The SLO (single lens objective) camera is made entirely of 3D-printed components. It’s the vision of Amos Dudley, a 3D designer who explains the creation process on his blog.
Amos planned the design based on the basic elements needed to make the camera fully functional. Among these components were a film cartridge, a set of gears to rotate the spools, a shutter, an aperture plane, a lens and a lightproof box. No mean feat!
He optimised the design for printing speed and material usage, going for a modular design, printing each component individually so he could replace individual parts as necessary, without having to reprint the entire camera.
The SLO is designed for use with a 35mm film, which defines the camera as a handheld portable, though not your average point-and-shoot. The lens from this can also be used in a full-scale digital camera.
Creating lenses turned out to be a challenge, it seemed that a typical 3D printer wouldn’t do the job. The lenses were made of clear resin and needed to be sanded for 5-6 hours and had to be ground against a spherical form to remove imperfections in the lens.
Writing about his motivations for the project, he explained, “I wanted to know if there’s a more authentic photograph to be found at the intersection of design and photography.”
Amos tested the SLO camera on Fujicolour Superia 400 film, which he said resulted in photos that had a “spooky, vingetted effect”. Check them out: