Todd Schlemmer’s P6*6 3D printed pinhole camera is tons of fun. I’m continually amazed that it sprang from his mind though an I/O device into reality. We truly live in an amazing world.
3D printing lends itself to continuous improvement. One of Todd’s first additions was a clip to better secure the camera’s top plate. Prior to this it was prone to popping open when dropped. The extra thickness of the clip led to the creation of a counterbalancing shoe, so the camera can sit steadily on a flat surface. More recently he has developed a wide angle version of the lens barrel as well.
The original design suffered from one flaw though. The printed winding mechanism, a simple plastic paddle attached to a knob, was prone to failure if the film bound. Todd thoughtfully provides spares if you order the kit from him.
Predictably, I broke mine. Also predictably, I lost the spare parts.
I understand Todd’s desire to print as much of the camera as possible, but I felt something more robust was in order. Behold, the P6*6 (Mosquito Hill Variant):
The knob is a simple Radio Shack item. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles for around $1.99/pair. I chose a knurled Aluminum version with a 1/4″ shaft.
The film advance paddle began its life as a 1/4-20 thumb screw from the hardware store. I used my hobby mill to shrink it to the proper size, but you could achieve the same result with hand tools and patience. For that matter, you could grind and file a similar item from a plain bolt if you were sufficiently motivated. A simple rubber washer acts as a light seal on the shaft.
The entire conversion cost approximately $2.50 and took 10 minutes of my time. I think I spent more time chucking the bolt in the mill than I did on the rest of the project combined. I won’t say it will never break again, but I suspect I’ll break lots of other things first.