Duration: November - December 2018
The goal of this project was to create a working 35mm pinhole camera that utilized laser cutting as a fabrication technique. There are some simple designs already out there, but I wanted to create an original one with as many functions as possible.
Ideation & Inspiration
I started out by researching further into how pinhole cameras work, and the different mechanism used for housing, exposing, and advancing the film. I also learned that because the opening for pinhole cameras is so small (about f/170 or 0.3mm), it's only practical to use them for long exposure pictures such as landscape photos.
I started by creating the pinhole itself using a pushpin and piece of aluminum cut from a soda can since I needed a thin yet lightproof material. After measuring the hole to be around 0.3mm in diameter, some calculations I found online showed that the film needed to be around 2 inches from the hole in order to create a sharp image, so I based the dimensions of the camera around those specifications.
After sketching a few different options for housing the film, I chose to attach the entire mechanism to the lid which would fit into a precisely measured box to create the camera. I then created a 1:1 scale line drawing in order to help myself in designing the actual piece that would fit together to create the housing. I decided on using finger joints for the box as well as the inner components so that they would be easy to align. Because of this, I ended up having to apply tape along the inside of the camera to make sure it was lightproof.
Overall, I enjoyed the entire process of learning how a device works and designing my own version of it. Along the way, I learned important lessons in tolerances since I had various types of press fits, rotating parts, and lightproof needs. I'm satisfied with how the final camera came out, and I'm excited to develop the pictures I took with it.