Add Functionality and Reload Your "Disposable" Camera

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Have you ever felt guilty when using a "disposable" camera?  Well not any more!  In this Instructable, we will add functionality to your disposable camera by adding:

1.  An ability to take multiple exposures on one frame of film,

2.  A "bulb" function that will help you take long exposures,

3.  A tripod socket to take full advantage of numbers 1 and 2,

4.  The ability to shoot film of your own choosing (by reloading).

So now chuck that Leica S2 and buy 30,000 disposables!
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Step 1: Danger....Will Robinson!

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Single use cameras with a flash have a photo strobe capacitor that can hold a charge even when the power to the circuit is taken away.  If you take this charge through your chest, it could stop your heart and kill you! 

This scenario is pretty unlikely, but a possibility.  Usually, you will get a minor burn on the offending finger and a new appreciation of capacitors.  Still, never trust a capacitor!  When in doubt...discharge.

I use the "short out" technique to drain the charge from the capacitor.  This is not the best method to say the least.  The proper way is to drain the charge through an appropriate resistor or load bank (like a lightbulb) as demonstrated here:

Just be careful and know where your fingers are and you should be fine!

Step 2: Stuff You Will Need

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1.  Kodak disposable (single use) camera .

2.  Small screw drivers.

3.  Glue...epoxy and superglue (cyanoacrylate).

4.  Nut that will fit a tripod thread.

5.  Two metal washers.

6.  Dental floss, thread, cotton yarn.

7.  Box cutter.

8.  Film.

9.  AA battery.

10.  Changing bag or darkroom.

11.  Electrical tape.
Cool idea. I found an old 35mm disposable camera the other day and gave it to my kid. I use digitals now, but I remember the feelings of winding the film and pressing the button, how it would resist, then the shutter would snap as the button was freed.
McGrep4 years ago
Absolutely fantastic. I was beginning to wonder how to minimize the waste of "disposable" cameras; this Instructable and its outcome are exceptional!
cory.smith4 years ago
dchall85 years ago
Very nice work! 
Nano_Burger (author) 5 years ago
I built the instructable as I was modifying the camera, so I have 36 exposures to burn through, develop and scan.  I could do it quickly, but I want to do some long exposures at night to use the bulb trails, auto light trails, and painting with light sort of stuff so it could take a little longer than usual.  I'll update the instructable when I have some photos from the camera.
lemonie5 years ago
There's some good work gone into that - how long before you've got the film developed?