How to make Google cardboard

If you are a tech-savvy kind of person and have been living on planet earth for a while, then you must have heard of or even used Google cardboard. If for some reason you have not, let us briefly explain to you.

This is a virtual reality headset which you can make from a sheet of foldable cardboard and a pair of lenses. It was first released to the public back in 2014 and we can comfortably state that it has paved the way for the rest of the players in the industry.

Other rival companies have gone ahead to release similar products. We can comfortably say that the Google cardboard has set the bar for the rest. You are now spoilt for choice between Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift as well as loads of other cheaper options.

By now, you must become really interested in knowing if you can make Google Cardboard yourself. Well, it’s a simple yes. This article will provide you with a simple guideline on how to make a Google cardboard.

Also read: How to use Google play music

What materials do you need?

There are several necessary items to get you going:

A Cardboard

The first item is a corrugated cardboard sheet of E Flute. Note that flute here refers to thickness.

The cardboard should be strong and thin for the most positive results. The minimum size should be 8.75inx22in (22cmx56cm) and 0.06in (1.5mm) in terms of thickness.

The magnets

You would need one neodymium ring magnet and one ceramic disk magnet each measuring 0.75in (19mm) in diameter and 0.12in (3mm) in thickness.

Lenses 

We should inform you that this is the most important component of the gadget. They should preferably have a focal distance of 45mm.

Another important feature is that they should be biconvex since these do not easily get distorted around the edges.

Velcro patches

You will need two strong strips of Velcro which are adhesive-backed. The approximate size should be 0.75inx1.25in (20mmx30mm).

Rubber Band 

You need one rubber band measuring at least 3.2in (8cm). The main purpose of this rubber band is to prevent your phone from sliding out during use.

NFC tag

This item is not really a priority like the rest but you can program it with the URL cardboard: //v 1.0.0.

Copper foil

This would be necessary for the conductive touch screen button.

The tools that you will need for the process include scissors, a metal edged ruler, a utility knife or razor and a large solid cutting surface.

Before commencing with the construction work, ensure that you have downloaded the template for this work.

Stick the template to the cardboard

Cut the template into pieces and glue them onto the cardboard. The use of glue gives you the freedom to pull off the template from the cardboard any time.

In the end, you will have two large pieces and two small pieces plus the button. Do not cut out any of the inside pieces, for instance the lens holes.

To fold each piece, you will need a metal edged ruler and a dull pencil or even a coin. Use them to score the folding lines. Press the edge of the ruler into the scored line and fold the cardboard towards you, unless directed otherwise.

Test if it fits

This step is important as it ensures that everything rhymes with each other. A margin of error is always allowed. It is at this stage that you will get the “Lens Face” and the “phone face”.

Cutting the Inside parts 

When it comes to cutting the insides, you should start with cutting the holes in the outermost layer. These holes should lie on the same line with the other layers.

You should note that holes which are cut from the templates while the cardboard pieces are flat do not always line up after the layers are folded. This however depends on thickness of your cardboard as well as well as your carpentry skills.

You can now add the touch screen button 

This button has a pyramid-like appearance such that you can easily press it down. The top will have a sponge covered with conductive copper foil tape so as to transfer the current from your finger to your screen. The sponge is there to give you a soft touch.

Alternatively, you can just touch your screen directly by reaching through the nose hole. The front flap of the button should be tucked under while the back flap should be tucked behind. In order to stand straight up, the front of the pyramid should be the shorter side.

Leave a gap between the pyramid and the cell phone face, lest the sponge be in contact with the screen all the time.

Painting it 

It is advisable to paint your viewer before sticking the pieces together and inserting the lenses. You should also avoid painting the surfaces which you will be gluing.

An alternative to painting is putting a clear packing tape above the nose hole on the insider face. This will protect the viewer from the stains on your forehead which occasionally ends up getting to the lenses.

Inserting the lenses

At this point, you should glue the inner and middle layers of the panels which will later make up the lens face. You then insert the lenses while curved towards the phone face or the inside of the viewer.

Finally, glue the outer panel on and confirm that the panels still match whilst in their folded position.

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Piecing together the parts

This is the final stage of the assembling process. Start by gluing the inner layer of the phone face to the middle layer. Be cautious not to glue the button flap. In case the flap gets bound down, you can release it by trimming around the three edges with scissors or a razor.

It is also at this stage that we introduce the rubber band and the Velcro. The Velcro would hold the front flap over the phone and also hold the side flaps down.
The rubber band ensures that your phone does not slide out sideways from your viewer.

Conclusion 

Just like that, you have created a virtual reality app. For even better experience, you can add a headstrap or headphones to the viewer.
Quite awesome, isn’t it?

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