Final Project
Duration: November - December 2018
Collaborators: None
Media: Plywood
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.
Completed camera with pinhole covered (not exposing film)
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.
Mood board (I don't own these pictures!)
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.
Creating pinhole (left), laser cut parts (middle), improper measurements led to having to recut (right)
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.
Initial line drawing (left), final vector or parts sent to laser cutter (right)
Various detachable parts of final camera
Interior details
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.
Pinhole uncovered (exposing film)
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