The Hardships of Building a Night Vision Scope: A DIY Guide

I am a frequent traveler and I love to do weekend trips. It feels soothing to go for a night out with family and friends. More so when you can see the objects and feel the surroundings with proper gears. It was my last trip when I discovered that we seriously needed a night gear for enjoying our trips to the fullest.

But, those things are real expensive. The only way I can afford them is by making it myself. What’s wrong in giving it a shot?

About Night Gear

Night vision devices are electronic devices that help us to see in the total darkness. You can see everything on a moonless night with the help of the night vision devices.

Night vision gears help us to see clearly by using the magnifying faint light available in the environment using it to create a crystal clear and detailed image for the users.

Many people think that making a night time vision device involves some kind of rocket science but trust me it is not that strenuous. Last week only I started building a night vision scope which turned out to be amazing so I thought of sharing the same DIY guide with you all.

How to build a night time vision scope

I followed the same procedure which I am now going to share with you guys to successfully build the night time vision scope.

1. Understand the science of night time vision scope

The first and foremost thing before kick-starting the building process is to know how the machine works and here I have summarized the same.

So primarily night time vision uses an image intensifier tube which is an electro-optical essential tube and this mainly uses and accumulate incoming photons through the opening into a photocathode which then converts those photons into electrons then the electrons are expanded across a plate called microchannel plate which is then converted back into photons eventually when they hit the phosphor screen.

As there are different generations of night visions but the one which I used is Gen 1 and is called a cascade tube. I choose this one due to its affordability and availability. Cascade tube contains three gen 1 tubes instead of three stages for a single tube.

Source: YouTube

2. Assemble all the required parts

 After understanding the working phenomenon the next important step is to gather and assemble all the important parts that will be necessary parts that will be required in the building of the night vision scope. And don’t worry there is nothing new in building a Night Vision on your own; the history goes long back. So here I am listing all the parts that I used while I was making my night vision. 

Equipment we require

  • A  project box or hobby box
  • A viewfinder ( you can use is from the old VHC camcorder )
  • PVC pipes
  • End caps and test caps
  • Magnifying Loupe
  • Threaded plug
  • Threaded adapter
  • Wires
  • Toggle switch
  • Black Duct Tape
  • Paint (preferably spray paint of your choice 

Piling up Tools

  • Hot glue gun
  • Pilers
  • Multimeters
  • Soldering iron

3. Testing the tubes

The third step in building a night scope vision is to test the tubes because first, you want to make sure that it works properly. Also, do remember to test these tubes in the darkness because these are sensitive to light.

For the sake of testing the tubes just hook it up to 3-6 V in a dark area and you will see a phosphor screen light (green colour) after a few seconds. At this step, you won’t be able to see much clearly but once when you will reach the final step you will be amazed by its performance.

4. Creating the eyepiece

After successfully testing the tube the next important step is to create an eyepiece and for that you will need a threaded plug and threaded adapter for fitting into your eyepiece lens into it. You need to thread the plug into the adapter with the help of end cap. Make sure that use a hot or strong glue for that matter and try to keep away paint from the eyepiece because you obviously do not want to mess up with your eyepiece.

5. Forming the objective

To make an objective you are required to put some glue on the c-cs mount or another adapter that you have used in the process. Now you need to make holes for the thread so that they can easily go inside with the help of end cap (you can use drilling machine to make the holes) and stick the adapter to the end cap with the glue. Fix your eyepiece and Hola!! Your objective is done.

6. Add the power

Adding power is probably the easiest step in the whole process building a night vision scope as you just need to drill a hole in the housing and in the project box so that the wires can easily go to the batteries from the tubes.

Source: Rifleopticsworld

7. Painting your night vision

If you love painting then you are going to enjoy this part but apart from enjoying it you must know how painting helps in this process? Now PVC’s allow a very small amount of light to pass through it and this eventually creates hurdle when you don’t want any empty light entering the objective of your scope and clouding the picture. So for that matter painting helps in fixing the issue. Make sure that you are painting the end cap of your objective so that no light leaks into the device. You can use any paint of your choice.

8. Focusing on the system

The next step is to get your tube fit perfectly into the PVC pipe and you have to wrap it around the intensifier with the help of the duct tape. Then take the objective lens and slide it into the tube and turn it on in the dark place and attach the eyepiece cap and fit it perfectly until you can clearly see the image in the tube. 

In case if you can’t see clearly then try adjusting your distance by cutting your housing tube which I did after which I had to just set up the eyepiece to focus it on the screen.

Source: YouTube

9. Conversion to riflescope

You can go for the rifle scope instead of land navigation as it could be used for hunting purposes. If you are using it for that purpose, make sure that you are using a bipod and optic for the rifle. As the weight of the optic is too large, make sure that you are using the bipod in a right way for supporting the weight of the gun.

So you can follow these steps to successfully build a night vision scope that will help you to clearly see all the things and objects during nocturnal time. I know that many of you will be facing some issues like I did but just stick to your plan or try and learn from different guides. Eventually you will be grateful once you successfully build the night vision scope. One more thing that i want to  make clear is that do not compromise with the quality of the products as using the inferior quality products might destroy your hard work.

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