Last Updated on March 9, 2021
Standalone night vision scopes come in various types and price ranges. Among them, night vision scopes are most fascinating for hunters and shooters. These scopes enhance the viewing range during low light conditions even on dark nights. But quality night vision scopes need good investment which may not be easy for everyone. If you are limited with a budget you can go for some cheap NV scopes or stick to this guideline to the end. This way, you will know how to make a night vision scope and save a good amount of your money.
DIY: How to Make a Night Vision Scope
Since this is a DIY project, the required parts may be changed according to your liking. And experts can easily do that. To help out the beginners along with intermediate users, we are giving generally easy to follow steps. Once you completely understand the basics and are feeling confident enough, you can easily customize the parts and improvise them.
We are not going to mention the details of each part neither their measurement. Because too many details may frighten you. We will discuss the core procedure in easy terms.
Basics of Night Vision Scope
You may already know how a night vision scope works, yet there is no problem reviewing the basics in a shorter way. The main part of an NV scope is the main tube which is referred to as the Image Intensifier Tube. This tube collects photons from the incoming light and converts them to electrons. The electrons are then amplified and reconverted to photons that hit the screen. And we get a nice clear view even in the night.
So to make an NV scope of your own, you have to collect such a tube or build the main things of the tube. Then you can use it for simple night viewing even possibly for hunting.
DIY Night Vision Scope Parts List
The DIY night vision scope kits are:
- Intensifier Tube
- Objective Lens
- Magnifying Loupe
- PVC Pipes
- PVC end caps and test caps
- Threaded Plug and Adapter
- Project Box or Hobby Box
- Black Duct Tape
- Toggle Switch
- Preferable Spray Paint
Check If the Tube is OK
Any intensifier tube will do as far as it has its own power supply. But according to most DIY experts, Gen I cascade tubes are the best fit for this project. You can easily get them from online providers. One unique fact of these tubes are, they contain three gen I tube instead of three stages for a single tube.
Once you have got the tube, it is time to check if the tube is live or not. To test the tube, you need darkness since it is sensitive to light. Connect the tube to a 3-6 V in a dark room and check if the phosphor screen becomes green or not. If it turns into green, the tube is perfectly functioning and ready to operate.
Forming the Eyepiece
After assuring that the tube is live, you need to construct the eyepiece to fit the lens into it. For this, you have to use the threaded plug and threaded adapter. Take the end cap and make a hole into it. The hole needs to be big enough so that the plug can be threaded into the adapter through it. Then you have to make a hole into the threaded plug to look through the lenses. You can use a hole saw for making the holes.
To smoothen the cutting parts, you can use sandpaper. Now you will need a lens to assemble with the plug. You can easily get your preferred diameter lens. If you are not sure, you can go for a 50mm lens and set it with the plug using some electrical tapes. Just make sure the lens is fitted perfectly. Keep away paint from the eyepiece and use strong super glue for the adapter.
Creating the Objective
The next thing you need to make is the objective. For this purpose, you need c-cs mount or other alike adapters that you can manage easily. After you have it, make holes for the thread to insert them inside with the use of the end cap and stick the adapter with the end cap using glue. Attach the lens using screws and the objection portion is ready.
Connect the Power Source
This part is quite easy. You need to drill holes in the box and housing so that wiring can be done from the tube to the batteries. While adding the power source, make sure you have the right type of batteries. Maintain the polarity of the battery and never mix them. You will need a soldering iron to establish the power connection perfectly.
Coloring the Whole Thing
If you are using PVC you must color them. PVC allows very little light to pass through. So you must not allow any stray light through the objective lens, otherwise, the image will not be clear. An easy fix to this problem is to color the whole plastic thing. So, remove the tube and lenses, then sand the rest of the elements gently and paint them in a well-ventilated space. Tape the threads to prevent them from the painting. One or two times spray will do the job. Make sure you don’t miss the inside of the objective end cap. This will ensure no light leaks into the device. Leave the PVC and other things to dry.
Adjust the Focusing
Now the final part is adjusting the focusing which is very important and you need to be patient in this step. Using enough duct tape, fit the tube perfectly inside the PVC in such a way that the tube doesn’t slide around.
First, mount your objective lens and slide your tube in the PVC. Then turn it on in a dark area. Focus it on a wall or a tree or similarly hard objects. Push or pull the tube inside the PVC until you get a clear image. The movement of the tube needs to be hard otherwise it will be easily displaced while in use. Never touch the phosphor screen to move the tube, rather use the outer portion for this.
Next for the eyepiece, hold the magnifier to the phosphor screen and measure the distance to focus it. After attaching the eyepiece cap, screw the lens until you get a crisp image. You may need to shorten the housing tube several times to adjust the focusing. But you have to do it with care and patience. First, trim very little portion from the PVC, then repeat it if necessary. If you cut more than what is necessary, you will regret it greatly. So be very careful in this step.
Turn into a Rifle Scope
So far you have already made a night vision scope for navigation at night. But you can also use it for hunting purposes. For that, you have to use a bipod for the rifle and a large rail mount to house two rail mounts. Since this device will add significant weight to your rifle you must need that bipod and rail mount for stability. For perfect aim, you will need laser sight with a pressured sensor, windage, and elevation adjustment set screws.
So this was our very much brief and basic easy to follow steps on how to make a night vision scope. After going through this, you will hopefully get the basic idea clearly. But make sure to know that, these types of devices can never replace the dedicated NV scopes. So if possible and necessary you better invest in a good quality scope.
Kalman is a hunting expert who has a vast experience with wild game hunting. Though night time hunting is his favorite, he masters the art of daytime hunting and shooting. Being a nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, he wants to pass the knowledge acquired over time to the next generation.