Is it possible to make an entire 3D-printed camera? The affirmative answer and practical demonstration were proposed by a designer Amos Dudley.
According to the creator, photography has always seemed to him to be impartial art, devoid of mystery, an element of randomness or error, but recently he has come across wishes about processing digital photos with filters for the sake of “emotional splendor”.
“Analog photography captures the moment and turns it into a clear image. My 3D printer turns my thoughts into real form. I was wondering if the pictures would become more authentic at the intersection of design and photography, and I took up the manufacture of the camera entirely on a 3D printer, ”explains the author of the project.
Externally, the device does not stand out with special imagination, although it would be possible to make a case of almost any shape. Amos decided not to be smart and optimized the design for printing speed and saving, taking into account the properties of the materials used. The shape of most large components allows you to print without supports.
Shutter and lens are made in the form of separate, easily replaceable modules. The joints of the individual parts are overlapped so that light does not leak inside. The most difficult moment was the manufacture of the lens. An FDM printer would simply not allow a lens of any acceptable quality to be created, but the author relies on printing with photopolymer resins using a Formlabs Form 2 stereolithographic 3D printer.
However, even when printing with layers of a minimum thickness of 25 microns, it is impossible to achieve the required smoothness. It was decided to first process the lens with sandpaper and then polish with a cloth, which took about six hours and left the maker with not very pleasant sensations in the area of the elbow joint. But art, as you know, requires sacrifice. Even after polishing, the reflections on the surface were too blurry, indicating the presence of microscopic scratches.
There were serious doubts about the shape of the handmade lens. As a result, Amos decided to try out another method similar to the technologies used in the industrial production of optics: this time the lens was made from a blank of the required shape using a layer of grinding powder. To save his hands, the maker made a home-made grinding device that performed a tedious and laborious task for him. The maker got rid of micro-scratches by dipping a polished lens into a fresh photopolymer resin and additional illumination.