Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pinhole Camera - 3D Printing & Creatively Recreating Classic Film Fun

I love blogging because it puts me into contact with passionately creative people.

Last night was a case in point.

A young man named Paul emailed me about his step-father's 3D printing project on Kickstarter.

It wasn't a new 3D printer.  It wasn't a new highly technological marvel of never-before-conceived innovation.  It wasn't even a $10 breakthrough in scanning technology.  But, it still got me excited at seeing what 3D printing can do.

Now, this post is not specifically about something created on a Cube 3D printer.   But, I still think it is entirely appropriate to be discussed on these pages.  That is because this project perfectly illustrates that 3D printing can permeate every level of our existence in ways that bring satisfaction even in simplicity.

The Kickstarter project is a 3D printed pinhole camera... revitalizing old technology through new technology!

Clint O'Connor's Kickstarter campaign set modest goals and exceeded them in short order.  There is a reason for that.  Not only is the concept creative; but, the entire Pinhole Kickstarter presentation demonstrates a level of understanding of the search for emotional and intellectual satisfaction that drives creative people.

He not only presents the object that he has designed and prints.  He digs deeply into the emotional and aesthetic  benefits of his own passion... pinhole photography.  To me, this is exactly what the entire 3D printing experience is all about, finally being able to bring into reality tools that benefit our psyche.  One only has to see the image of the Queen Mary to understand why Clint is so taken with pinhole photography.  Very cool.

I plan to use Clint's Kickstarter page in my classes with "At-Risk" students because he presents one of the most powerful lessons that 3D printing can teach us.  Failures are not final.  They can be  simply steps on the way to final success.  Clint's picture of his 35 iterations makes the point loud and clear.

Clint O'Connor's Pinhole Camera Design Iterations

Until they are exposed to 3D printing, most of the former high school dropouts that I now teach through YouthQuest Foundation's 3D ThinkLink Innitiative have felt that failures define us in entirely negative ways. It really is remarkable to see them realize that if their initial design is less than perfect, they can easily do a redesign and print a better one.  I am thankful to Clint for communicating this on his Kickstarter page.

I don't yet know if his design can be printed in the Cube's 5"x5" print platform.  But, I do know that I want to try one of his pinhole cameras.  It's the kind of thing that keeps those nearing 70 feeling young again!  I plan to have some fun reliving my youth... a time when pinhole cameras were very popular.  Sounds like fun! :)


  1. Tom, this is Clint O'Connor, designer of the Flyer camera mentioned here, and author of the Pinhole Printed Kickstarter project. Thank you for a very complimentary post, and I am really pleased to see that my lessons learned are being put to good use with at-risk students. 3D printing is a new frontier and will be looked back upon as the Third Industrial Revolution, and today's students will be the creators and inventors in this revolution.

    For your students, I would say it is extremely important not to let failures lead to disappointment. Rather, they should be embraced. Each setback is an opportunity to improve upon your design or your skills in dealing with your tools, until finally, your design is ready to use and you know your tools well. When the overall task seems overwhelming, focus on the trees, not the forest. Make a list and deal with each setback and subsequent improvement sequentially, where that is possible. Every now and then, you can sit back and look at the big picture again and the progress you have made.

    The skills learned in visualizing and shaping your ideas in 3 dimensions with CAD tools and seeing them realized by operating a 3D printer will lead to future job opportunities in this new industrial revolution.

    As for the Cube, the Flyer's body is the largest component, and it is 5" x 2" on the base, and less than 3" high. It should be printable by turning it 45 degrees on the bed, and the top should be printed in the same orientation so it will fit the body snugly. I would be very interested to see what you produce on the Cube!

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