3D printing and photography

3D printed holders- using a 35mm canister in a 120mm camera.

I occasionally think about getting a Makerbot or the like and starting to do 3D printing. I can not walk past the 3D printer at Micro Center without losing time. There is something mesmerizing in watching that machine step through the process of creation.

I’ve always walked away from that display with visions dancing in my head. Adapters to put odd lenses on cameras they were not designed to mount on. Film holders. Film backs for integral instant film on medium format cameras. Entire cameras. There seems to be a lot of possibility there. Currently, I’m thinking about the parts needed to convert my Polaroid 95A from its long dead film format to 120 roll film for ultra wide shots.

Admittedly, I lack the majority of the knowledge required to 3D print anything. Even the simple stuff is beyond me. I don’t think I’ll never have the knowledge, but I haven’t sat down and acquired it yet. Maybe my background of hacking on Linux back in the early days to get things to work will prove useful. I don’t know how to design either, so I’ll have to pick it up.

This brings me to Shapeways. Shapeways is a web site that sells 3D printed products, allowing me to get a sample of the end result of the process without waiting until the learning curve is conquered.

Some time ago, I purchased 100 feet of unperforated Agfa APX 100 from Tony Gale. I was running out of the emulsion, and had a case of the film sweats. They subsequently restarted production of the film, leaving me with a good deal of that 100 feet unused. While I do not like sprocket photography, I decided to use this stuff in a medium format camera to produce a pseudo panoramic image. Early experiments using things like foam packing peanuts were less than successful. Enter Shapeways.

Full width panoramic image from an original 1970s vintage Diana camera.

I purchased some 35mm adapters and used them in a Diana on a hike. The result was exactly what I wanted. I was using a standard 120mm spool for take up on my tests, which did lead to some slightly crooked shots. I think the 3D printed 35mm take up spool will be the next thing I  get. The results were very promising, enough so to inspire me to revisit a Misfit Toy and get it working again.

While the traditional lens using cameras they are printing are still a bit crude (see OpenReflex: the Open Source Nikon mount SLR), the pinhole offerings are nice.

They’re not there yet, but the fact that 3D printed cameras are coming along gives me faith in a better future for film.

Here’s some links:

The 35mm roll to 120mm adapters I use from Pinholeprinted (he’s beta testing a 620 version as well)

The 35mm take up spool to use for better film handling


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