The LifeCam Studio is quickly becoming the work horse for webcam astrophotography. It captures video in 1080p HD and has a sensor about twice as large as the previous high end Microsoft webcam. The larger the sensor is, the more light that can be gathered.
This guide will show the correct method to convert the LifeCam Studio for astrophotography. The correct method involves the removal of the autofocus housing by desoldering, as well as the removal of webcam housing. See here for the easy method. The easy method will utilize the webcam housing and leave the autofocus housing on, while only removing the lens. The downside to the easy method is that the autofocus housing will cause vignetting at the edges of the sensor. It is also possible that the autofocus housing will cause unwanted vibrations.
Having the correct tools can be what separates a success from a failure. The above picture shows what was used in this guide. Objects with a blue arrow indicate the tools needed for the correct method. These are screwdrivers, shears, soldering iron, soldering sucker, black enamel paint and a paintbrush. Objects with an orange arrow indicate the tools needed for the easy method. These are masking tape, pliers and screw drivers.
Remove the three screws from the underside of the webcam. This will allow you to remove the flexible stand.
Using a small flat head screw driver, or something similar, pry the front plastic piece off.
Using a small phillips head screwdriver, take out the screws that are holding the outer shell to the interior.
Slide the outer shell away from the interior.
Put a small screwdriver in the back slot. Push out against the rear cap. It will "pop" off.
With the rear cover off, slide off the rear half of the outer shell.
Remove the four screws that connects the top half to the bottom half.
There is a rubber piece that houses the microphone. Use a small screwdriver to pry this away from the top half.
When the camera is plugged into a computer, a very annoying blue light will turn out. A simple method to prevent the light from showing while recording is to apply black enamel paint. To be certain, add 2 or 3 layers of paint. Check by plugging in the camera to see if any light is still visible.
The bottom half is prevented from removal by the cable and the camera electronics. The bottom half will need to be cut apart. For easier access to cut these loose components, remove the two screws shown in the picture.
With some sort of sheering tool, cut away the loose parts.
Continue to cut apart the bottom half to remove it from the cable.
Desolder the two connection shown. This will allow for the removal of the autofocus housing and lens.
Very carefully, pull the front electronics board from the back. Be cautious of the wires that are circled in the picture. If these separate from the board, the camera will not function properly.
To remove the autofocus housing and lens, remove the two screws from the back of the front electronics board. This may be a challenge, as these screws are on tight. Use a fair amount of torque, but not too much where the camera will be damaged.
Insert the camera into a housing suitable for astrophotography. The housing shown in the picture can be 3D printed. Download the source files from here. If focus cannot be achieved due to the sensor being too close, either add an eyepiece extender, or print variant 2 of the housing.
(The below image was created using this modification)