D4E1 Left Handed Camera Aid. Advanced Version.

Introduction: D4E1 Left Handed Camera Aid. Advanced Version.

In 2012, Annelies Rollez, Cesar Vandevelde and Justin Couturon, designed a left hand cameragrip for Barts (Grimonprez) digital camera. We reviewed the design and parametrized it so it can be made in a flexible production proces. This way the left cameragrip can be custom-made to the handsize of the user and the type of camera at a reasonable price.
We designed a simple system to measure parameters of the users camera. Moreover, we also measure the hand lenght of the user. This data is then imported in a CAD-model. It generates the necessary files to produce the parts with flexible production methods, such as 3d printing and lasercutting. We also tried to translate the original idea, a custom made ergonomic grip, to a simple proces where the shape is 3d scanned. However it requiers specialized technology and knowledge to translate this raw data to a usable model. This raises the price of the grip substantialy. Future versions of software like Siemens NX promise automatic importing of raw scan data so maybe in the near future this will be viable concept.

Original project blog

Step 1: Standard Components - Aquisition of Materials.

Purchase the required components;

  • 3 bolts; sunken with a rounded head M4x10 (DIN 7046-2, F, M4x10)
  • 3 lock nuts; M4 (DIN985, 8, M4)
  • 1 self tapping screw; rounded head (DIN 7049, A, 4,2x13)
  • 1 2.5mm stereo Mini-jack (check camera for compatibility)
  • 1 Miniature on/off switch (R1396 SPST) 1 Impulse switch on/off (532.000.007 V/DC 0.01A)
  • 1 Camera screw (hama 15mm 5131)

Step 2: Measuring Device and Input of Dimensions

We begin by producing the measuring tool.

  1. print the 'meettools.ai' file onto paper or carboard and cutting these with scissors or and exacto knife. If you want a clean tool lasercutting is a better option.
  2. Fold the tool on the blue or engraved lines, apply glue or tape on the meeting edges.
  3. Open the 'matencamera.xls' file and follow the provided instructions.

Step 3: Create the Custom Handle Model

In this part we will go trough the steps necessary to make, 3Dscan and utilise a custom handle.


Shaping of the handle:

  1. Prepare the moddeling clay by kneading till it's soft. pre shaping it a bit.
  2. Softly press the clay against the side of the camera and make the bottom flush with the camera.
  3. Let the user grasp the handle completely.
  4. Softly press the fingers into the shape, gripping the handle.
  5. Check shape for extreme irregularities, smoothen details where desired.
  6. 3D scan the shape and save the file for later use

Prepare 3D scan:

  1. Scan the custom handle using a 3D scanner.
  2. For this prototype we utilised a smartphone app called SCANN3D, this is a subscription based app available in the google play store for android devices.
  3. Before scanning apply lines along the surface and contours of the clay model, this to facilitate recognition points for the scanner.
  4. Follow the tips as provided by the software and use it to make a scan with high detail, the "ultimate" scan setting.
  5. Export the file in .STL format

Importing and modifying the 3D file:
transforming raw 3D scans into workable 3D models is no easy feat, some self study will be required to be able to accomplish this.
The fastest and easyest way is to contact a proffesional, these services cost around €150.
Future versions of the Siemens NX cad software we use should enable this.

Overview workflow:

  1. Import 3D file into meshlabs. (meshlabs is open source, you can find it here. http://www.meshlab.net )
  2. Cut away unnececary parts.
  3. Close holes and gaps using the repair functions.
  4. Apply first smoothing.
  5. Export as .STL file.
  6. Import this file into Siemens NX as a JT model.
  7. Close up any remaining holes and gaps.
  8. Scale the model according to reference sizes.
  9. Smoothe the object multiple times before converting to an NX model.
  10. Use 'offsetsurface' to gain a solid shape.
  11. Apply tooling to the solid.

Step 4: Generate the 3D and Lasercut Files

  1. Launch the Siemens NX CAD software suite and load the file 'assembly_simple.prt'.
  2. Press CTRL + E to open the Expressions panel.
  3. Press the 'update for external change' button to load the values and press OK.
  4. Reload the 'Beugel' and the 'riembeugel' components in the assembly navigator to the left of the screen.
    right click > close > reopen part.
  5. Save the Assembly; click 'File > Save > All'.
  6. Export the 'handgreep' and 'knopcilinder' as an STL file; 'File > Export > STL'.
    Click the handle and specify the desired location and filename.
    Repeat step 7 for the 'knopcilinder' (model1.prt).
  7. Open the 'lasercutdrawings.prt' file and update the dimensions by clicking the clock icon in the part navigator.
  8. Export the handle AND knopcilinder as a DWG file; 'File > Export > STL'. Specify the desired file location and filename, export the file as a 2D/DWG/layout.

Step 5: Assembly

1: Check if all the components are accounted for.

  • 3 bolts; sunken rounded head
  • 3 lock nuts1 self tapping screw
  • 1 2.5mm mini jack (or suitable model depending on camera)
  • 1 miniature on/off press switch
  • 1 Impulse switch
  • 1 camera screw
  • 3D printed handle
  • 3D print 'knopcilinder'
  • Metal 'beugel' lasercut
  • Metal 'riembeugel' lasercut
  • A piece of heat shrink tube and 3x20 cm's of fine electrical wire (1 black and 2 colored ones prefered).

2: Collect tools.

  • Screwdriver matching the chosen screwhead type.
  • Metal plate bending machine. (vise and hammer will work but won't give a clean result)
  • Wirecutter
  • Soldering Iron and wire
  • Hotglue gun, or appropriate adhesive.

3: Bend the 'riembeugel' 90° on the engraved line.

4: Montage.

Mount the 'riembeugel' in the handle with the self tapping screw. Mount the brace (bottom plate) onto the 3D printed handle with the 3 sunken bolts and lock nuts.

5: Soldering.

Cut up the wires into 10cm pieces, solder these wires onto the connections of the buttons as shown in the image. Finish with heat shrink.

6: Glue the Impulse switch into the 3D printed 'knoppen-cilinder' as shown.

7: assemble components.

Slide the 'knoppencilinder' with the impulseswitch into the hole present on the handle. Make sure the wires run trough the guiding hole protruding into the cavity below.Press the Miniature switch into the 'knopcilinder' making sure the wires pass trough aswell.

8: Solder the wiring onto the minijack plug as shown in the schematic.

Step 6: Mounting the Handle Onto the Camera.

  1. Open the latch and plug in the mini-jack.
  2. Slide the 'riembeugel' into the brace on the camera.
  3. Tilt the handle downwards locking in the 'riembeugel'.
  4. Tilt until the bottom brace hits the camera bottom.
  5. Screw in the camera screw fixating the bottom brace to the camera.
  6. Adjust the gap between the camera and handle untill it fits snuggly.

This is adjustable using the top screw.

Step 7: CAD Files

The required files to finish your cad model.

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