Webcam macro mod for electrolysis

Stumbled into an instructables article yesterday on how to convert a USB webcam lens into a macro lens while googling something random. Turns out it is surprisingly easy for most webcams all you have to do is unscrew the lens a bit and it magically turns into a macro lens. To focus the lens you unscrew and screw as needed or move the camera closer or further away. Would be nice to have autofocus but for being entirely free I’m not complaining.

For me a USB camera that can take macro/kinda micro shots is useful for attempting to do DIY electrolysis on my beard in hard to see places. For a webcam to be usable for electro it at least needs low latency and a decent resolution. I found the time time lag for my webcam to be minimal. I could only notice the delay when really looking for it and I’m guessing the delay is around 100ms or lower.

Here’s some hand-held shots of the right corner of my beard where I havn’t even attempted to treat hairs yet:


I bumped the contrast and saturation up in my webcam settings to make things more clear, closeups of my skin are slightly less horrific looking with the default image settings. The tan stuff lying around is foundation gunk. I was using only dim window light, with better lighting you should be able to raise the f stop/aperture of the webcam which would improve the depth of field so more things in the shot are clear at the same time and also would allow a lower ISO which lowers image noise.

Haven’t yet attempted to actually do electrolysis with it yet though. I need to affix the webcam to some type of movable arm and I’m considering taking my second monitors arm temporarily for it. Also unsure if the lack of stereo vision will make it too difficult to use for electro.

Also it appears you can get a purpose made USB microscope/macro cam on Amazon for $20, though the reviews aren’t the greatest for the cheap $20 ones. So if you’re considering doing this for something but don’t already have an external webcam you might want to look into one of them instead of cheap webcam which would be around the same price (though you could likely score a used webcam for $10 or under).

Here’s the instructables link. And a stackexchange post on how to do it for my webcam, a Logitech C270.

Remember to install your webcam’s software as well. It will likely allow you to change a bunch of helpful settings like mirroring the image, contrast, resolution, ISO, etc. I know the Logitech webcam software is decent enough, don’t know for other brands. Also I couldn’t find any decent alternative OSS/free webcam settings apps after doing a quick google search so I just stuck with the Logitech one.

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1 Comment

  1. mike bono says: Reply

    This is GREAT! Thanks for sharing … I’m gonna try it. (MIke Bono)

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