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Build a kids spy scope

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Build a kids spy scope


Over Christmas I wanted to come up with a project "out of the ordinary, if you like" that children could get their hands into.

When I was a lad Santa gave me a periscope for Christmas. I had hours of fun with this simple toy; so I wondered just how hard it would be to make one.

The following is prototype one. Total cost not very much, certainly less than $25 for all the materials, with a fair bit of left overs to use to make more or just to sit around and collect dust in the shed.


Stuff:- 32mm plastic pipe; 2 x 90 degree joiners to suit pipe; masking – cloth – or other, tape; spray paint (optional); a pack of acrylic mirrors; scissors. Tools:- Mitre saw box; saw (almost any type will do – just to cut the plastic pipe). PPE:- common they are kids! Just make sure that they understand they need to wear gloves. Paint in the hair and on clothes is a given. But keep the spray away from the face. If we make a game of it, they could wear overal


ls or a garbage bag with arm and head holes; safety glasses and boots.


The process:- The longer the plastic pipe the further the range of the Spy tube (periscope), but the less reliable the image. I just went for 300mm.




So cut your pipe to the desired length; straight cut.



The tricky bit now is to cut the 90 degree joiners half way through the bendy bit at 45degrees.


Cut a piece of mirror to just short of the length of the cut in the joiner and slide into the cut. Going nicely now and on the home stretch. Trim the corners of the acrylic mirror to round them. This will allow you to get more to the mirror in. The mirror is flexible so care must be taken to ensure that the mirror remains flat. If you shove the thing in too hard the mirror will bow and the scope will not work. Repeat this process with the other joiner. Note that both mirrors will reflect up the joiner. It you put your eye to the opening of the joiner you will see out the other end. Now if you place the joiners on the ends of the pipe you will be able to look in one end and see out the other. Mission accomplished!! If you align the ends to face the same way on the pipe, you will be looking behind, and if they face opposite directions you will be able to see forward, around corners, even over a fence.


IMG_0563.JPGWhat was the tape for? Well if you layer the ends of the pipe with tape you get a snug but removable fit for the ends; and the spray paint will just give it that personal touch. The attached pictures may be the 1,000 words we need to imagine the project.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Build a Kids Spy Scope.

Great project! Many thanks for sharing @PJA.


Other Workshop members looking for other fun projects for kids might like to browse the suggestions in this discussion - Getting your kids into D.I.Y.



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