Here is a thing that everyone can enjoy! Need to keep an eye on your rowdy neighbors or plan on playing some night time airsoft? Maintaining security around the house (in a legal way and in accordance with local-state-federal laws)? Varmint control on the farm (if legal in your area), predator night hunting (if legal in your area), or night time wildlife viewing (if legal in your ...
...Okay here is the deal, this is a digital night vision scope attachment. Not only should you use this responsibly and legally, consider your ethical conduct as well. YOU SHOULD NOT USE THIS TO POACH DEER OR SPY ON TOO MANY NAKED PEOPLE! If you choose to, I neither have respect for you nor compassion for your inevitable criminal charges and I furthermore take absolutely no responsibility for you acting like a criminal or a child.
Now that we have that out of the way, my goal was to create a practical and cost effective night vision scope attachment. I want to be able to hog hunt at night and hunt other big game during the day without needing to have two dedicated rifles and I don't want to have to change optics, on the fly, between hunts.
This is a pretty easy build if you can use a soldering iron and have some basic tools. I'm betting you are a bit of a tinkerer if you 're looking at this though.
I printed in black ABS. The back, mount and the cap will probably need to be printed with support. This may depend on how well your printer handles overhang and how well your bridge settings are dialed in. The body, flip filter, front and tube should print just fine with out support.
MINI LCD SCREEN
I used this little screen and pulled it apart for the guts
I got one for under 25 bucks on ebay but I am in no way affiliated with a vendor so shop around and get yourself a good deal. You will end up cutting off those bulky connectors and fishing the wires out of the jacket but more on this later.
MINI CAMERA BOARD
Nuts, Bolts and other little hardware
5 - 1" long x # 8 bolts and nuts (assembly of the lcd housing and mount).
9 - 3/8" long x #6 screws and nuts (assembly of the tube/cap).
1 - small length of teflon tubing, I used a bit of 2mm x 4mm PTFE tubing I had for a
bowden extruder protect.
2 - little tiny screws for mounting the camera board in the cap.Not sure what size but they
will have to be small. lets face it, If you don't have a coffee can full of little
screws laying around you are probably not the kind of person who should DIY a
1 - scope ring. (for clamping on the lcd only if you are going to use the ring mount,
picatinny mount will clamp straight to the picatinny rail)
1 - pin for the flip filter piece. You can use a small piece of wire or 1.75mm filament or tiny
bolt or whatever will make a nice little pin.
1 - primary red theatrical gel filter. (only if you intend to use the flip filter part) You can use
any color you want though. Any kind of translucent plastic sheet will be fine if you don't
have gel filter laying around.
I usually design my holes a bit small and ream them out with a drill bit. You should therefore be able to use metric or imperial standard hardware. If you need something modified, leave me a comment and I'll try to work it in.
You may also find it helpful to hot wire the camera gear together prior to beginning, that way you can mark which side of the camera is the top. This is handy to know when you are putting the tube/camera parts together.
Decide how to mount and print some parts
Print one of each of the - back, body, front, mount, tube and cap parts and clean off all the burrs and support materials. The flip cover, large or small extension and jbox / jbox cover parts are optional parts you can print to enhance your build.
You will only need to print one tube part (39mm tube or 42mm tube etc.). Measure the diameter of your scope and print the appropriate size to fit over the eye piece.
You will only need to print one back plate part (back plate side wire or back plate bottom wire etc). depends on where you want the wires to come out of the lcd.
You will only need to print one body part (body side mount or body top mount etc). This will depend on weather you want to mount to the top of the scope and fold down, or side mount to side rail/scope and fold in.
Take that little lcd monitor apart. Clip off those connectors and peal off the outer jacket so the 4 wires are exposed. The color code of the wires should be...
red - 12 volt +
yellow - video signal
black - camera signal
bare stranded wire - common ground
You will only need one input so just clip off the camera signal wire and insulate the bare end.
Take those little screws from the back of the lcd housing and save them, they might work to mount your camera board.
File away at the tabs inside the Body piece if necessary and fit the lcd into it.
You should leave the protective film on the screen for now. Run a drill bit through the holes to size them appropriately and test fit all the viewer parts. It should look something like this...
Also you may notice there are two holes in the back viewer part. You will only need to use one for the final assembly. The second is to provide an additional expansion port for some mini DVR wires in case I ever wanted to do any recording. You can just put a bit of silicon sealant in it for now.
Carefully remove the two screws from the back of the camera board and set the lens housing aside. Take note of the tiny glass UV filter.
WITH GREAT CARE! Pry off the glass filter. Do not scratch the parts under the filter and try not to damage the board. I used a jewelers screwdriver and it worked fine.
Throw out the glass filter and reassemble the board and lens combo. Time to mount the camera board in the cap. We will worry about focusing the lens later. Incidentally you do that by loosening the set screw on the lens housing and twist the lens in and out.
The little screws that I saved from the lcd housing worked great. Fish the wires through the duct in the back of the cap and screw the camera into place. (note the orientation of the camera)
Once you are satisfied with the cap, get out the #6 screws and nuts. Install three of these in the gusset ears in the tube. These will be used to clamp the tube onto the eyepiece of the scope.
Depending on what hardware you use, you may have to file down 6 of the nuts as shown so that the flat spot will snug right up to the side of the tube when all the hardware is installed.
Fish the wires through the duct in the tube and bolt it all together.
This step "the junction box" is not required. You may elect to omit this and have a more compact finished assembly. I think it makes the wiring a bit easier, so I have included the parts as an add-alternate.
If you choose to use the optional junction box, print the JBOX and the JBOX COVER with support and tidy them up with the usual trimming and de-burring.
As usual the bolt holes are designed to be a bit undersized. You should ream out the little hole in the cover so the screw slides freely. Ream the hole in the JBOX with the appropriately sized drill bit to provide an interference fit (you should be able to screw a # 6 into the hole and have a snug fit but not split the plastic). Use a round file to clean out the slot in the JBOX part.
Slide the JBOX part on to the wiring duct of the TUBE part. You may choose to apply a bit of adhesive to join these parts, especially if you plan to mount this on a rifle that will produce significant recoil.
Test fasten the cover with a half inch long #6 screw.
Everything should be fitting nicely so lets wire it up.
One word of caution, I used a wall style 12 volt power adapter to test the camera/ lcd combo and fried my first camera. I tested the voltage from the little wall transformer and it was well over 15 volts (it appears that is how much is needed to charge a 12 volt battery pack) There was no literature with the camera but I would suggest you keep the voltage =or< 12 to be safe. When I test powered everything a second time I started at 9 volts from a battery pack and everything worked great. Many electrical components can tolerate a voltage range. I may just run this rig with a simple 9 volt battery in the future. I plan to get into some more testing on this later but let me know what works for you.
That being said,take the cover back off and run those wires through the 4mm PTFE tube like shown below. Snip off one of the power connectors from the discarded wire harness parts and thread the end into the junction box and tie a little knot in the wire to keep from pulling it out.
Salvage another piece of 3 strand wire (a foot or so) from the discarded wire harness parts. Thread one end into the junction box and one end into the back of the lcd enclosure. Go ahead and tie a couple more little knots for strain relief too.
In the junction box, twist together the 2 yellow wires, 3 red wires and the 3 common ground wires as shown and insulate with shrink tube.
At the LCD solder the yellow wires, two red wires and the 2 ground together in a similar fashion. Note that the black wire from the LCD is a camera signal wire NOT a ground. Clip this one short, cover with a piece of shrink tube and leave it disconnected. The bare stranded wire is the ground wire.
Hook up some power (I used 9 volts this time around) cross your fingers and verify your camera is mounted in the correct orientation.
Hint, the set screw on the lens should be the bottom.
Now that you have tested the electronics, reassemble the LCD housing and install the mount part. Snowflake trigger warning, there is a gun up ahead. Put your paintball, airsoft or other gun on the stand and bolt up that scope ring to the scope tube like this...
Slide the camera tube onto the scope, install the screws in the gusset ears and lightly snug them up. You should still be able to move it around to adjust it. Swing the cap open and lets tune and focus the camera.
Loosen the set screw on the camera lens. It may be necessary to unscrew the camera board from the cap and tilt it to the side. Alternately you can drill a small hole in the cap and poke a little jewelers screwdriver in from the side.
Power up the camera and,
1) Hold the cap into position, make sure the hols are lined up
2) Rotate the tube so the image is straight up and down.
3) Adjust the eye relief by changing the distance between the camera lens and the scope
lens. This means, slide the tube assembly in or out a little until the outer ring of the view
on the LCD is a sharp clean circle.
4) Tilt the cap open and screw the 6mm camera lens in all the way. Begin to back it
out a quarter turn at a time counter clockwise and check the picture on the LCD at each
increment. Keep doing this until you you get the best clear view of the cross hairs.
5) Tighten the set screw and install the flange bolts and snug down the gusset screws.
Illumination is pretty important. Try to find an IR torch that has the ability to focus the beam. This will help you dial in to spot light at range while allowing you to use a flood light at closer distances.
This set up is nice but the beam is not adjustable.
This one is awesome, adjustable and cheap.use whatever works for your setup though keep an eye out for the mounting bracket, Ill be designing that next.