How to Make a Thermal Imaging Camera

A thermal imaging camera has many useful applications. However, these cameras are so expensive that few people can actually afford them. A typical thermal imaging camera can cost as much as $40,000, which is why there is a lot of interest in building your own. While it is a fairly complex project, it will only cost under $100 which is much less than buying a professional thermal imaging camera.

Step 1: Finding Components

A thermal imaging camera requires a few simple components. These include an inexpensive non-contact thermometer. These thermometers work using infrared to detect the temperature without the need of any contact. It should be possible to find these for under $10. Most of them are key rings which are very easy to use.

Step 2: Preparation

When you have found a suitable thermometer, you should then open it up. This will normally involve removing a few screws and prizing the case open. With any luck, the outputs will already be determined by looking at the circuit board. If not, then you will need to try and determine exactly what they are.

Step 3: Moving the Thermometer

The thermometer will need to be moved over the scene at a slow speed to capture the information required for the picture. To make this possible, you should use some servo motors. This will be difficult to do and will require some experimenting.

Step 4: Making Software

Now you need to connect the thermometer to your computer and write some software to receive and graph the information received. This will ensure that the picture will be built up correctly. This will be the most difficult part of the project. It's possible to build this in visual basic. If you're not much of a programmer, then you might need to hire one to complete the project.