3D printing an 8x10 camera
I'm trying to decide whether I want to try making a camera or just keep looking for one to buy. All the cameras I've seen in my price range are so heavy that I would need to increase my budget significantly to buy a new tripod. This has gotten me thinking about alternatives to buying a used camera. I think that if I buy a back, a bellows, and a 3D printer, I should be able to build a lightweight camera for right around what I wanted to spend. I may try making the bellows myself to keep the cost down. I am trying to keep this project under $1500. Before I reinvent the wheel, I thought I should see if anyone had already designed plans for one. I see other people have printed parts for various cameras, but I haven't seen anyone print a whole 8x10 view camera.
- buy a 4x5 Monorail
- pull apart the rear standard
- salvage the rail clamp, bottom shift and swing mechanism and just bolt on something to get 10" wide
- maybe even salvage the upright posts and bolt them to the extended bottom bit (and have very limited rear-rise)
- 3D print a new back bit that attaches to bellows on the front and has a GG/Film holder on the rear
- make/buy bellows that attach to the current 4x5 front standard and then use 4x5 lensboards etc (I'm thinking similar to how, eg, the Toyo 810 works).
Speaking of which, if you want to print me a Toyo 810 rear standard while you're at it, I'll buy one...
An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
f/64 and be there.
After a field camera, or monorail? I think you could get a monorail in budget easy enough, field camera would be a bit more tricky.
Might be an interesting project, but personally, I'd try to find a used camera in budget. Best of luck if you attempt it though.
I have yet to see a 3D-printed 8x10, but I'd sure like to see someone make one. I'm starting to see some very nice printers that make reasonably-sized parts at a decent resolution. It still takes some effort to keep printers calibrated and running well, and they're not trouble free, but if you have the interest and the time--it may be worth a try. I've considered a small printer just to make custom lensboards and lens barrels for DIY lenses.
I was thinking monorail. I'll probably use a pipe with some custom fittings as the base and build something resembling a Toyo or Horseman. The Horseman design looks easier for a first attempt, especially since I'll be using plastic.
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I've often thought that a hybrid approach where the 3D printed parts are mixed with traditionally built ones would be a good first step. Without worrying about labor costs you could design some beautiful scroll work I bet.
Are there printed materials strong enough to design and build a complete camera from that wouldn't crumple in a stiff wind? I don't know the state of the art when it comes to materials and resolutions. I know some talented 3D artists who could go wild with artistic designs given the restraints of a lens at one end and film at the other
The things I've seen printed seem sturdy enough. If a part isn't, I can always add some reinforcement to the design and print another one.
I know of a 4X5 Pinhole camera that was designed to be printed on a 3D Printer called the PINH5AD (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:143882), and there are also some accessories for it as well, and more camera and camera related 3D objects can be found at, among other places, https://www.thingiverse.com/explore/...adgets/camera/ but there are no designs for 8X10 cameras, or parts, that I know of. I want to try printing the 4X5 Pinhole camera some day just for fun.
The biggest difficulty with printing parts, or the entire camera, in 8X10 is the size is going to be larger or at the very limits of the hobbiest style printers. Getting something more commercial is going to add a lot to the cost. And if you are not familiar with 3D Printing the tuning and setting up is going to take a while.
One thing that some people are starting to play with, and I have some ideas for to try within the next year, is to use the Hobby 3D printers in much of the same way as creating masters for Investment casting, also sometimes referred to as Lost Wax Castings, where the printer would print out the final design in a low temperature plastic and that would have a mould created around it. The plastic would then be burned out and a metal put poured into the now empty mould. This can be Aluminium, brass, or any number of others. This process depends on the ability to not only print out the master part, usually slightly larger than you want in order to account for shrinkage of the metal as it cools, but also to cast with metal in the sizes you want for the parts. This would likely be sufficient to ensure that the parts are strong enough.
Some of the benefits of trying 3D Printing is that you can design some really interesting parts that would require a minimum amount of finishing and machining afterwards to be useful for what you want. It is actually a pretty good way to replace long out of production parts to repair a camera as long as the part can be made in plastics like ABS or even things like Nylon or Poly-Carbonate. Of course having access to a SLS printer means that even metal parts can be produced but they are only available in commercial units.
If you are thinking about having things printed out without going to a commercial company check out a local Hacker Space or Maker Space. They are becoming fairly common and frequently have at least one 3D Printer for the members. I am guessing that the idea of creating parts for a 8X10 camera will be enough to get their interest in helping. Even if they charge you a small amount for the printing it saved the cost of buying the printer and the effort to keep it running properly.
There is a local maker space. They have 3D printers and a foundry that can make castings from printed parts. I'm trying to make it light, so I want to stick with plastic where I can, but I wouldn't be surprised to have to make a few metal parts so the movements work properly without wearing quickly.
My plan for the parts that are larger than what the printer can make is to make smaller parts that can fit together. If that isn't strong enough, I'll consider casting or light-weight wood. They also have a Shopbot at the maker space, so I can take my designs, pad them to account for the bit size, and make them in wood on that.
You might try this book - http://www.amazon.com/Primitive-Phot...ve+photography Alan has designs in it for making a couple of different versions of 8x10 cameras. And lenses. The cameras he did were made of wood, but they may give you ideas. Or they may be more simple than what you had in mind. But I figured I'd post the link 'cause someone might be interested.
One thing to make sure of if you 3D print is whether the plastic used is truly light-tight. There is/was a kickstarter project for a Wanderlust 4x5 P&S and I think they ran into that issue. Those cameras are not shipping, yet, but there does seem to be progress.