solution.

How can I open file .stl?

This was my motivation to finish my MakerBot. I tried to print the A-Shell 8 times before it worked. On the path to a part I bought and build a heated bed and finally realized that you have to send intricate parts to the SD card if you want them to print well.

Watching a thing print is just an amazing experience. The future is extruding in front of me one thin wire of plastic at a time.

Cool! I hope the rest of the parts went well after you got your technique figured out.

I'm glad someone else made one. I only know about Bre's copy (which I got to play with at Maker Faire) and I was a little discouraged by the community's apparent lack of interest in making the 'scope. I know a stereoscope is a niche item, but why make something you can easily buy at the store?

you have the time, please post pictures when you're done! (That goes for anyone else who may have made one. You too, Bre!)

Thanks for your comment Lars.

I now have all the parts and just ordered the mirrors. I'll post pictures after I get it all together.

Thanks for making this it is really awesome! I can't wait to contribute more back to the community. On that not I did make a gcode viewer. You can find a link to it on http://unifab.orghttp://unifab.org.

Thanks again, Lars.

‽ Sweet!

I made one! (If you license your thing with an open license I can upload pictures to show it.)

Also, gotta say, it's AAAAAAAWESOOOOOME!

You mean it has entered...OUR DIMENSION?

I've changed the license from the default setting...that was one of those "it's 4am and I'm too tired to consider the intricacies of copyright law right now" kind of (in)decisions.

Bring on the pics!

DIY front surface mirror: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-front-surface-mirror.-1/http://www.instructables.com/i...

Works with glass and acrylic mirrors!

What's up with the ARR license

Awesome! Might want to print that once the printer comes online again!

Is there a way to figure out why the Shell_A.stl file hasn't rendered after seven hours? Since it's very similar to Shell_B, I don't know what the problem would be.

The Cthulu themed comic book ad is definitely the icing on this cupcake contest entry.

Wow! That's cool!