Thermal Leak Detector Long Exposure Photography

thermal long exposure photograph of a Crock Pot

A little over a year ago, DIYTripods featured a technique for taking heat-sensitive long exposure photos using a modified flashlight. The photographic process behind this is explained there. This gave me an idea that one could use a Black & Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector (Amazon) without modification to do the same thing.

The unit functions pretty simply. You turn it on pointed at whatever you want to appear normal temperature-wise, and it displays green.  Point it at something cooler and it becomes blue; point it at something hotter and it becomes red.  To make an infrared image, photograph your target while slowly sweeping the red-green-blue beam across, and you have a crude infrared photograph. Between 25 and 30 seconds of exposure seems to work well for me.

The one thing that is kind of tricky is that the color transition isn’t instantaneous, but it’s not impossible to work around. In addition to what’s above, I’ve taken some other interesting photos using this technique, as seen after the “read more” link. Continue reading

DIY Smartphone Microscope


Would you like a digital microscope? Perhaps you’d like to turn your smartphone into one.

If you have a cell phone, you can make a DIY smartphone microscope with up to 175x magnification using $10 worth of parts via this Instructables article. It also claims that you’ll only need 20 minutes to make this setup, but I’m a little skeptical on both counts.


Regardless, this is a really simple setup, using only wood, plexiglass, nuts/bolts, and a lens from a laser pointer. If it takes you a little longer than 20 minutes, the results appear to be worth it.  Besides the article linked above, you can see a video of how one of these microscopes is made after the “read more” link.

The video claims that this is a “viable option for under-funded science classrooms,” which may be true. Perhaps it could be a good project for normally-funded shop classrooms as well! Continue reading

Servocity Camera Slider Auto Stop Switch Setup

servocity camer slider auto stop full assembly

A few months ago, I reviewed Servocity camera slider.  As cool as it is, one thing that was missing from my initial build is a way to automatically stop the slider when it gets to the end.  If you’re watching it, as I was before, this isn’t a problem, but if you’re taking a long time-lapse, an automatic stopping method would be needed.

Servocity’s answer comes in the form of two easily-mountable limit switches (See Parts list later in the post) along with two diodes that allow for current to go one way when the switch is depressed but not the other way. In other words, Continue reading