Step 2: The Design - Materials and Tools

The design is quite simple.  The camera is a light-tight box with some fixtures to hold the film spool and take-up spool, and an acrylic tube which the film wraps around. Two aluminum rollers help the film around the tight corners off the spools so that the cylinder can have near-360 degree coverage. At the end of the box where the tube is glued is where the pinhole sits.  The camera is made of 1/4" poplar but any wood will do as long as it is 1/4" thick.

Now, I used a laser cutter to cut my wood, but there is nothing here that couldn't be done with a table saw, finger joint jig, drill bits and a scroll saw.  If you do have a laser cutter handy or you want to have it cut by an online laser cutting service I have included an Autocad DWG of the design.  For people doing it by hand I have included a PDF template of the parts at 1:1 scale to be printed on 11x17 paper or across two 8.5x11 sheets. 

In the supplied AutoCAD file, white(black) is the cut line and blue is the engrave layer.  The engrave is just to mark some drill holes which are small and need to be a pretty accurate diameter.

Materials required:
  • 5" wide x 4' long x 1/4" thick poplar board.  Must be very flat.  This wood tends to warp while sitting at the store so check your piece to make sure its good. 
  • 1 foot of 3/8" wood dowel
  • 0.3mm pinhole ( DIY or purchased)
  • Aluminum sheet metal
  • 65mm of 2" outer diameter acrylic tube
  • 1 foot 1/4" aluminum rod
  • 2x 1/4" retaining ring
  • 2x aluminum washer
  • 2x 10-24 3/4" screw
  • 2x 10-24 wing nut
  • 2x 10-24 nutsert
  • 6x #4 3/8" flat head screw
  • 4x #4 3/8" round head screw
  • 3x #4 washer
  • 1/4-20 nut
  • 6-32 1/4" flat head screw
  • 6-32 acorn nut
  • Sheet of felt
  • Sheet of craft foam
  • 2x 1/4" shaft knob
  • Wood glue
  • Epoxy
  • Super glue
  • Black spray paint
  • Stain
  • Spar urethane
  • Sandpaper
  • 2x 120 film spool
  • 120 film paper backing for testing
  • Laser cutter (or bandsaw, finger joint jig, table saw)
  • Drill press with forstner bits and twist drill assortment
  • Sheet metal cutting tools
  • 4-40 tap
  • Lathe (optional)
  • Misc. other common tools
I'm having a hard time printing out the exact ratio for the wood box portion. Do you have the measurements for the box frame?
Can you be more specific? The overall dimensions are in the images on Step 2, you can also make all the measurements you want from the DWG file supplied on the same step, using AutoCAD or a free DWG viewer like http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?id=6703438&amp;siteID=123112. <br><br>Hope this helps.
so very nifty! simple (as it were) and elegant!
wow man roll another fattie! <br>seriously <br>very cool
It appears that the acrylic added some reflections to the image that may or may not be wanted. Would it be possible to replace the cylinder with a geared disc, in line with the film edges? Also, the full surface contact between the film and the acrylic will lead to scratches. <br> <br>If the cutting is done with anything but a laser, the precision involved in this project would require a good deal of sanding for alignments.
You are right about the reflections, and I'm not positive about what you are saying about a geared disc. I have since made some changes which I will add to the Instructable once I have confirmed them to actually be better. I am no longer using an acrylic tube not because of scratches or reflections, but due to the immense friction it created making it difficult to advance the film. <br> <br>Also, finger joints aren't exactly necessary, the camera could be built with the wood edges glued simply. My first pinhole was like that and it worked fine.
Totally awesome project! Although I am fairly certain digital photography has already taken over ;) <br>
I'm fairly certain I like film better ;)
Beautiful work! <br> I LOVE all you folks who share about making and using Pinhole cameras. <br> <br>I personally believe they are an underutilized tool in education, useful across fields of art, science, engineering, reasoning, and naturally fascinating for children - to engage them across all these areas, getting their hands on stuff, even in poorest material environs. I have it on my long-term list to assemble such camera-making info + natural photo-reactive media for eco-friendly picture-making-recording - albumen, citric acid, tin (eco?) photo reactive. <br> <br>Greg
Thanks, I agree, people need to be taught about pinhole cameras because of the educational value. Its a great way to study optics and light.
What is a anamorphic images!?
An anamorphic image is any image which is optically distorted. In this case, the distortions are caused by the film being wrapped in a cylinder instead of laid flat like normal.
Design and execution is absolutely brilliant. But I can't help thinking that if you'd put a bit more into the external finish, you'd have a camera that looked like a fine instrument. A few coats of sanding sealer and some time with sandpaper before you put on the varnish would have really paid off.
Very nice work! Love both the camera and the shown result!
Instead of having the acrylic cylinder fixed in place, you could have it so that it rotates along with the film when you advance it. Ok, it's a lot of fiddle to do, but it should overcome the friction problem.
You're right, but the mechanics of that kind of solution would be difficult, especially since at one end the pinhole cannot be obstructed in any way.
nice one.love the wonkee pics. plastic tube a supprise. could you tell me a little more about the lazer cutter?
The laser cutter I used is a Trotec Speedy 300, and is about 45 watts. Cuts this material at 100 power 0.9 speed and 6 passes, -0.05&quot; Z-offset per pass. With another machine experimentation will be required but many passes and Z-offset on each pass helps prevent the wood from heating up too much and charring.
Cool,Cool,Cool,Cool,Cool, project! Excellent instructable!
Glad you liked it!
Magnific work, Matt.
As always, thank you!

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