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Bench magnifier projector

I’m looking for a setup that will allow me to project what I’m
working on at the bench so that the students in my class can see it
clearly (and obviously much larger). I’ve seen setups like this at
MJSA for the workshops/demos and in some of the better
classroom/workshop setups. I’m just obviously not searching on the
right keywords in trying to find suppliers for such a setup.

At this point, I’m not prejudiced either toward a self-contained
system or one that requires a separate computer to run the image
through. The key is that it can’t be TOO in the way of the work area
and that it be able to clearly project a decent field of vision. I
certainly don’t mind a degree of do-it-yourself in this, either.

Can any of you point me in the right direction? Recommendations for
any systems you’ve used and liked? Any that you’d stay away from
(and why)?

Many thanks!

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


I never used such system but I’d guess that a “videoprojecteur” (I
am not sure how it is called in english) wired with a video-camera
would work very well.

It should work without a computer as you can plug most camera
directly to the projector.

The quality and magnification of resulting images will depend on the
quality of your videocamera, its focal length and its autofocus
rules. The last trick would consist on the proper stand for the
camera. Maybe taping it to the arm of a desk lamp, it will hold the
camera steady and enable you to reposition as you work.

Juliette Arda
Aix en Provence


I'm looking for a setup that will allow me to project what I'm
working on at the bench so that the students in my class can see
it clearly (and obviously much larger). 

The term you are looking for is LCD Projector, they do work off a
computer, or some other input device such as thumb drive or TV tuner.

Get as high a lumen count as you can afford and hi aspect ratio.
Whatever you use for an optical device, if you can show it on a
computer screen, you can display it on a wall with one of these. My
purpose in it was showing techs how they could repair wave guides in
the field under adverse working conditions and get the equipment back
up with a very small flight friendly kit. Wave guides are silver
soldered and these units used a coated aluminum as wave guides.
Overheating was a major concern in their repair, being able to show
the students the ‘flash’ that occurred was paramount to the training

The camera I used was an issued item from the photo shop with an AVI
output, the camera had a 12X optical magnification and would display
real time to my laptop. Unfortunately I do not remember the brand of
camera. But I do remember that I could set it about 2 feet away from
my station and still get a good quality display.

Hope this helps.

Karen, I think I understand your problem, as I do this sort of thing
a lot. As I see it there are several issues: easy to use, both set up
and in actual use, unobtrusive, not too expensive.

You need to choose TV based or computer based. For this discussion I
will go with NTSC TV based systems. Most schools have large carts
with TVs and VCRs, so you can use that to display. Video projectors
work well for larger audiences, but the logistics of setting them up
sometimes get in the way of the demonstrations. They can be used
with a computer web camera which is small and very inexpensive, as
could a laptop with a large external display. If you would like to
explore this option, let me know.

So, we have settled on TV system and a TV set up near the
demonstration, now we need a camera. Again, there are several ways to
go: Camcorder small fixed video camera like a security camera, a
document camera system - also called a presentation camera,
visualizer. Unfortunately, most of these are like a flat glass
topped box, a back light and overhead illuminated system which at
best, is in the way of doing any jewelry manipulation, and cannot be
hammered on and is intrusive. Another type is basically a camera on a
flexible arm. I have two Canon Vizcam cameras that are higher end
flexible arm systems. Presentation cameras range from $100 to $600 on
eBay, to several thousand dollars new. I highly recommend flexible
arm type. They are VERY simple. Plug them in to power and the TV and
you are good to go.

The other alternative is to get a camera, or camcorder and attach it
to a mount that will capture the demonstration area you wish to show.
These can be a pain to set up, but can be very effective because you
can zoom to just the right size with the camera well out of the way.
the mounting system could be cumbersome or complex, from overhead
mirrors, or expensive commercial tripods with horizontal extensions,
to pipe mounted to the jewelers bench. This can be an attractive
solution to a fixed bench demonstration area, but in my experience
you will be demonstrating various techniques at different places in
the classroom and on the bench.

Good luck, I think you will find it well worth your time to do this.

First replace “projector” with “video”.

“Videolabs camera” is the place to start your search. They can often
be found on Ebay at very low prices. It is a small camera mounted on
a goose neck, like a desk lamp, plugs right into a tv monitor. Easy
to set up and place where ever you want. Focuses extremely close.
Hook it up to a computer and save your demos for students to look at


Bill, Deborah & Michele
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx