Man builds smartphone magnifier lens to remove a nasty splinter

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Did he need a magnifier to do that? A pin alone would have done the trick.
Removing it is always a good idea, especially organic matter, sepsis is not pleasant.

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I love that the sensitivity warning comes before the blood but completely ignores the ripping of skin and digging into the wound site as if those wouldn’t have already triggered significant chill sensations.

On a related note, years ago I had to do a paint chip analysis for an historical preservation class. This entailed examining the paint chip under a microscope and using a scalpel to scrape away minute layers of paint. When starting, I thought there was no way I would have enough fine motor control to scrape away part of a millimeter of paint at multiple levels of magnification. But it was surprisingly easy.

Yet I still can’t manage to clear the door frame when I walk through a doorway.


When I remove splinters I have found it better to first open up the skin slightly behind the entry point. This seems to release some of the tension on the entry point hole and if necessary allows you to open up more of the skin to get a better hold on it.

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Video link for the BBS

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I’ve been digging splinters, thorns, shards of metal out of my hands for over fifty years, sometimes with just my eyes, sometimes a jewellers loupe, sometimes just a pair of 3.0 power reading glasses, and whatever tool happened to be available, a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, a needle, a scalpel, (used to work in print and publishing when artwork involved scalpels and Cow Gum), and more often than not, a sharp pocket knife.
None of this new-fangled electrotrickery, dammit!


I get lots of splinters. Often, the tail end is hard to see well because it’s tiny, covered in blood, etc. It’s way easier to get a firm grip if you can clearly see the end of the splinter and tweezer tips come together. Getting a good grip early in the process is important for cutting down on the time you are indisposed and maybe in pain from a deep splinter, and also not worrying the end away in unsuccessful attempts to remove it and having to excavate deeper to find something to get ahold of.

I have the standard tweezers he started with. I recommend filing them down by squeezing them down on one of those thin abrasive metal cutting discs that go on an angle grinder, then cleaning them up with a small file for a precise, pointy gripping end. For that task, the splinter removal, and other tasks that require work under magnification, I use this magnifier, which is cheap, has five easily changeable lenses of different magnification, a built in light, and leaves both hands free.


I one time had some weird mutant hair in my scalp - it felt like a feather quill! I used that USB microscope Mark hawed in here a few years ago do pluck it out. Oh what a relief. It was hard as with the microscope, up is down etc.

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When I was a teenager I got a nasty splinter like that. Never could get it out, and it worked it’s way in deeper. Never got infected, though, and to this day 40 years later I still have a brown spot on my skin.

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The other video (linked in his gore-fest splinter removal vid) was far more interesting: How to make a cheap macro lens for a phone camera - less than $2. More the sort of thing I’d have expected Mark to link to. I’m gonna try this as soon as lockdown ends and I can get to a charity shop/jumble sale to find a dead point-and-shoot camera.

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