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I made this to compete on the Gadget Hacking and Accessories Contest. If you like it please vote for it!

Here I want to show you my self-made macro studio, where I combined two of my hobbies: 3D printing and photography! Since the photography equipment is expensive and I wanted to build my own, I created this macro studio and I would like to share it with you.

Besides SLR cameras the macro studio can fit digital cameras or smartphones, which can’t manually adjust the depth of field and people who want to get into the macro photography. It is easy in printing and building it up. You are flexible in choosing the background and are able to add effects with lights, smoke or any others you are thinking about.

Step 1: Printing and Assembly

Printing the parts is pretty easy, since all parts are made for a 3D printer. If you do not print the parts yourself and don't know where to print them, I recommend you to find 3D printers near you on sites like 3Dhubs.com like this one.

You can find all the files you need in the file "minimacrostudio.zip"

Files to print:

  • 2x Adjuster.stl
  • 2x Bolt.stl
  • 1x/2x Bottomtrail.stl
  • 2x lockpin.stl
  • 2x Slide.stl
  • 2x Gear.stl
  • 1x Mount.stl
  • 1x Toptrail.stl
  • 1x Stageholder.stl

Print Stages as needed.

Majority of the parts are printed with 0.15mm layer height and around 50-60mm/s. The red parts are printed with 0.1mm layer height and around 30mm/s. I also recommend printing the red parts all together, so you won’t have problems with overheating. The bottom trails need a small amount of support, but it shouldn't be a problem for any slicer.

You can print one or two bottom trails. It depends on how big your camera is. If you have a normal SLR camera you will probably need two trails. You can print the clip.stl to slide the camera in the mount. If you print the clip you will have to find a screw that fits. If you already have a tripod for your camera you may be lucky and the clip from that tripod fits in the mini macro studio mount.

When you have your parts printed, you are ready to assemble everything. Since I tried to keep everything as simple as possible, you won't have many problems here.

Use a knife or a file if parts don't fit correctly. The glue is only needed for the little gear under the slide. Just place the little gear in one trail and push the slide over it until you center the gear in the hole. Then put some glue on it and push the adjuster in it. Note that there is a small notch, which you have to hit! If you printed two bottom trails you also need to glue them. After gluing them make sure to put some pressure on it, so that the trails align flat and the slide will not get stuck there.

The rest is pretty easy. You can tighten everything by pushing the lock pin in until the joint won’t move. If you want the joint to move just pull and turn the lock pin out until it starts moving. This way you can basically adjust the strength you need to turn things on the mini macro studio!

Stages

With the stages you can get creative. You can basically hack this hack! There are already some stages I made for you. But there is also a DIY-stage (DIYstage.stl) that you can easily customize without the need of a 3D printer.

Step 2: Functionality

Your camera is fixed to the studio and the stage with your motive is adjustable. With the studio you can adjust the depth of field which makes it easier if you have a digital camera or will give you more opportunities with a reflex camera. Also you don't have to use a tripod. The stage is very flexible, it can move up and down, back and forth and you can place it in any angle. You can change the stages to get another background or attachment to your motive. With these things you can be totally creative. For example, I used some putty to attach the motive to a clear pen so it seemed like it was levitating. Or I was able to use magnets to hold up a needle without the magnets being in the picture

As you can see, this macro studio is very flexible and multifunctional! It fits to a lot of uses and many different photographers!

Have fun with it!

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