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by Procheta Mallik


Make your own pinhole camera using your toolkit by making a hole in one of the end caps and placing a butter-paper screen within the tube to see lovely inverted images!

    • Handle the scissors/cutter with care

    • Light candle under adult supervision

    • Be careful about the hot metal wire piece

  1. Heat a piece of metal wire on a candle and use it to pierce a hole in the centre of one of your toolkit end caps.
    • Heat a piece of metal wire on a candle and use it to pierce a hole in the centre of one of your toolkit end caps.

    • Given the thickness of the cap, you may need to keep reheating the wire to eventually get a hole.

    • Trace the outline of the end cap on a thin piece of cardboard

    • Cut this circle out

    • Draw a dashed concentric circle of radium 1cm less than the cardboard circle

    • Cut this circular cardboard ring out

    • Tape the ends of the circular cardboard cutout.

    • Glue the ends of the circular cutout to make your rim

    • Glue a piece of translucent paper/butter paper on the cardboard rim, as shown

    • Using scissors, trim off the edges of the translucent paper to make it a circular screen.

    • Place the translucent paper screen at the centre of the cylindrical tube .

    • Close one end of the tube with the lid you made a hole in

    • Place a lit candle on the outside, near the lid .

    • This works better if you are in a darker room

    • Try to get a sharp picture of the flame by moving the tube towards or away from the candle.

    • Always view the screen from the open end of the tube

    • Now make multiple holes on the lid and view the image made by a lit candle near the lid

    • Play with the pinhole camera by focusing the images formed .

    • View the image formed on the screen from the open end of the tube by pointing on any real objects/building/trees.

    • Your eyes should be right up against the tube to prevent any outside light from entering the tube from the viewing side.

    • In our case, you can see the inverted image of the building, street-sign stand and trees as seen through the pinhole camera.

    • Make sure that there is no gap when the screen is placed at the centre of the tube.

    • The flame of the candle and the hole at the centre of the lid should be aligned.

    • The hole(s) shouldn't be too big

    • External light should be minimised from the viewing side.

    • How does the image form on the screen? Why is it always inverted?

    • What's the difference between the images when the hole is big versus when it's small?

    • What's the difference in focusing when we view far away objects (e.g. the building) versus closer objects (e.g. candle)?

    • How does "focusing" work? Is it the same as in our digital optical cameras? Explore!

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Suhail Ahanger

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