As it turned out, rumors about the "demise" of film cameras are greatly exaggerated. Moreover, engineers and designers are trying to give them a second wind with the help of modern technology. A case in point is the 35mm camera developed by digital designer Amos Dudley. Its main feature is that it is completely 3D-printed, including the shutter and objective lens.
In its short history, 3D technology has made a truly giant leap forward. Today, individual parts of rocket engines, houses, musical instruments and even car bodies can be printed. However, this is the first time the camera has attempted to print a lens.
For this, a Formlabs 3D printer was used, where a special transparent resin was used as the "ink". True, the printed lens needed post-processing.
To minimize the potential for aberration and distortion, Dudley chose to keep the printing process simple and opted for a 40mm spherical lens. One of the main problems that the designer faced was the subsequent polishing and grinding of the lens, since after the printer there were numerous micro-scratches on it.
Hand and machine polishing could not guarantee the required quality, so it was decided to immerse the lens in resin while simultaneously exposing it to UV light. The heated resin filled in the scratches, making the lens surface smooth.
The camera shutter was based on the 1885 design by CJ Wollaston, which was successfully reproduced on a 3D printer. The shutter speed can be adjusted using the button on the top of the camera body. The aperture is adjusted by turning the ring behind the lens.
The film cassette is inserted through the back cover and fed to the take-up spool. A system of printed gears ensures that the film is wound at the correct speed with the corresponding display on the counter of the frame number. Six full revolutions of the indicator will correspond to 24 captured frames.
Judging by the resulting photo, the camera is unlikely to become the winner in the competition for the highest quality images. But it doesn't matter at all, because this camera is the first in the world to be fully 3D printed, which makes it unique of its kind.