March 26th, 2021

marcus 2013

3D printer services?

I need a really small lens cap (the rear cap for Pentax's old 110 film cartridge SLR's lenses), and the only person who has them  for sale in the UK is printing them and charging £5.49 each (£4.04 each for 4 or more) for something about the size of a couple of 10p coins stacked togeher. You can download a template with a Creative Commons license free. So I'm wondering if it's worth looking for a service in the UK where I can order one printed (or maybe a couple in case I get another lens) that won't cost an arm and a leg. I have no idea how you cost these things, if anyone can take a look and tell me it's this one:

Is £5.49 / £4.04 in bulk actually reasonable? I really have no idea.

Later - a friend who has a 3D printer has offered to run off a few for me - one to use plus spares for any lenses I acquire later. His estimate of costs is 37p per cap...

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marcus 2013

More about 3D printing

The lens cap thing has got me thinking about 3D printing again. I need lens caps and camera body caps quite often, and getting the weirder ones is difficult, slow, and sometimes expensive - for example, I've needed Exakta caps a few times and they are expensive, but you can get them as 3D printer files. And I might conceivably want to amuse myself by undercutting matey with his £5.49 lens caps...

And sometimes it would be nice to adapt a lens to take a few test shots on one of my cameras, but I don't want to go to the expense of buying a commercially made metal mount - I've bodged this a couple of time in the past by e.g. gluing a rear lens cap to a body cap and drilling a hole through the plastic to let the light through, but it's a total pain to get right.

I really don't want to keep asking my friends for favours on this, so what I'm wondering is what's around in the way of affordable 3D printers that can do this sort of thing but won't break the bank. The maximum sized thing I'd want to print would be say 60mm diameter and a centimeter or two high (but bigger might be useful for other projects). Reasonably good precision is important with adapters since the whole point is to make a fairly precise connection between things that were never designed to joint together. A good opaque black material is more or less essential for the filament when printing lens adapters, anything else will probably leak light, but a range of colours might be nice for other things.

So.... what's available at a reasonable price, and how idiot-proof is it?

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