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  1. #1
    kerne's Avatar
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    Watch a Walker Titan SF 4x5 Being Built!

    The latest "How It's Made" had a segment on the Walker Titan SF 4x5. I love that show.



    Product website - http://www.walkercameras.com/SF.html

    (I've already posted this on the LF forums, so no need to duplicate it.)
    -- David

  2. #2
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    wow I love this show too! thanks for this, was pretty cool and insightful. Im still perplexed by the cost of these things though, the parts are large and plastic molded, or laser cut metal, there doesnt seem to be any difficult assembly, besides the folding and taping of the bellows. what gives?

  3. #3
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    There are things like salaries, rent for a place to build the cameras, machinery to pay off, etc... I guess that's why.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  4. #4
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings View Post
    wow I love this show too! thanks for this, was pretty cool and insightful. Im still perplexed by the cost of these things though, the parts are large and plastic molded, or laser cut metal, there doesnt seem to be any difficult assembly, besides the folding and taping of the bellows. what gives?
    Plastic injection molding is really quite expensive when done in small quantities like a few thousand at a time. The molds are expensive. His set of molds may have cost over $100K I'd guess. Then every time you need to run a part, it will cost about $500 plus the cost of the parts (few dollars each). Laser cut parts are expensive, but require no tooling and virtually no set up. He probably choose plastic for it's properties (tough, light, waterproof) rather than its low cost.

  5. #5
    Matthew Wagg's Avatar
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    That's a great video and the price isn't that much. I had a look on their site and £1350 for the 4x5sf isn't bad. When you look at the price of a Nikon D3x or a Canon 1dmk4, its downright reasonable for such a low volume camera. I guess the lenses aren't that cheap for large format though.

  6. #6
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
    Plastic injection molding is really quite expensive when done in small quantities like a few thousand at a time.

    This is exactly true, but most people have a hard time wrapping their head around the notions that a few thousand is a small quantity.

    I looked at dragging out an old product where the molds were already there once. The mold owner offered to rent them to me for $1/part, a virtual bargain. (He wanted to work out too. It was his baby years earlier.)

    I couldn't get the numbers to work out at a price that was marketable unless I pressed enough parts for worldwide demand until after I would be dead 20 years. Or I could make a couple of thousand at a kingly price.

    Economy of scale requires scale of market. Pure and simple.

    MB
    Last edited by michaelbsc; 10-15-2011 at 06:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  7. #7
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Well if thats the case, I cant wait until 3d printers get cheaper. It would fit these smaller industries much better and offer product on demand with very little storage costs. Economies of scale then wouldn't matter. then take it a bit further and use the 3d printer to make another 3d printer lol and sell it to recoup the initial costs.

  8. #8

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    That is great! One day I'll get a LF camera.

    Jeff

  9. #9
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings View Post
    Well if thats the case, I cant wait until 3d printers get cheaper. It would fit these smaller industries much better and offer product on demand with very little storage costs. Economies of scale then wouldn't matter. then take it a bit further and use the 3d printer to make another 3d printer lol and sell it to recoup the initial costs.


    Right now, you can get a real 3d printer for about $5K (here) and a hobbiest one from Makerbot for about $1300 that you assemble yourself. Makerbot does use another Makerbot for to make parts for their kit FDM (fused deposition modeling) is probably the most robust technology today to make durable parts and would probably work reasonably well for a 4x5 camera....both makerbot and desktop factory are FDM). The problem with most of the 3D print technologies is that the materials are either not particularly strong or brittle. The other issue with FDM is that it tends to have a pretty rough surface and flatness may be an issue for the back. That said, you could flatten it with a pass with a mill or probably even a router mounted in a router table. FDM materials are about $1-2 per cubic inch (adds up) and it is limited in the size of parts it can make. I've used a ton of rapid prototype parts in my job (currently leading an engineering group at a non-profit making medical devices) and all the technologies have issues. If I were to make a camera from a rapid prototyping method today, I would use a laser cutter. This is what the Bulldog camera kit does. Laser cutting is somewhat limited on materials but ABS cuts nicely. The other limitation is that it can only cut 2D forms. You need to have a way to make 2D forms into 3D through layering or assembly....not all that hard really. Plus, the beds are usually big enough to even make a 16x20 camera if you wanted! For the metal parts, waterjet is the way to go...titanium, aluminum, brass all work fine. You can also cut carbon fiber sheet stock well with waterjet.

    The trick to all this is to make enough devices (whatever they are) and pay for your capital (molds, laser cutter, etc), materials and labor. It is really much harder than it sounds.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings View Post
    wow I love this show too! thanks for this, was pretty cool and insightful. Im still perplexed by the cost of these things though, the parts are large and plastic molded, or laser cut metal, there doesnt seem to be any difficult assembly, besides the folding and taping of the bellows. what gives?

    By this reasoning, lawyers, accountants, IT guys and everybody else who gets paid and makes no products should work for free..

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