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How To Make A Vr Headset Without Lenses

How To Make A VR Headset Without Lenses

Are you interested in 3D images, movies, games? Always wanted to feel the experience how you could picture yourself under the deep sea or skydiving in the sky? And then you always get turned down when you see a cool VR set costs more than you can afford.

Well, if that is so then buckle up and hang tight with us because we are specially writing to you guys to make sure from now on you never lose the virtual reality experience ever again.

This time we are helping you with a homemade and cool virtual reality headset and all the way to your enjoyable experiences.

Before getting into it, a quick question guys: “Have you played with the following toy in your childhood?” Viewmaster

The toy is called a viewmaster. It can create a 3D feeling while we see those pictures in the small circling wheel. Well, modern days VR sets are just some advanced version of what we used to play before.

Now VR has the capability to make us feel the experience and interact around a virtual world. Surprisingly, the idea is not relatively new, rather it is quite old. The growth of technology with advanced software designs, we can bring that cool experience within our grasp just using our smartphones.

What is inside VR Headsets?

VR Set Interior

A factory-made VR set comes with a lot of different functionalities, features, and components. And constantly they are improving and upgrading the whole thing. So, the average manufacturing cost is around 300 to 500 USD. Despite the price factor if we actively look into the components then we will find the major components are:

For our homemade project we would focus on these components. So, let us get started.

How to make a Cardboard VR Headset

Generally, the body is built with plastic by the corporate manufacturing companies. They use light plastic and cover the set with soft foam to make it comfortable, durable and cool looking. We can achieve those ourselves with whatever we have in a homely manner.

VR Headset made of cardboard

Step 1: cutting the cardboard according to your phone’s height and width

The screen size and diagonal of your phone must differ from one brand to the other. So, measuring your phone’s length and breadth, you will cut the cardboard. Make in total of two such rectangle pieces from the cardboard. Make two comfortable circles for your eye positioning and cut them out. Stick two of the rectangular pieces one upon another with glue. Then cut a small trapezoid shape from the bottom-mid portion for your nose.

Step 2: making the bottom portion of the headset

Cut another piece of cardboard according to your phone’s height but keep the width of this particular cardboard a couple inches longer than your phone. This will ensure a little distance between the eye and your smartphone. The standard measurement of the width is approximately 11cm or 7 inches. Cut a semicircle from the piece. Then cut another small semi-circle portion as your nose holder. Then we need two identical rectangles for our two sides of the headset. Standard measurement would be 7 inches by 4 inches. Then we add those two side pieces with the lower portion with glue. After finishing this step, the setup will look like this.

preparing the bottom portion

Step 3: adding first step’s piece with the lower portion of the setup

Now we would keep some distance from the front face to the 1st piece that we cut earlier to create the space for smartphone holders. You might want to add some extra small pieces on both sides of the box to ensure a nice grip for the smartphone. Then place another small piece of cardboard vertically in the middle of the box. This will separate both your eyes while watching and create the 3D effect.

Step 4: adding the front and top side and finishing up the headset

Now according to the measurement, we will stick the front face of the box. Before sticking it, we will create a camera hole for the camera positioning. Finally, we will attach the top and our cardboard VR set is ready to use.

What about the lens?

VR lenses are needed when we want to see our smartphone really close to our eyes. Here is an Interesting fact. When we see things normally, our eyes focus on the object as if light rays were coming from Infinity. So, we can see the object at ease.

But if the object is coming closer to your eyes then the lens of your eyes needs to bend to observe the closer object. If the object comes too close, then your lens cannot bend that much and eventually you lose focus and a blurry image seems to appear.

This happens when our eyes try to focus on a closer object and create its image far away back of our retinas. To ensure this problem should never happen, generally we use lenses in VR headsets. Lenses help us to avoid the focus losing problem. 

Too closer object makes us losing focus.

How to make VR Lenses?

Making a moderately fair lens is not expensive at all. There are several ways actually to homely build the lens. If you have not so much expensive equipment to work with still you will always find those. To prepare a biconvex lens is not hard or overworking at all. We can find the ingredients easily. Lens we see are generally made from plastic or glass.

So, the easiest source of plastic is a plastic bottle or any plastic container. The more transparent the plastic is the better. If you want glass as your lens material, then the easiest source could be an old or fused electric bulb.

Lens out of plastic bottle

Mark 4 circles and cut them out from the plastic bottle. Then join any two to make a pair using glue. Keep a small gap and do not seal the gap yet. Dive the lens inside a bowl of water so water can get into the lens. Make sure no air bubble remains. After that you seal the gap with glue and make another lens similarly.

Lens out of electric bulb

First take out the filament using pliers. Take a round shaped metal and heat it up a little bit. Then place the metal on to the bulb for around 7~10 seconds. Then pour some cold water on the bulb. It will gently detach the heated circular portion. That is the general idea. But we are discussing it in detail in the next section.

Can you make VR lenses without water?

Water is a medium inside the lens that does the refraction. But we can achieve the same refraction using air as the lens medium with necessary calibration. Hopefully, you have finished reading with the “Lens out of electric bulb” section. To use air as a medium instead of water, it is better to use glass lenses as they shine enough and are perfect for refraction.

Make sure that any one side of the lens is bigger than the other. It’s because of the connecting. If both sides are similar in size, then you need to attach another with a connector. Then wash it and heat it up a few seconds for further transparency.

Now it’s time to make another one and attach both the lens with our cardboard made VR set body. It’s important to note that as we did not use water inside the lens so the focus distance would be larger than distance using water. So, make sure to adjust the length that you feel alright with this lens.

How to Make a Cardboard VR Headset without Lenses

Yes, it is in fact possible to make a VR headset without any effort on the lens. We will skip the lens this time. But do you remember that too close objects make us lose focusing appropriately? So how can we solve the problem this time because we do not have lenses now, right? Well, we simply make sure that the object cannot get too close.

In our case, the smartphone will be a bit distant from our eyes. So, the VR cardboard box that you make, make sure it stays a bit long. Another important factor, my friend. When our eyes see anything, both eyes create a single image of it together. Using the combination of both our eyes’ projection, our brain makes it 3D. In our case, what we do is: we make sure that the combination of both eyes cannot take place.

So, we create a divider or barrier between our eyes in the box to make this effect happen. The longer the box is, the longer the barrier would be. When you want to find your optimal distance this way, make sure you put some VR videos on YouTube and test the distance that suits you. It varies person to person, so make sure you find your suitable one. Once you find it, you are into the magic land, my friend.


Well here we are, at the end of the process. This time you might focus on making it look cooler and comfortable. So here is what you are going to do. Paint the set with your favorite color(s). If you want, you can stitch some soft foam around the places where you place your eyes.

And make sure that you stitch an elastic belt around and over the box to hold the VR headset by your head. Finally, congratulate yourself, give a pad on the back and experience the coolness of your virtual reality.

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