iPhone 4s iPhone 4 Macro Lens

by lens42
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    White nylon plastic polished to reveal a smooth matte finish.

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Please note - An iPhone 5 macro lens is now also available: http://www.shapeways.com/model/864992/iphone-5-macro-lens.html

Make your own slide-on macro lens for the iPhone 4 or 4S. I designed this for my iPhone 4 when I couldn't find the image quality I wanted for less than $60.

Print this model and then buy the glass lens for $4 from Surplus Shed (http://www.surplusshed.com/). The Surplus Shed part number is L4471. For some reason the search box on the Surplus Shed home page does not work with part numbers. To get to L4471, use the "Lens Finder". In the Lens Finder type:

Lens Type: PCX, Plano Convex
Diameter: 12mm to 12mm
Focal length: 51mm to 51mm

It will get you to L4471

The lens fits in a recess in the model and is held in place with a few tiny drops of Superglue. If you get any glue on the lens it can cleaned off with nail polish remover or acetone. The lens is plano-convex (one side is flat). When inserted in the holder, the flat side of the lens faces the phone.

Note that the lens fits pretty snugly into the opening. Try fitting the lens before applying any glue. A good technique is, with the lens holder laying face-down on a table, lay the lens in position, and then push it into the recess by poking the lens with the eraser-end of a pencil. Once you know the lens fits cleanly, push it back out and put two tiny drops of superglue on opposite edges of the opening. I use a toothpick to apply the glue because squeezing the superglue directly out of the tube risks putting on too much. Then push the lens back in the same way as in the test fit.

The object pictures in the photo gallery (dime, ruler, and watch) are unedited and uncropped shots directly from my iPhone4.

This model will not slide over iPhone cases.


IN: 0.993 w x 0.993 d x 0.63 h
CM: 2.522 w x 2.522 d x 1.6 h


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In response to whistleblower: The referenced patent was filed on 2/3/2012. My device predates that, and I have documentation going back to early 2011. "First to file" did not take effect until March 16th 2013, so prior documentation should prevail. Also, reading the linked page on "counterfeits", they are talking about "copycat" products that try to deceive the customer. I don't see how anyone could be fooled into thinking my design is made by Olloclip.
January 20, 2014, 3:30 am
@lens42 What's interesting there is that the lens is threaded. So it might be able to grip with that and some cyanoacrylate of your choice.
October 24, 2013, 12:32 am
Hi Paul - I looked at that L3275 lens. The problem I see is the thickness. It's 10mm and my model only has about 5mm of depth to hold the lens. 12mm hole could be widened to take the 15mm diameter. but some of the L3275 lens would have to stick out the front about 5mm. If you want to try it anyway, I suggest drilling out the hole a bit small from the front and then use the threads on the triplet to screw it in (sort of self tapping) up to the proper depth. Sorry about Shapeways delay. I know - it's not great for instant gratification, but I still haven't considered getting my own 3D printer because the cost to get this print quailty is way beyond what I could justify.
October 17, 2013, 12:55 am
I thought part of the magic of these new manufacturing technologies is the shorter delivery time. Two weeks from order date to ship date is a bit too long.
October 16, 2013, 11:14 pm
I bought the set of four lenses that SurplusShed is offering and I like the L3275, the 22mm triplet, more than the L4471. It's a little bigger in diameter: is the material you use machinable enough that I could enlarge the mounting hole, @lens42?
October 16, 2013, 5:50 am
Über clever!
August 7, 2013, 9:23 pm
Hi nguyencea - Actually, there IS an iPhone 5 lens here: http://www.shapeways.com/model/864992/iphone-5-macro-lens.html I'm not sure why, but the iPhone 5 lens gets much less activity than the iPhone 4 one. So far I haven't made any for Android phones, but if I get one, I may make it in the future.
August 2, 2013, 4:36 pm
can you make this product compatible for iphone 5 or android ?
August 1, 2013, 6:14 pm
From this post I am learning to make a slide on macro lens for my own iPhone which is very interesting. Very nice tips shared on iPhone macro lens but as per the macro lens concern I would like to buy it from surplusshed. Thanks for sharing.
July 2, 2013, 7:21 am
@theredqueentheory Sorry, it won't fit the Galaxy phones. Most Android phones don't have the camera lens near the corner. I can't think of a cute way to do this for them.
June 27, 2013, 5:13 pm
got so many great bug shots with this!
June 26, 2013, 7:46 pm
Would this fit on an Android Samsung Galaxy X?
June 1, 2013, 12:27 am
@w4119 SO true!
March 10, 2013, 6:11 am
Great ! !
December 6, 2012, 8:11 am
Really excellent use of technique and surplus lens. I will have to order soon. Too bad the shipping costs nearly double the price!
October 7, 2012, 3:54 pm
it will be nice if you sell it already fully finish,with the lens.
July 10, 2012, 11:56 pm
Sorry about not being able to offer much advice about zoom, wide-angle or other lens types. I'm not really that knowledgeable about lenses. I arrived on the lens specs for this by trial and error and reading on Wikipedia. I think for zoom you would need more complicated optics than just one lens.
June 19, 2012, 3:09 am
I've actually built this lens and it's great. My wife and I use is a lot. It takes really great pictures. What lens could be purchase to turn one of these into a zoom lens? There have been questions about a "2x" lens, but it sounds like that might mean greater macro magnification. I want to make things in the distance bigger. Thanks!
June 18, 2012, 11:46 pm
i want to custom my own clip how can i download this one??
April 19, 2012, 1:36 am
Just got mine and put the lens in, and on my iPhone 4s. Works great!
April 14, 2012, 4:01 pm
KIck ass idea! :)
February 11, 2012, 11:40 am
The "12.0" is the diameter that will fit in your adapter, correct? Would a 6mm 12.0 lens (in your adaptor) create a fish-eye effect? Suggestions? Many thanks.
January 15, 2012, 12:32 am
To Trinton - I apologize for not being clearer in the description. $11 buys the 3-D printed slide-on lens holder from Shapeways. You then must separately buy the lens ($4) from Surplus Shed and glue it into the holder. I do not assemble them for you. This is a do-it-yourself project.
January 8, 2012, 7:45 am
my question is - If I pay 11 and buy this from you will I have to buy the lens separate or does the lens come with it? You put it all together before sending it out?
January 8, 2012, 7:24 am
Hi! Brilliant and simple design... Thank you for sharing! Although, If it were reversible it would be twice as useful! If I wanted to adjust the design to make it reversible, would i be able to build off of your original design? Could I upload your design "blueprints" somehow to help make this alternate version? Thanks!!
December 29, 2011, 7:38 am
To answer myshack's questions: 1) The nub provides pressure for a good fit when tolerances are not perfect. On earlier generations, I banked on perfect dimensions and some lenses would be too tight or loose. 2) This design is not reversible, but one could be made that way. On this design, the hole in the back makes it easier to put in the lens and also to clean it.
December 28, 2011, 9:03 am
Wow great design. You really made something impressive here. Two questions: 1. What is the small nub used for?(You con only see it when manipulating the 3d) 2. Is the lens reversible? Meaning could you potentially use a macro on one side then reverse the device to use say a zoom? Thanks!
December 22, 2011, 4:39 am
Added some notes in the description to make inserting the lens easier. Tolerances sometimes make a tight fit. I think this may be more due to variations in the lenses than in Shapeways dimensions.
November 24, 2011, 7:26 am
I featured this item on my blog: http://www.3dfuture.com.au/2011/11/3d-printed-iphone-slide-on-macro-lens/ I hope you get lots of sales!
November 23, 2011, 10:31 pm
"The way I converged on a 51mm focal length lens was by trial and error with lenses I had lying around (I save optics out of anything I'm throwing out). I tested lenses by holding them in front of the camera and seeing the results. Most of these lenses were large, but that doesn't matter for the testing part. " How I wish I had some available lenses, or even any idea as to what type of lenses I might buy from Surplus Shed for my own empirical research. Since I have no lenses lying about perhaps you might make a small research project into what type of lens ( PCX, PCV or what?) and focal length might be obtained from Surplus Shed to make, instead of a Macro Lens, a Prime Lens, or, a very minimal Telephoto lens with a modest decrease in the field of view and the modest increase in the size of objects in that field of view. Based on your advice I will buy a selection of lenses bracketing your suggestions to see what works best to meet my expectations.
November 21, 2011, 5:18 pm
Great product ! This should be Featured by Duaan! Based on my experience you're practically giving away a very cool accessory for iPhone instead of marketing it your self as ready made product on eBay, etsy etc.. When i posted a similar product for a keychain tiny charger for iPhone, customers bought the 3rd party add-on but not my 3d model.. my 2C + you got my 5 stars !
November 20, 2011, 9:08 pm
The way I converged on a 51mm focal length lens was by trial and error with lenses I had lying around (I save optics out of anything I'm throwing out). I tested lenses by holding them in front of the camera and seeing the results. Most of these lenses were large, but that doesn't matter for the testing part. When I found one that had the performance I wanted (for taking macro shots of coins, stamps, and watches anyway), I measured it's focal length. This pretty easy to do. You hold the lens such that a distant light source (say 10 or more feet away) is projected in focus on a flat surface, and then measure the distance between the lens and the surface. My approach may not be the most rigorous optical engineering, but it seemed to work pretty well. For details about focal length versus magnification, this Wiki page seems pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnification
November 20, 2011, 5:12 am
What similar size and quality of lens would you choose for a 2X zoom lens? Do you have any suggested source of info that would educate me a bit in making other lens choices for 4X and so on. Even on a triopd, I expect 2X would be a limit for an HD quality image. John
November 18, 2011, 4:27 pm
The information was there, but the way Shapeways formats the box doesn't make it that clear that there is more text if you click the tiny "MORE" button. I edited the description to be clearer. Thanks. For more magnification, you can try shorter focal length lenses. The one I picked was 51mm. Shorter choices with the same diameter: L4581 PCX 12.0 39 $4.00 L8181 PCX 12.0 29 $4.00 L7384 PCX 12.0 23 $4.00 or use their Lens Finder for others. I did actually try the 39mm lens and debated whether to use that one or the 51mm. I opted for the 51 because thought I would be better for general use, but the 39mm did give more magnification. - lens42
November 16, 2011, 7:21 pm
Careful reading of the Shapeways site revealed the Surplus Shed info. The lens info shows up in a search for your posts, but oddly enough not on the post itself. Hence my confusion and perhaps confusion for others. Stock # Type Diameter in mm Focal Length iin mm coated Price L4471 PCX 12.0 51 N $4.00 So that would allow me to duplicate your Macro lens. What similar size and quality of lens would you choose for a 2X zoom lens? John
November 16, 2011, 6:37 pm


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