Adjustable Focus 3D Printed Liquid Filled Lens

by jrombousky, published

Adjustable Focus 3D Printed Liquid Filled Lens by jrombousky Mar 4, 2013
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This is an Adjustable Focus Liquid Filled Lens. You use thin plastic film and then inflate it with water. The water then under pressure, stretches out the plastic and forms a lens shape.

Now added original .skp file. Good Luck!


Print out both the Top and Bottom Hex rings and 8 clips. The instructions for assembly are on my blog: www.trenchphysics.com

Here is the video of how to assemble it:

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Hi! Congratulations for your project! Could you, please, send me the round one? I've got the same problem than "cris113668", thanks!

Amazingly I still have the file!! Sending you a pm with original .skp file for sketchup. I'll upload it here, but its ugly.

Can you upload the round one? This hexagon shape keeps puncturing the plastic at the sharp corners.

Sent you a PM with original source files.

Hi, I think the original idea for this type of lens was drempt up by Joshua Silver an Oxford University physics professor albeit as a pair of glasses . As a director of the non-profit, Centre for Vision in the developing world, he envisioned a billion pairs on needy eyes by 2020. So far, 30,000 pairs are in use in Africa and Eastern Europe, two thirds distriibuted through U.S. military aid programs.


Saw a pair of glasses like this in a museum, they said they were produced for poorer citizens of countries, that way everyone could have glasses, and just "inflate" them to get the correct prescription.

That's really nice.
I've seen some under-water magnifying tubes using clear plastic, but this would be great for building something like a simple children's microscope.

The way I've designed the plates you can stack as many lenses as you like and make as many chambers of air or water as you like. You should even be able to make a concave lens for the eye piece with this. I just haven't experimented with it yet. I love the idea of a microscope or a telescope

How difficult is it to reduce the bubbles? Cook destilled water maybe as it can't hold oxygen well?

Will the lens keep shape when tilting it sideways?

I wasn't able to watch everything on your video (no sound atm) but I will tomorrow :-)
Even with just a simple Kepler eyepiece this would be really great.

By the way, have you seen http://www.focus-on-vision.org/faq_en.phphttp://www.focus-on-vision.org... (inexpensive, adjustable lens for life-long glasses?) Probably a long way to go, but printable glasses would be neat. Perhaps using something else then water... Who knows what the future holds.

You can get rid of any dissolved gas by boiling the water before use. Just let it cool down and then use it as soon as possible.

The bubbles can be reduced by holding the lens to that the rubber tube is upwards, then pulling the bubbles out with the syringe. I didn't spend the time in the video to do it.

The lens does keep its shape well when its held sideways. Since the plastic is stretching its always under tension and doesn't distort in any way that I could tell. If this were in a high magnification telescope it would probably be noticeable.

Haven't heard of http://focus-on-vision.orgfocus-on-vision.org but I did get this idea from a TED talk where they were using liquid filled lenses for glasses in Africa, I bet its the same people.

I was looking into other fluids to put into the lens, but water was handy and readily available for a demo.