PINHOL3D: 3D printing through a new lens

 

The inspiration for my first project stems from a deep-rooted love for iPhone photography. While a number of phone apps exist for the sole purpose of photo manipulation, there are comparatively few hardware accessories that serve the same purpose. Recalling my days of haphazardly taping a pinholed-cardboard square to my iPhone camera, I envisioned my first 3D printing project achieving that same grainy, vignetting effect in hardware form. Enter my first project: the iPhone pinhole camera.

freshly-printed iPhone pinholes

My first attempt at the iPhone pinhole was only minorly successful. I modeled the device on Tinkercad, essentially slicing off two-thirds of an already-created iPhone 5 case, and adding a cylinder with a small opening over the camera area to create the pinhole. This took all of twenty minutes; it’s that easy.

I then printed it on one of the many Objet500 printers here at Pier 9, using the Tango Black material. While the produced model was workable, the material was too flimsy to comfortably sit on the iPhone. Moreover, the pinhole was slightly too far to the left and needed to be manually adjusted for each picture.

Thus, I returned to the drawing board (that is, Tinkercad). This time, I used iPhone specs detailed in Apple’s developer guide to locate the center of the camera. Using Tinkercad’s ruler feature, I easily plugged in the specified measurements and there it was — a complete second iteration in less than half an hour. Total insanity.

Honestly, the longest part of this process was waiting for a fellow Pier 9 shop user’s piece to finish printing so I could load my creation onto the Objet500. But after a mere hour of watching the printer lay down layer upon layer of model material, there it was — the material version of an idea that I’d conceived of 24 hours before this moment.

Excavating the model from its support materialHot off the object

Despite my immediate urge to test it out, I needed to dislodge the piece from its support material encasing — a process that I greatly underestimated. After half an hour of chiseling away at the support material with a power washer and a variety of ice-pick-resembling hand tools, there was my glistening iPhone pinhole camera.

So here — directly from my new pinhole camera to your screen — is the world of an Autodesk intern through a Tinkercad-created lens:

I also modeled a number of iterations, experimenting with the depth of the pinhole casing as well as the number and orientation of pinholes. Follow my instructable, print your own, and play around with your pinhole images on Pixlr for extra vintage-looking, instagram-able results.

 

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