Archiv der Kategorie: hobbies

Building my own 3D camera

UPDATE: 3D camera 2.0

1999 i built my first 3D camera by glueing two on way paper cameras together. As 3D seems to be the buzz word of 2009 and more and more display technologies get available, I decided to build a new 3D camera with digital components. On incentive was to get it ready for our this years vacation in Peru.

Thru some internet research I found a Kodak Easyshare M1093 IS to be the perfect camera to buy. It has 10MP, 3x optical Zoom, image stabilization, a big bright display and – best of all – it is able to record video in 720p. Furthermore I made a very good deal at our local store of Conrad electronics. I got two cameras for as little as 220,- euro.

Next step was to construct a frame to hold the two cameras. First of all I took a caliper and made a drew a raw model of the camera using the free construction tool SketchUp from Google.  I focused on the outer body and the position of the lens/blind and the position of the tripod winding relative to the body. You may downlaod the SketchUp file here.


This very simple model allowed me to arrange the cameras and to draw a frame around them. I chose an eye distance of 68mm. The next picture show a very early stage of the final SketchUp. Beforehand I bought a square-cut aluminium bar, 10×10 mm, hollow, 8×8 mm inside (cost about 2 euro per meter). So I did know what to draw, roughly.

early-frame-modelThe final sketch was more detailed and layed out with all figures to start the construction. I will make it available here as well.

After a lot of cutting, rasping, drilling, finishing etc. I ended up with this construction:


(The picture above is actually a photoshop mockup, as I had to use one camera to take the picture)

The reason why one camera is upside down is, that otherwise the eye distance would not be preserved. This makes it very difficult to construct a mechanic release. For me it works fine to press both release buttons simultaneously.

After all I got a cheap 3D camera. I spent 230,- euro (and up to 8 hours of work :-) ).

Of course there are some lessons learned:
Tripod threads/screws are measured in inches, no chance to get a screw at the next hardware store (when you are in europe, of course)
It is quite difficult to cut the aluminium bar angled. It’s a must to use a bench vise.
It is possible to buy such frames – as I figured out later ;-)

If you made it down to here, I’m sure you are eager to know, what the results are: take a look.