Sep 27, 2017 | By Benedict

London-based photographer and designer Paul Kohlhaussen has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a 3D printed medium-format panoramic camera. The K-Pan, which shoots five 6 x 14 cm frames per roll of 120 film, is available for £270 ($360) in kit form.

When we first heard about Paul Kohlhaussen’s impressive K-Pan camera, it fell short in two important ways. For starters, it had an absolutely terrible name: the Cycloptic Mustard Monster. But it also had an even bigger problem: you couldn’t buy it.

Both of those problems have now been resolved, because you can now order the more subtly named “K-Pan” camera via Kickstarter. Kohlhaussen has put a £40,000 target on the campaign, and has already raised almost £13,000 in just a couple of days.

“The K-Pan is a precision tool for photographers who appreciate versatility, reliability, utterly gigantic negatives, and the craft of shooting on film,” Kohlhaussen says. “Most importantly, it is a camera that you can truly make your own.”

The most basic kit form of the camera can be secured with a £270 ($360) pledge, but there are some more luxurious options too.

Of course, the crowdfunding format of the K-Pan may disappoint some makers who were hoping to build one of their own using open source schematics, but Kohlhaussen is quick to point out that photographers using the K-Pan are still afforded a high level of customizability.

“As much as we admire the notion of localized 3D printing, we realized that it will be necessary to manufacture the core hardware ourselves in order to ensure consistently high quality and functionality,” Kohlhaussen says. “Therefore we are presenting a flexible solution—the components work out of the box, however they can also be further finished to the end user's preference.”

The 3D printed camera body is designed to be fitted with an existing 4x5 lens, and shoots pictures on a frame size much larger than the most widely used 35 mm format. This size increase results in much higher quality analog photos.

But while the K-Pan doesn’t include a lens, Kohlhaussen is hopeful that the camera will soon comprise a range of 3D printed accessories—designed by the camera’s users as well as himself. The photographer suggests that spare parts, grips, phone mounts, and other accessories could all be designed collaboratively and 3D printed by users at home.

And the bits of the camera proper are also 3D printed—two times over! Modeled using CAD software, the camera body and lens cone were initially prototyped on an FDM 3D printer. For the real thing, however, these parts are printed in nylon powder on a selective laser sintering (SLS) printer.

Kohlhaussen has ultimately turned to Kickstarter in order to gauge public interest in the K-Pan, and to raise the money needed to build them on a larger scale.

“Together, with your help, I’d like to take this project to the next step by making it available to other photographers as a kit,” Kohlhaussen says. “This campaign will fund a small production run of cameras, mostly in kit form but also as 10 limited edition pre-finished units. If successful, the business will be properly launched and production will be further developed.”

The Kickstarter campaign will run until October 25, so get your orders in now if you want to see the 3D printed K-Pan camera brought to life.

K-Pan camera features and specs:

  • Shoots five 6 x 14 cm frames per roll of 120 film
  • Consists of two main parts: camera body, lens cone
  • Contains removable pressure plate, dark slide, and lid
  • Lid plate outfitted with film winding knobs, fastening screws, and two universal cold shoe mounts
  • Remove lid plate to load film
  • Focus set to infinity by default; dedicated spacer brackets can be used to alter this
  • Weighs 350 g without lens
  • 22 cm wide x 9 cm tall
  • Embedded steel screw threads
  • Standard ¼-20 UNC tripod mount
  • 2 mm thick lens mount with 33 mm diameter hole

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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