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  1. #1

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    Need help designing 3-shot camera!

    HEY APUGERS!

    My name is Lianna and I am currently in the midst of my 4th year industrial design thesis project where I am designing an analog one-time-use 3-shot camera to be given out and used at promotional events, so it needs to be ultra cheap for high production runs. So whatever the housing is will end up being some kind of thin cardboard or other very cheap material but its insides could be recycled and reused when sent to the film developer during processing.

    I'm using 35mm 800 ISO/APA film and there won't be any sensors or flash within the camera, somewhere between pinhole and lomography. However, because it is a product to be given out at events, it needs to be intuitive and as easy as a disposable camera to use.

    The problem I'm having is the mechanics of it. Now, because it is only 3 shots, the film doesn't need to spool so I have two different directions I could go in here.

    1. I'm trying to make it a rotary disc shutter type of thing, where the 3 pieces of film are on a round disc and the shutter both exposes and advances the film. I'm trying to emulate the simplicity of the old viewmaster toy seen below, where all it is is a piece of plastic with a small foot that holds the disc and a spring. I also have a cardboard prototype of how the film would sit inside the disc. If anyone has a rotary disc shutter camera or knows a lot about how it works and the mechanics within I'd love to talk to you!
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    2. I'm trying to make a sliding lens so that the film never needs to move. I have a very low-resolution prototype of this below but I need a more professional opinion to figure out if it would actually work or not and any suggestions on how else this could work.
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    SO GUYS if anyone has anything to say about this and/or knowledge about all of this or has ever built their own camera I'd very much appreciate anything you can offer me!
    Thanks in advance friends!

  2. #2
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    Sorry I can't be of any help but this is a cool project, I would love to see updates as your work progresses.

  3. #3
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    Disclaimer: I know nothing, really. But that said, while the rotating wheel idea is totally cool, it will be a bitch to find big sheets of film, and expensive (4x5 film is not that common, and is difficult to handle to load and develop. The strip idea is much more practical, because you could use 35mm film, which is easy, and goes into most enlargers. How would you print the photos? 35mm film has a much better shot (no pun intended) to fit into some kind of automated photo printer. Don't know if short strips will be exactly easy, but you're closer to a practical solution with 35mm film.

  4. #4

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    Hi Lianna. I guess you could use three separate pieces of film to overcome the problem that sdotkling points out, but that would raise its own problems such as having to position the three individual pieces of film into their little slots in the disk. I think he or she is right that the disk shape would require starting with a large piece of film (or a lot of fussy manufacturing of it). Unless modern construction technique (eg robotics) meant that cutting and placing the three pieces of film would be not a deal breaker.

    There have been lots of rotary shutters. I am not an expert, just intrigured, but a little slit moving across the film plane will do the trick. Most modern shutters work that way, by the way, of a slit moving across the film or sensor. A lot of people think a shutter works by opening and shutting like an iris but most really do not work that way.

    In some ways having the three negs placed in a circle around the shutter could be really effective if you can accept the cost of inserting the film. The strip of three negs would be a lot cheaper in that regard. However it has its own problems, you are going to have to design a light proof mechanism as the holder slides back and forth.

  5. #5

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    Oh no, even in the rotating film idea it would still use 35mm film (see the white cardboard model - where the holes are cut out, the film sits). This is a system-based design so I'm also designing an infrastructure for development, etc. So, it's not impossible, as far as I know.

  6. #6

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    Yes, yes I am aware that the 3 negs around the shutter would have to deal with inserting the film, but as for its effectiveness, do you think that is the best mechanism for what I'm trying to do? I think I found a really clever and simple shutter here that I could copy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS7JDFqOckU
    That means I have to design a way to advance the film but that's doable.

    But do you not think these are the best ways to do this 3-shot deal? What would you do if you were in my shoes?

  7. #7

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    How about changing the axis of the rotation? You could then have film on three sides of a cuboid.

  8. #8
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lianna View Post
    HEY APUGERS!

    My name is Lianna and I am currently in the midst of my 4th year industrial design thesis project where I am designing an analog one-time-use 3-shot camera to be given out and used at promotional events, so it needs to be ultra cheap for high production runs. So whatever the housing is will end up being some kind of thin cardboard or other very cheap material but its insides could be recycled and reused when sent to the film developer during processing.

    I'm using 35mm 800 ISO/APA film and there won't be any sensors or flash within the camera, somewhere between pinhole and lomography. However, because it is a product to be given out at events, it needs to be intuitive and as easy as a disposable camera to use.
    Lianna, sorry to be devil's advocate here, but if you want something cheap as chips, would not a digital disposable camera be a better option. Analog requires film and processing and printing costs.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  9. #9

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    I can't help you with this project, although, if you're going for very high production runs, it's very possible that a company like Lomography would be champing at the bit to help you out. They obviously know how to make low-fi cameras, and have all the manufacturing contacts. Otherwise, you could maybe talk to some smaller camera companies about partnerships.

  10. #10
    AgX
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    I just wanted to refer to those simple shutters found at old box-cameras, when you hinted at that video.
    Yes, that principle of flip-flop shutters was popular. In their most elementary form it meant that the release button/lever had to be activated in alternative directions with successive exposures.

    Have a look at patents, you might get some ideas for simple shutter solutions. Keeping things simple and cheap often asks for quite some ingenuity.

    Using the film transport as shutter (transporting the film behind the lens, keeping it there for exposure, transporting it further), will not work. The two transport action will blurr the exposure. Coping with that means efforts not related to the kind of project.
    Last edited by AgX; 01-11-2013 at 03:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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