Home-made Night Vision Goggles

By John Rapp

Night vision goggles were invented for use by the military. Over the years, they have become popular among law enforcement agencies and hunters. The technology that makes night vision possible is called an infrared image intensifier tube. The tubes transfer photons into electrons by passing a charge through a photo cathode and using a phosphor screen for illumination. When this happens, the light is filtered in such a way that you can easily see anything that would be visible in normal lighting. These goggles can be made at home using two simple methods.

Preparing Goggles

The idea behind constructing operable night vision goggles is to make sure you have comfortable head and eye wear to base them on. You will want to find comfortable glasses or welders goggles from which you can easily remove the lenses. Removing and replacing the lenses with colored gels will be the key to your goggles working properly, as the filtering of light is what gives the infrared images clarity in dark places. If the lenses are arched or bulbous, it could be difficult to fit the gels into the empty holes. You will need to cut the colored gels out to the shape of the lenses and glue them in with each side having Congo Blue gels with Primary Red gels on top of them. Each eye must filter both blue and red light. This will turn out best if the gels are very secure inside the eye holes where the lenses used to be.

Making Filters

The next step is to wire your goggles to produce infrared light. This is accomplished by attaching Infrared LEDs to each side of your goggles, having four or five on each side. You can either glue or weld them but make sure that they are close to the lenses. The LEDs create the illumination needed to filter the light through the colored gels. Secure the wires of the lights to the outer edge of the goggles using electrical tape.


You will need a power supply to power the LEDs, so wire the lights to a 3-volt, button-cell battery and glue the battery to the side of the goggles. Ensure that there is a battery on each side of the goggles so that each set of lights has a battery. Leave the plus wire short so that it does not touch or tape it down so it isn't able to make contact. This is a very important step because the infrared light is what produces the initial effects of your goggles. You may at some point want to wire a switch from the wire to the battery so that the goggles can be turned on and off. However, you can simply tape the wire to the battery when in use. Remember that you want to create an infrared light source that filters through blue and red lights to create proper night vision. Take your goggles outside to test them. If the image is weak or not well illuminated, you may need to add more LEDs or another layer of gels.