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Mr.RC-Cam's DiY 3D Printed FPV Goggles

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EDIT June-03-2015 / UPDATE: Had my first flights with the prototype DiY 3D Printed FPV Goggles and it was awesome. Fantastic image quality, better than anything I've flown with before. The huge 70° field of view (FOV) is incredible. Here's a 3D rendering of the DiY goggles:




The 3D printer STL files and build instructions are published here:




Over the years I've made several DiY FPV goggles using small LCD monitors. Material choices have been cardboard, foam board, duct tape, snow ski goggles, and so on. Ignoring the primitive look of my creations, the weak link was always the disappointing video quality of the LCD displays I tried. I wanted a video image that looked better than the commercially made FPV glasses, but at best I could only achieve the same (and sometimes worse) resolution.

The monitors I tried all had excellent advertised specs, but in reality were nowhere near the visual resolution the China suppliers claimed them to be. But recently that issue seems to have turned around and now there are some affordable 5 to 7 inch LCD monitors that have the pixel resolution I want.

So it's time to step up my game and create some nice looking FPV goggles that work better than anything I've worn before. I now have a 3D printer and AutoDesk's 123D CAD program. My goal is to create the world's best DiY 3D printed FPV goggles. I can dream, can't I? :)

First on the list was to choose a small LCD monitor that had trustworthy resolution specs and good resistance to the lost signal "blue-screen" issue. After reviewing data sheets I took the gamble and ordered this low cost 7-inch IPS LCD panel / board set:


(See updated note at bottom of this post)


The monitor is on its way to me. Until I test it out I have no idea if it will acceptable. Fingers are crossed.

UPDATE / EDIT Oct-04-2015: The cost of the LCD kit from the aliexpress supplier has substantially increased, so it is no longer a valid choice. But there are other suppliers for a LCD kit that has the VST29.01B control board and N070ICG LCD panel. For example, this one came up in a search over at eBay (but I have not tried it):


If you find another choice that has the correct control board (VST29.01B) and LCD panel (N070ICG) then be sure to compare its keypad board to the one I used. If it has a different layout then my keypad enclosure part will not fit it.

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam
Updated information.

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Instead of incorporating ski goggles I thought it would be interesting to custom design the piece that rests against my face. To help do that I was going to 3D scan my head using AutoDesk's 123 Catch photo application. But a search on the grabcad site found a 3D adult male face that I could use instead. It looked reasonably close for what I needed, so I used it to help design the goggle's face piece.

Here is a link to the face I used:



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Using the downloaded 3D head for the profile, AutoDesk 123D was used to create the goggle's face piece. A trial part was 3D printed and it is very comfortable to wear. Plus there is room for prescription glasses. I'm happy with the results.

Here's what the face piece looks like:


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Next I drew a dimensional 3D model of the LCD panel using the manufacturer's data sheet. This in turn was used to determine the minimum size of the rear panel that would be needed. From there I was able to create the other parts that would form the main chassis-box for the goggles.

Here's some exploded views of my design concept:



The three face bezel related parts screw together. A one piece part would have been a challenge to print on my daVinci 3D printer so that is the main reason three pieces are used.

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Prototype parts were 3D printed to check the design. They fit together as planned, so things are looking good so far. Weight is 8 ounces for the printed parts.

The front and rear bezel parts are joined with 3/16-inch thick foam core board to create a lightweight box. Everything is designed for easy assembly. Here's what the first prototype looks like:


Now that it is together it looks a bit too square for my tastes. So I might chamfer some of the edges on the final design for aesthetics.

Despite the progress shown, there is a lot to do before the goggles will be ready. For example, when the LCD kit arrives I expect that some changes will be needed to get it to fit. I also need to design decorative housings for the LCD driver/control board, cooling fan (yes, there will be air-conditioning), and 5.8GHz receiver module.

Things are on-hold for now while I wait for parts to arrive. I'll post more project updates soon.

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The LCD monitor arrived. Bench testing revealed that its high density pixel performance far exceeds what is needed for the FPV's composite video. So in other words, FPV image resolution looks fantastic. And it fits perfectly in the plastic bezel I printed a couple days ago. So far so good. :)

But despite the supplier's claim that this monitor does not blue screen with weak signals, it indeed does it when the vRx's RF signal is poor. It teases with a short period of snow (<1 second) then the image goes blue. There is a menu setting to disable blue screen, but all that does is change the blue background to a black background. So it seems the shenanigans from the China suppliers got me again. I've sent an email to them requesting firmware that disables the blue screen. Although unlikely, fingers are crossed they will have firmware to do that.

Edit / June-06-2015 blue screen update: I have flown several times with the goggles and have not had a blue screen event yet. So they do a good job of avoiding the problem, which is a relief. Despite that, I would prefer to disable the blue screen feature. Unfortunately the LCD supplier will not help. If the datasheet to the Mstar TSUMV39LE controller chip used on the LCD driver board can be found then we could develop our own FPV specific firmware. But Chinese IC data sheets are an elusive thing, sort of like Big Foot. So if any of you know where I can get it a copy of the TSUMV39LE chip datasheet then please contact me (or post the file here).

EDIT / Revision: The FatShark vRx module & cooling fan discussed below was not used in the final design. An external receiver is used instead.

A plastic case for the vRx and its components (a few capacitors) is needed. And a case is required for the face cooling fan. I decided that they would both share the same enclosure. Here's what I came up with using Autodesk 123D:


My daVinci 3D printer took about three hours to make a prototype set:


The bottom half is mounted inside the goggles and the top cover is stacked over it on the outside of the foam board box. I'm not ready to start punching holes in the foam board so a installation photo will have to wait. In the meantime I need to finish the enclosure for the big LCD driver board. I'll be back soon.

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam
External vRx

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The enclosure for the LCD driver board was created. For balance I thought it would be best to mount it as close to the face side as possible. So that meant it would have to go on the bottom of the goggles. To help explain what I had in mind, here's an exploded view of the LCD controller mounted on the bottom:


But after printing the LCD controller case I was not impressed with how it looked when mounted on the bottom of the goggles. The goggles appear more streamline if it is installed on the back of the rear bezel. So I have to go back to AutoDesk 123D and make some changes so it can move to the rear bezel.

I had success with the LCD keypad enclosure. The printed part looks nice and the 7-button keyboard PCB that came with the LCD fits perfectly. After it is installed on the goggles I'll post some photos. In the meantime here's the 3D CAD rendering of it:


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EDIT / Revision: The FatShark vRx discussed in this post was not used in the final design. An external receiver is used instead.

The video receiver wiring is complete and it is ready to be installed on the goggles. Here are the details:

These are the parts that are needed to use the FatShark vRx module. Note: If you want to be able to easily change the seven RF Channels then a 3-position DIP switch is also required:


The parts are placed in holes on the 3D printed part. This primitive assembly method reminds me of old school radio chassis construction.

Using a Zona hobby saw I cut the 10-pin socket down to 9-pins. It is held in place with epoxy. The other components were put in their holes with the help of a hot melt glue gun.

You can also see the M3 size threaded brass inserts in the photo. These are pressed-in using a hot soldering iron and when the plastic cools they have a very strong bond.


All wiring is point-to-point on the bottom side:


On the final design a toggle switch was added to the video receiver's housing. It will be used to switch from FPV view to a optional goggle mounted camera. Or I may change my mind and use it as an on/off switch.


The rear bezel was redesigned to hold the LCD driver board. All the revised parts have been 3D printed and everything fits. I'll post photos soon.

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam
External vRx is used.

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More parts for the build have arrived. Here's what came in this week:

Head Strap: The elastic headband is a GoPro camera accessory that was only $3 on eBay. The headband will be worn "backwards" with the GoPro mounting bracket on the back of the head (the battery pack will be attached to the GoPro bracket). The other buckle plate will be removed so that there are three adjustable straps to attach to the goggles. I'll use 4cm long 3mm carbon fiber rods in the loops at the end of the straps to hold them in the goggles. Simple but effective.



EDIT: The lens kit described below was not used in the final design. A different lens solution is described later on, so keep reading to learn how image focus was solved.

Optic Lens: The lens kit was only $8 USD on eBay. It has three different lens choices: 1.5X, 2.5X and 3.5X.


The 1.5X lens provides good image clarity with the 8-inch focal depth in the DiY goggles. But the overall lens size is a bit too small with the 7-inch screen when it is in the 16:9 display mode. So I think I may end up using a larger lens if things don't work out.


In the photo above you can see two slide rails. They have a 25mm linear movement range for the lens. The lens will be mounted between them and a thumbscrew will be used to lock the position. I haven't 3D printed all the pieces for the lens mechanism so photos will be delayed a few days.

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam
Lens kit not used

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Today the project moved on to the trial part fitting phase. The parts all fit perfectly, which is a relief. Things went so well that I kept going until the goggles were assembled (except for the lens adjusting mechanism and vRx module). Here is what it looks like:



It was bench tested and the video image looks fantastic too. But it weighs 23 ounces with everything shown in the photo. Comfort is so-so because of the weight; I doubt the average user would want to wear them for long periods of time. If I reduced the weight and moved the LCD controller off the back end the comfort would be much better. So that means more design changes are needed.

I'm going to rethink about how to go forward on the design. Along with the CAD design time, it takes a lot of plastic (and hours) to print the parts. So I'm not thrilled. But to turn this pig into a winner I think that my 3D printer will be back at work soon. Long story short, I need to fix the comfort issue before releasing the final DiY 3D printer STL files.

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Apart from adding counter balance arms and turning it into more of a hat I dont see what you could do easily. Years ago I thought about a design that would use a mirror to reflect the image from the screen mounted over my head but reversing the image was the sticking point.


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Apart from adding counter balance arms and turning it into more of a hat I dont see what you could do easily.

Good ideas. The head strap's empty GoPro mount at the back of the head is a good place for the battery; It will help counter balance. Speaking of hats, that reminds me of my FPV hat project that went dead-end due to the low-res quality of affordable LCD screens back in 2010: http://www.rc-cam.com/forum/index.php?/topic/3476-fpv-hat-project/

I think I have a solution that only requires reprinting a couple parts. I found that the goggles feel comfortable until the LCD controller PC board is installed. It's currently mounted at the far end of the goggles and besides its weight there is a leverage effect that reduces comfort. To help improve comfort I've moved it inside the goggles to put it closer to the user's head.

This is what the change looks like.


I'll also increase the surface area around the cheek area of the face bezel to spread out the pressure points a bit more. And to reduce the final weight I'll use my external FPV vRX so that I can avoid the added weight of the vRx on the goggles. Perhaps I'll try putting the vRx module back on the goggles after I sort out the comfort issue.

I was up late working on this so I'm still a bit too fuzzy-brained to finish it and try it out. It was a long night - at 2AM (while in the middle of the 5-hour 3D print) another motor wire failed in my DaVinci printer. Cleaning up a mess of plastic and re-soldering wires in the wee hours of the morning was priceless joy.

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The proposed changes were implemented and comfort is much better. I even had my first FPV flight with the new goggles and the image quality is outstanding. I've worn a lot of different FPV goggles over the years and these have the best FPV video resolution I've seen to date. The experience was sort of like watching an IMAX movie for the first time. :)

Here's what was done to improve comfort:

The built-in vRx / Fan was eliminated and the LCD Driver board was moved off the rear bezel and closer to the user's head:


Some cheek pads were added to reduce the pressure against the face:


Here's an exploded view:


The lens adjusting mechanism was finished too. It occurred to me that drug store reading glasses are very low cost and easy to obtain. So instead of a magnifying lens the final design uses stripped-down reading glasses. There is a single screw-knob that locks the lens in position. The reading glasses provide the best view when they are positioned close to your eyes (so that you don't see their lens frame).




This project meets all my expectations and it's time to share it. In a few days I will post the STL files and a parts list. So if you have a 3D printer and want to build some FPV goggles then get ready to fire it up!

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Hi Thomas,

Great project.

Similar here - with a firmware for no bluescreen (on first post).

No idea if it works?




pdf attached, might prove useful?

Darn - Link instead as file is bigger than 250Kb upload limit


Edited by Devonian

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Hi Nigel, Thanks for the links. That is the same LCD driver board & firmware that I am using. It resists blue screen but does not eliminate it. It works well, but I would prefer to disable blue screen altogether.

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