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Electronic Focus Setup

How to build a simple electronic focus for your DIY WebCam Microscope?
Allmost all todays compact disc players have an electronic focus element composed of a small lens and two electric coils. The lens can be moved up and down by powering one of the two coils with around 1.5 volts.

CD Focus Element
Compact Disc Focus Element

The lens setup can be removed fairly easily from the rest of the CD electronics. In combination with a web cam this makes a nice microscope with electronic focus. Just glue the whole unit on top of the webcam after removing the original lens.

Logitech WebCam
Logitech WebCam

Electronic Focus Setup
Complete Setup

To control the lens movement you can power the coil through a potentiometer (low resistance, about 200 ohm). Or you may want to connect it to an arduino and control the focus of your microscope with a PWM signal.

See the movie below of the setup in action:



  1. 0rel on Tuesday 17, 2011

    Really impressive!

    The parts almost look like they were made for that purpose… 😉

  2. Mac Cowell on Tuesday 17, 2011

    Mega! This is the missing piece – now combine this with the x-y stage and we’ve got rad diy computer-controlled microscopy!


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