3d Printed Pinhole Camera




Introduction: 3d Printed Pinhole Camera

About: Alejandro is an industrial designer who focuses on creating impact through his designs. He has a broad background having worked at a graphic design agency, a furniture manufacturer, founded a successful furn...

I'm a big photography aficionado and always wanted to make my own analog camera. Thanks to 3D printing, it is now possible to make a fully funcional pinhole camera. Just print the camera and start shooting. No assembly required.

Step 1: 3D Design + and Pinhole

First, I got inspired by old retro cameras which I wanted to base my design. I used 3D studio MAX to design my camera but you can use whatever you feel most comfortable with. Here are some 3D renderings of my design.

I won't go into detail on what a pinhole camera is but in essence, it is a simple camera with no lens but a small aperture (made with a pin) that projects an inverted image into the film. There are many factors to consider for the pinhole specially the diameter of the hole, the distance to the film and the type of film you are going to use. I found a website called MrPinhole that summarizes the most important features.

Step 2: Printing the STL Files!

I printed the parts on OBJET Printers which are amazing. The resolution is really accurate and it made sense as we want good precision for the pinhole. Unfortunately I only had white color to print my camera so I had to paint them black afterwards.

I uploaded the STL files for you to print and customize! Let me know how things turned out.

Step 3: Paiting

As I didn't have a black material to print my camera I had to paint them black. I used Rust Oleum universal paint primer in one black gloss for the outside and the same one but BLACK FLAT for the inside so I had no light reflection. You need to paint both sided because only one side will not make it lightproof. Any light that gets into the black box will expose your film.

Step 4: Load Your Film

Here are the instructions of use:
  1. Put the lid on first. As there is no shutter in pinhole camera, the lid will be our shutter. If you remove the shutter light will pass through the pinhole and therefore projecting the image on the film. Check MrPinhole website to see how long your exposure has to be. In general they are about 1-2 seconds depending on how shiny the day is.
  2. Load the film on the small pole and pull it towards the longer pole.
  3. Place the film inside the slot of the long pole.
  4. Close the camera putting the back body.
  5. Lock the viewfinder (this will prevent the camera from opening accidentally).
  6. Spin the long pole one turn.
  7. Remove the lid to take your first photo. Spin the long pole one turn for the next picture.
  8. Once you ran out of film. Turn the short pole to rewind the film.

Step 5: Customize and Enjoy Your Camera!

Pinhole cameras are really exciting and 3d printing brings endless possibilities to play around with the diameter as well as the focal length. Please use the files and make your own cameras. Customize the lid, design a logo and make your own cameras! Please send your photos!

I will be editing this post and adding new pictures and new camera features. My plan is to have different "lenses" with diameters and focal lengths.

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12 Discussions

A mechanical camera...See this is a perfect camera for those psuedo-scientists and anyone in the crytpozoology field needing to prove "ghosts", "UFO's", etc. In this way one can't give excuses about electronic recording media being disrupted by an [alleged] anamoly, specially since it's made of plastic and not metal, being that electronic recording mediums are basically mechtronic contraptions that can "possibly" (as it were) be manipulated by an outside anomalous "force", so to speak, because of it's use of metals (by outside magnetic manipulation, and electronic which again is very sensitive to outside manipulation). Unfortunately, the use of IR LED's may need to be adapted for night shots, which defeats the purpose of non-electrical/ electronic photo captures.

i've got this running (with another model) on our OBJECT30 right now (i really shouldn't be allowed access to the thing....bad things are bound to happen). 13.5 hours to go!

6 replies

how in the hell did you get this thing all the way cleaned out? support material everywhere! sneaky little cavities and undercuts. how did you get the inside of the "lens" cleaned out and painted?

also, in the viewfinder stl, the little shutter piece is part of the rest of the viewfinder when it's printed

There is a lot of support material inside the lens. I used a curved tool llike the one attached. To remove the support material from the pin just use a pin or needle.
Inside the lens you can paint it deep, there is no problem if you overpaint as it will be invisible.

I uploaded the viewfinder in 2 stl files to make sure everyone prints the 2 pieces separated.

I will be making different lenses next week to reduce the support material and play with aperture and focal lengths. Will upload results soon!


found another issue.....the teeth on the film advance knob seem to be too agressive...you can't turn the thing when the case is closed. any suggestions?

i was able to get most of it with the pressure washer once i new it was there. just didn't expect it i guess (should have). the rest of the fit is really nice. snaps together really tight.

Awsome! Any idea about the total cost of this camera? Thx

it´s genius!!!
love how accurate the printer is,great job Ale!

This is AWESOME! I can't believe that more people haven't favorited this. Great job!