With the bottle formed & trimmed to shape, it’s time to mount the lens. This view shows the final result, with the camera body angled upward.
The general idea is that the bottle cap already attaches securely to the bottle, so I can just cut a rectangular hole in the lid, make it just slightly smaller than the lens, and affix the lens inside with the planar surface facing outward.
Two motivations for making the hole slightly smaller than the lens:
- The lens has rounded corners, as it was cut from a 38 mm diameter round lens
- It won’t stick out, get bumped, and fall off
The first step was, of course, to make a fixture: a sacrificial wood block with a raised section that fits snugly inside the cap. I found a nice maple disk in the scrap bin, chucked it in the lathe, and turned a section to fit. I don’t have a dust extraction system, so I did this one-handed with another on the shop vac to suck up the swarf. Yuch, wood is dusty!
That simplified clamping the rather slippery lid in place. It’s probably polyethylene that would slide away under heavy cutting loads, but with a 2 mm end mill that wasn’t a problem. The origin is at the center of the cap, directly atop the convenient injection-molding sprue button.
The lens is 34.4×22.1 mm, so I cut a 32×20 mm opening using manual CNC. Given a 1 mm cutter radius, the G-Code looked something like this:
#1=[20/2-1] #2=[32/2-1] g0 x[0-#1] y[0-#2] g1 z-2 f100 x#1 y#2 x[0-#1] y[0-#2] g0 z30
That’s from memory, so it might not work quite right. Basically, store the key variables in parameters and use those instead of mistyping a digit somewhere.
The opening even has nicely rounded 1-mm radius corners from the 2 mm cutter…
I added a sheet of acrylic inside the lid to hold the lens in position and provide a more glue-attractive surface. The lens opening here was a slip-fit for the lens: 34.5×22.2 mm. The G-Code looks pretty much the same:
#1=[22.2/2-1] #2=[34.5/2-1] g0 x[0-#1] y[0-#2] g1 z-2 f100 x#1 y#2 x[0-#1] y[0-#2] g0 z10
The wood disk even had a convenient hole in the middle, making it easy to re-clamp the acrylic from the center with a stack of washers. The laser aligner made alignment easy: make the nut finger-tight, put the spot on the left edge near the front, jog to the rear, twist to split the difference, iterate a few times, then snug down the nut.
Then the origin is halfway between the edges. Knowing the opening size, find one edge and touch off by half that amount.
The cardboard lid liner was 43 mm in diameter, so I figured that would work for the acrylic sheet. Circular interpolation makes getting a precise diameter trivially easy, after you remember that this is outside milling so you must add the cutter radius:
#1=[43/2+1] g0 x[0-#1] y0 g1 z-2 f100 g2 i#1 g1 z30
What’s not shown there is the blob of acrylic that welded itself to the cutter because I was taking picures rather than dribbling water on the workpiece to keep it cool. I hate it when that happens.
But everything pretty much worked out. The holder was a snap fit inside the cap, just like it was supposed to be.
I glue the lens to the acrylic holder with silicone snot (aka “adhesive” or “caulk”), let it cure overnight, snapped the cap on the bottle, and iterated once to get the lens properly aligned with the opening (the acrylic sheet rotates freely inside the cap).
The end result is, admittedly, ugly on a stick, but the first reports from the user community are encouraging!
We may add a dark cloth ruffle around the bottle cap as an eye shade and eyeglass protector, but that’s in the nature of fine tuning.