Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DIY Pinhole Camera with 35mm Film

Hi Folks!

A while ago I made my own pinhole camera and it actually works :D
I'll post the tutorial so if you want to you can make your own personalised camera!
Sorry there are no pictures of the making process, but I'll try to explain the steps as detailed as possible.

- Small tin box (you can find these at a craft store and they're not expensive)
- Metal spools (you can find these at hobby stores) - you'll need some thin and thicker spools and they must be hollow
- Self adhesive foam band (if you can't find these in black, you can always paint them black afterwards, like I did) - looks something like this: foam band.
- Piece of aluminium from a soda can - those are the easiest to use.
- Small needle (the smaller the better)
- 35mm film
- Tape
- Matte-black spray paint
- A drilling machine


Step 1: Take your tin box and drill a hole in the center of the back (see picture 2) - this is where the shutter is going to be (make sure the box doesn't break, so place the box on a wooden block or something else while drilling the hole) - it's important that the hole is in the exact middle. I measured from corner to corner and then marked the middle.

Step 2: Drill a hole in both corners of the box - make sure you place the lid on the box so you can make sure you've got enough space (with the lid on the box you drill the holes +/- in the middle (see picture 3) - this is where your metal spools will be placed. The holes must be as big as the metal spools, the spools have to fit snuggly (if the holes are too big, light will leak in).

Step 3: Paint the box completely black with the matte black spray paint - this is to avoid light leaking in.

Step 4: Make the interior
• Use the self adhesive foam to make the "walls" in the tin box (see picture 4) - as you can see both sides are +/- equal. Make sure they don't get loose (I used a glue pistol to secure the edges)
Make a block out of the foam band so you can place your film in the middle of the box.
Cut a 35mm film canister in 2 and make an incision in the canister so the film can go through it and place it on the foam block (make sure it's black or paint it black) (film cannister) - attach the film canister to the foam block.
• As you can see, on one side I used wider metal spools in the interior to make sure the smaller metal spool where the film is attached to, doesn't move too much. (see picture 4, on the right). I attached them with a glue pistol.
On the other side I used the smaller spool and I've made a little notch (incision) at the end of the spool so it fits in the film for rotation.
Paint everything black!

Step 5: Attach whatever you want on the metal spools for taking pictures and rewinding the film.
- I used the hello kitty to rewind my film and the cork for taking pictures.

Step 6: This step is very tricky but very important!
Take a small piece of aluminium from a soda can and polish it with abrasive paper/sandpaper so all the paint has come off and the aluminium is not too thick anymore.
Now take the smallest needle you can find - you need to create a little "bump" in the aluminium but you don't want to make a hole yet! (this is the tricky part).
The next thing you need to do is make a hole by polishing the little bump with abrasive/sandpaper so the hole will be round and nog edged (this would happen if you just punched a hole through the aluminium).
The smaller the hole the better and the sharper the photo's!!
If you want to see how big the hole is or even if there is a hole (somethimes it's not visible), turn the aluminium to the light and you'll see it.
Now glue or tape the small aluminium piece with the hole in over the hole you made in the back of your tin box. make sure it fits nice and the small hole is right in the middle of the hole of the thin box.
Cover the hole with black tape or something else that can't let light through - this is the shutter. Every time you want to take a picture, lift it up. (see picture 1).

Step 7: Place your 35mm film in the film canister and tape the beginning of the film on the small metal pole on the right side (see picture 4).

Step 8: Start taking pictures! :D
- first of all, test your camera with a failed film roll to see how much times you have to turn the spool in order to make a new picture without overlapping another picture or having too much space left. (this is why it's important to have something glued onto the metal poles like the cork or the Hello Kitty so you can see how many times you have to turn).
- With this camera (the one I made) I have to turn for about 1,5 to 2 times.
- You'll need to find out how long you have to open the shutter in order to make a good picture. 
(when there's a lot of light, it won't take long; sometimes seconds, sometimes hours ...)

- You can make sure there are no light leaks by using black felt tape you glue around the drilled holes.
- I used self adhesive foam instead of wood to avoid getting the film damaged. Foam won't scratch the     film.
- Glue black felt tape around the half film canister to the canister won't damage or scratch the film!

And don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions! ;)

x Mri

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