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Thread: 3-D printed lens boards

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Buford, GA

    Re: 3-D printed lens boards

    Quote Originally Posted by williaty View Post
    To address several of the points raised in this thread:

    "Any machine shop can bore a board for you"
    Yes, they *can* but my experience is that they *won't*. The few machine shops left in the US (at least here in the midwest) that have survived are running flat out busy. When you show up to get a lens board bored, you're asking them to interrupt a $15,000 job to make your $10 hole. The best quote I've gotten back so far (most were no-bid) has been "$120 shop minimum and only if we can run your job during a down time so completion could be any time in the next 6 months."

    "Has anyone done this?"
    Yes, I've printed boards for myself out of PLA and then annealed them to get the temperature resistance required for leaving lenses in the car or in direct sun. PLA is desirable because it's the strongest and stiffest commonly available filament but it has a low glass transition temperature. Annealing can significantly raise the glass transition temperature by taking the plastic from an amorphous state to a crystalline state. There's some dimensional changes during the annealing process (shrinks in Z, expands in X and Y) so you have to account for that in the sizing of your original model

    "But lensboards are available!"
    Yeah, if your camera takes Tech boards and your lens is a normal Copal sizing, absolutely buy a ready-made board! If you run into weird things like trying to mount a Buhl projection lens into a Pacemaker Speed Graphic, then 3D printing offers a lot of advantages.
    In my studio days, when I needed a fast board for the Norma I used double weight black mount boards and cut the required hole with an Xacto knife. They worked and held up very well! Also very fast and cheap!

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    Re: 3-D printed lens boards

    At least for the time being, I've made boards from the backing of an otherwise useless photo frame.
    -- Just cut the right size rectangle with a Stanley knife and a metal ruler,
    -- marked out the holes with an old compass from school geometry (1970's)
    -- cut out the holes with a Dremel type tool
    -- drilled the locator pin hole for the 90mm with a regular drill
    -- shaved the edges to thickness with the Stanley knife
    -- painted them using a black sample applicator from the local hardware store.

    They seem to be working fine.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Bitterroot Valley, Montana

    Re: 3-D printed lens boards

    I downloaded a file from Thingaverse and printed a lens board for a Crown Graphic and it worked out very well. I was taking an adult ed class and only had to pay less than $1 for material.
    You can't teach an old dog new tech's!

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