With the advent of digital cameras and smartphone cameras, films cameras are almost outdated. An exception to the rule is a few old technology lovers like Amos Dudley who like to keep this old technology still alive.
Amos Dudley has tried to incorporate 3D printing into the analogue technology. All the parts of the 35mm camera namely, the film cartridge, gears to rotate the spools, the film path, the film, the shutter, the aperture plane, the lens, the door to the film cartridge, and a lightproof box can be 3D printed. He separated the entire body of the camera into different components and tried to prototype each model. The design was optimized to achieve greater speed. In this camera, the shutter and lens could be printed as separate modules without reprinting the camera.
The camera was 3D printed on a Formlabs Form 2 SLA 3D printer.
Different kinds of resins in various forms, strength, and flexibility were needed to 3D print the various parts. Dudley, A former intern from Formlabs had to access large amounts of material.
He printed the parts of the camera with ±0.075mm tolerances and with .25mm clearances. Even though Dudley was using an SLA printer as opposed to an FDM printer the resin required a lot of post-processing in the form of sanding.
But even after using polishing pads and sanding the lens for 5-6 hours the images produced were blurred. Thus, he decided to make the machine all over again. The new machine had smoother small grooves, though cleaning the bigger grooves was still a challenge. The lens had to be dipped in resin and cured with UV lights to get clearer images, and simulations had to be carried out using the Optical Ray Tracer. The shutter was finalised using a model of 1885.
The final camera can print misty and dreamy images and the camera design is available at Pinshape.