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Open Camera Project Helps You 3D Print Your Own Affordable DSLR and GoPro Rigs

Jenny Chen of 3DHeals, on the Women in 3D Printing Blog, recently said that it is not the technology itself, as much as the people using it, that are driving innovation in 3D printing. That is absolutely true: the paradox is that while so many of us focus on the limits of desktop (and industrial) machines, the true limits are in our heads (and in materials). The Open Camera Project by YouTuber, blogger and 3D Printer Chat FB group administrator Anton Månsson shows exactly that we are just beginning to understand how we can fully exploit the capabilities of even a basic desktop 3D printer fed with PETG. “I’ve always loved filming and cameras,” Anton explains, “I love the idea of creating videos to educate and illustrate things going on. When combining this with a passion for gadgets i suddenly realized you have to cut corners to afford the “important” stuff. One of those things were to mount all the necessary parts around the camera. When moving from visual 3D-creation into more mechanical 3D-creation – he continues – I picked up on the fact that I have all these 3D printers at the Creative Tools office and wanted to create a 3D printable system that I could use instead of buying loads of expensive parts.” DSLR (and GoPro) camera accessories are extremely expensive. Even more so for rigs. And yet rigs are some of the products that can be 3D printed more efficiently. The biggest challenge – as is often the case -is designing them but through open source sharing, it may be enough for one person to begin and let everyone contribute to provide the community with several affordable designs. Open Camera Project3The most common systems use 15mm Diameter rods (aluminium or carbon fiber usually) that are offset by 60mm (center to center). The idea of a camera rig is to incorporate manually operated focus systems, as well as enabling one or more two persons to operate the camera easily. For low budget film and documentary use it’s common to use a shoulder rig that’s lets one operator rest the camera (and audio recording, light, batteries and more) on this shoulder and arms. This can be combined this with a “follow-focus system” (a knob that you twist to smoothly change focus, instead of turning the lens built-in focus ring). Given all the right tools,  a camera operator is able to achieve a lot more with a smaller team (or even alone). “All of this gear is usually very expensive and my goal was to create a system that could be printed for under $100, to be open source, and to work with existing parts while being strong enough to handle a DSLR-camera.”, Anton says. The project is just beginning but it looks promising and there certainly are thousands of professionals out there – in the ever more competitive and low paying world of photography and videomaking  – who can benefit a great deal from a significant cut to their accessories expenses list.

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