Inspired by George Bristol’s variation on the film advance mechanism of my Lego camera, I have reworked the design of my 35mm Lego camera. The new camera has several things going for it. Overall it is slightly smaller. It now has an internal shutter mechanism which replaces the clumsy swinging door of the earlier model. Most importantly, I came up with a simple way to rewind the film so now the camera no longer needs to be unloaded in the dark. I have tested a couple of rolls of film with it and the improvements make this a very fun little toy! I am seriously starting to consider selling these, perhaps on Ebay. Would anybody be interested? What do you think it would be worth?
Here are some photos and explanations of the new and improved 35mm Lego camera…
The animations below show the front and back of the camera. You can see that to take a picture you simply lift the piece on top. When the red block is showing I know that the pinhole is uncovered and the film is being exposed.
Here is what is happening on the inside:
Here is a better look at the film advance mechanism that I tweaked based on George Bristol’s idea. The purpose is to create a knob that only turns in one direction. My original solution did the same thing, but this one takes up less space and is a little more durable. This keeps the film tight and prevents inadvertent rewinding. To advance the film one frame, you turn the knob 1.25 turns.
My method for rewinding the film takes some explanation. I needed a piece that could fit into the 35mm film canister like this:
There isn’t a stock Lego piece that does this trick, so I had to modify a piece. Using a dremel tool and some sand paper I created this:
It will go on the camera like this:
The hole that the new rewind knob goes through needs to be bigger than a normal Lego piece. Here is what the enlarged hole looks like:
When I get to the end of the roll of film I remove the piece that is pushing into the gear of the film advance knob. This allows the film to rewind by simply turning the rewind knob. If the rewind knob was put into the film canister correctly the advance know will turn backwards as you are rewinding. Once the film has been rewound, it is safe to open the camera and reload.
If you are interested in pinhole photography, Ebay might be a good place to find a starter pinhole camera. Here are the pinhole camera auctions going on right now: