Progress on my 3D printed 4x5 Camera


TPF Noob!
Dec 22, 2019
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Hello TPF! I am almost complete with my 3D printed 4x5 camera build. I had been following the 3d printed camera world for a while but I hadn't actually 3d printed a camera, mainly because I was looking for something that I didn't already have, and would be reasonable and preferably open source. For a while last year I spend a lot of time researching 3d printed 4x5 cameras, however, all I could find was projects such as Intrepid and Standard Camera. the first I believe doesn't have source files available, and while the second one does have files available, they cost around ~$25 USD, very reasonable, but I decided to wait to purchase the files. I'm glad that I did, because a couple months ago a website that hosts files for 3d printing held a contest with a theme of photography and cameras, and one of the entries was a 4x5 camera. It was advertised as a remix of the standard 4x5 and was 100% open source, free files and even free .f3d cad files so anyone would be able to modify the design to there specific needs. I immediately downloaded the files and began printing. I even tried 3d printing the bellows, but that proved to be not practical for reasons I will elaborate on later. As the printing neared a close I began ordering the non-printable parts. e.g. the ground glass. Because the Standard Camera was the original model this was based off of, and they are very, reasonable with their prices, I decided to purchase the ground glass from them for only $45 USD. They also sell bellows that cost $75 when they are in stock, but I was planning on 3d printing mine at the time. I also grabbed some FPP Frankenstein 200 from B&H and a couple film holders on ebay.

After the ground glass arrived I assembled the rear standard. It is a very easy assembly process. Especially with the guide put together by the maker of the design. After assembly the rear standard looked like this. 20221106_105053.jpg20221106_105058.jpg

Before this point I was planning on trying it out with just a pinhole lens, but after I got to this point in the build process I decided to invest in a real lens. And selected a 127mm Graphlex lens with a Supermatic(x) shutter. I probably should of researched more into it because I learned after it arrived that it doesn't have much room for tilt and shift, as the coverage is just barely enough for 4x5. Oh well, at least I have something with glass instead of just a hole.

I quickly finished the front standard and laser cut a lens board out of plywood using my schools laser cutter. As well as 3d printed the bellows. The bellows.... well they looked sorta like black swiss cheese that had been shaped into bellows. Not quite lightproof. My plan for that is to make some bellows from Vinyl leather and black cloth, and laser cut out the ribs so that I don't need to cut 100 ribs out by hand.

Finally all of the parts had been complete and I fully assembled it for the first time. The bellows in the first assembly are the 3d printed ones, as they work enough to see images on ground glass. 20221108_192925.jpg
Now that this project is nearing a close, my final tasks are to finish the bellows, reprint the sliders on the rails slightly bigger as they are way to tight right now, and reprint the rear standard, because the filament I used for that part was old and didn't create a strong bind between layers. I will also reprint the red parts in black, just so they match the rest of the camera. This has been a really interesting project, and I can't wait to begin shooting 4x5, however I can't rush myself to finish. I am thinking of purchasing the files for the standard 4x5 for a next project, because even though this camera seems like a good start, it is almost 100% 3d printed and honestly, doesn't feel the sturdiest. the standard 4x5 has a much sturdier looking appearance, and some parts are made of aluminum, not just 3d printed. Anyways, I wanted to share this project and figured here would be a good place.
Thanks for reading, and I really would appreciate any advice for a beginner in large format photography.
- Nathan

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