Ever since the launch of Google Cardboard back in 2014, virtual reality has slowly been making its way to the masses. Not only are more and more manufacturers producing higher-end headsets such as the Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift, there are also a slew of super affordable options available for those who are looking to try VR for the first time. Perhaps most interestingly, Google has published a set of easy-to-follow instructions online that will help you build your own DIY Google Cardboard headset for a very small price.
Today we’re going to walk you through that process, and show you exactly how to build your very own Cardboard headset.
This Google Cardboard headset is too small to be used with larger devices like the Nexus 6. For that, you will need a headset based on Google Cardboard 2.0, which isn’t quite as DIY-friendly, but just as possible to make yourself, with a little more homework, no magnets, and a conductive pad required.
Here’s what you’ll need
- A piece of cardboard at least 22” (55.88cm) by 8.75” (22.23cm)
- Two 2” (5.08cm) strips of 3/4” (1.91cm) wide Velcro
- One 3/4” (1.91cm) neodymium ring magnet
- One 3/4” ceramic disk magnet
- Two Biconvex lenses (45mm focal length)
- Rubber band
- An NFC tag
Additionally, the only tools you will need for this project are an X-ACTO knife, a straight edge, Scotch tape, some spray adhesive or contact cement, and you may also find that some super glue will come in handy.
Begin by downloading the manufacturers kit from Google by following this link (.zip). Once you extract the .zip file, open the scissor-cut template and proceed to print the three pages.
1. To create #cardboard, you’ll need a piece of corrugated cardboard in “E Flute” thickness. If you don’t know what that means, just understand that it’s easy enough to fold, but not thin enough to break. Minimum size: 8.75in (22cm) by 22in (56cm), and 0.06in (1.5mm) thickness. A pizza box works great – you’ll need a massive pizza to make it work.
2. Lenses will need to have a 40mm focal distance and will ideally be biconvex. Google used the Durovis OpenDrive Lens Kit which, despite Google’s suggestion, is not available on Amazon right this minute.
3. You’ll need two magnets. The first is a neodymium ring magnet, the second is a ceramic disk magnet, approximate size: 0.75in (19mm) diameter and 0.12in (3mm) thickness.
4. Construction is done with two velcro strips, with approximate size: 0.75in (20mm) by 1.25in (30mm).
5. Also included in this construction is a single rubber band to keep your phone from slipping out of the headset. Feel free to get creative, of course. Number 6 is an NFC tag which is optional – program it with URL cardboard://v1.0.0 if you do so wish.
You can program it by downloading Trigger from the Google Play Store and creating an action which will launch the Cardboard app.
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Once your Cardboard headset is set up, download the Cardboard app from Google Play, launch it, then insert your phone into the headset. You can now experience VR at will!