Sep 12, 2016 | By Tess

Are you ready to say cheese to a fully 3D printed camera? Because it now exists thanks to innovative maker Amos Dudley, whom you may remember as the college student who 3D printed his own teeth aligners (which worked impressively well!). Since his successful venture into DIY dentistry earlier this year, Dudley was actually hired by 3D printing company Formlabs, for which he has been doing some amazing work, like his amazing fully 3D printed camera, called SLO.

Dudley’s 3D printed camera was designed as an analog 35mm, and though it is still far from perfect as a photography device, the photographic results and the machine itself are still highly impressive. That is, while we’ve seen a number of 3D printed cameras with better photographic results (such as the modular Mercury camera), never have we seen a completely 3D printed camera such as the one Dudley has designed. This means that not only was the body of the camera 3D printed, but so were the gears, shutter, and even lens—only the film itself couldn’t be printed.

Working for Formlabs, Dudley was able to use their Form 2 SLA 3D printer to create the SLO camera’s individual parts and capitalized on the machine’s ability to print from a wide variety of resins, including a clear resin for the making of the lens. As one can imagine, however, this last process was anything but easy. As the maker explains, 3D printing the camera’s lens was a difficult task, which required some extenuating processes, such as devising a machine that could spherically grind the printed lens to make it as transparent and as optically sharp as possible.

Lens grinding device

Of course, as you can see in the photos, there is still room for improvement on the lens front, as the photos taken on the SLO camera are for the most part unfocused and are characterized by a perhaps too thick vignette. Still, though, there is a lot to be said about Dudley’s amazing device.

For instance, he was able to print functioning gears for the camera as well as its shutter system thanks to the Form 2 SLA 3D printer’s high resolution (25 microns per layer) and sub-millimeter precision. The shutter system itself took some prototyping, as Dudley tried out a number of different shutter systems before eventually settling on a design inspired from an 1885 camera with a gear system. And eventually, the whole device came together.

What is also notable about Dudley’s creation is his inspiration behind it. As he explains on his blog, “Analog photography takes the sense of a moment and turns it into a tangible image. My 3D printer turns the content of my thoughts into real shape and form. I wanted to know if there’s a more authentic photograph to be found at the intersection of design and photography - so I set out to make a camera with only a 3D printer.”

Unsurprisingly, the young and incredibly ambitious maker succeeded in making a functional fully 3D printed camera, and has even made his 3D files for the SLO available through Pinshape here. Of course, if you set out to print your very own SLO camera, you’ll need access to a Form 2 or other SLA 3D printer. You can also check out more of Dudley’s photos taken with the camera here.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/13/2016 8:38:41 AM:

A work of art!



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