The Easy 35 pinhole camera has now been published! If you want one and don’t have a 3D printer, you can use 3D Hubs or wait for someone to produce it on eBay or Etsy.
I wanted to create a new 3D printed pinhole camera that anyone with access to a 3D printer can make. The Easy 35 camera satisfies my goals of fast to print, cheap, and easy to make. Such a camera will appeal both to photographers and to educators wanting to teach principles of photography to youths. Based on 35mm film, the Easy 35 can be printed in half the time of a Flyer 6×6 and needs just a pinhole to assemble (at a bare minimum). A rubber band secures the top and black tape is used as the shutter.
The Easy 35 body is printed as one piece, incorporating the film chambers, rails, internal light baffles, and pinhole mount. Such a camera is only possible with a 3D printer, since it cannot be done in one piece with conventional manufacturing techniques.
Several copies can be printed at once on any 3D printer in black ABS or PLA. Pinholes can be purchased or made with a needle and foil, and glued in or retained with an O-ring.
The Easy 35 camera is released in the spirit of open source, using the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 license, meaning anyone is free to make them or even sell them, as long as attribution is given to the designer and any remixes or derivations are shared alike. The Easy 35 camera is or will shortly be available on YouMagine, Pinshape, and Thingiverse.
Details on the Easy 35 camera can be found on www.pinholeprinted.com (in Products).
If you want a rugged, simple, compact 35mm pinhole camera with almost nothing to go wrong, the Easy 35 is for you. The camera is open source (CC by SA) and can be made by anyone with attribution and any improvements must be shared alike.
There’s only one absolutely required part and that’s the pinhole pictured here. You can make your own with foil or thin metal if you like to experiment with film and have your own B&W processing gear.
However, if you’re looking for the sharpest image and wanting to use a smartphone to meter your exposures, you need a 0.2mm pinhole.
The Easy 35 is designed to take thin flat 20mm pinhole discs, held in by an o-ring (optional) or glue. 19mm (3/4″) can be used but will need centering as you install it. Larger discs will need to be trimmed around the edge with scissors to fit.
If you use a mounted pinhole, the mount is thick, and the o-ring may not fit if you use one. In this case, the edges of the mount will need to be beveled with sandpaper or a file until the o-ring will fit.
Right now, you can find the pinhole at eBay, but this link may become obsolete. Documentation and sources are maintained at pinholeprinted.com/support/easy35.
New design coming! I’ve done a super simple 35mm film camera for those who want to use that format as well (Flyer can use 35mm film with an adapter also) or who need a more compact camera.
By super simple, I mean there are six printed parts which can be printed in about 3 hours, either individually or all at once, depending on your printer and slicer. Perfect for children and educational use, or for long exposures in locations where you might lose a camera.
The camera was designed for minimal parts, and needs only a pinhole at the absolute minimum. It is fully complete with two screws, an o-ring, rubber band, 1/4″ nut, and a pinhole. A piece of black gaffer’s tape serves as a shutter.
Best of all, the camera will be released as open source, specifically CC by NC-SA. More details coming soon after I prepare the files for release on several 3D printing sites.
6×9? Isn’t Clipper a 6×18?
Yes. And yes. The new 6×9 mask – 3D printed, of course – pops inside Clipper and gives you the option of shooting 4 6×18 exposures or 8 6×9 exposures, when changing film. I must give credit for this idea to a current Clipper owner.
Moreover, since Clipper has a curved backplane, the 6×9 shots also have no light falloff end to end. This means Clipper 6×9 shots will be subtly and uniquely different from a flat backplane 6×9. I’m not aware of any production 6×9 pinhole cameras with a curved backplane.
Here’s a sample photo from Bastrop, where the Clipper is sitting on the coupler of a derelict crane railcar, looking toward the end of the track. Compare this to the full 6×18 image from the Great Sand Dunes.
So how should 6×9 photos be credited to the camera? Clipper is how the camera is known, and will always be 6×18. The mask just allows you to take 8 exposures instead of 4, and the field of view is 68 degrees instead of 136.
Rather than winding 2-6-10-14 as with 6×18, wind to 1-3-5-7-9-11-13-15.
Check http://pinholeprinted.com/order/clipper6x18/ for 6×9 masks.
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Coupler & Tracks, Bastrop TX (Clipper 6×18 masked to 6×9, Ektar 100)
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado (Clipper 6×18, Ektar 100)
For 3D printing enthusiasts, you can print your own pinhole cameras! If you’ve never done pinhole photography, it’s ridiculously simple. Load the film, open/close the shutter, advance the film, repeat X times, send the film off for processing. After nearly 20 years of pinhole photography, I’m still amazed and astounded at some of the images I get back. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
Parts & Assembly
There are mechanical parts kits you can get along with the STL files to complete the cameras. Since most of the parts come in bulk quantities, it’s cheaper for you to get the parts kit than to order all the individual parts. However, the parts kit is not really necessary if you are a bit creative (as 3D printing enthusiasts generally are).
Assembling the Flyer 6×6 (PDF)
Assembling the Clipper 6×18 (PDF)
Flyer 6×6 Parts
The minimal key parts are:
- Screws: M3-8mm (4-40 in a pinch), 3 for Flyer and 1 for Clipper
- Red Window: the red window can be cut out of a dark red transparent office folder as a circle 1/2″ in diameter, and glued in with rubber cement
- Pinhole: the pinhole can be made out of tin foil 3/4″ in diameter, punctured with a needle (Google for how-to), and glued in with rubber cement
- Shutter: (Clipper only) a piece of black gaffer’s tape (similar to masking tape but opaque)
- Optional: 1/4-20 nut for a tripod
- Recommended: weatherstrip to provide pressure on the film while winding
Don’t forget the all important signature rubber band (2 for Clipper) – it serves to hold the lid on while film is in and as a reminder that film is present in the camera. When around the base instead (Flyer) or both on one side (Clipper), there’s no film in.
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