3D Printed Camera Accessories
Let us say you already have a camera and want to dive into the photography world a little bit deeper, but you don’t have the budget to get the accessories you need.
In the old days you would be stuck and possibly turned to flea market to look for some great used-gears deals although you knew such thing never really existed.
Thankfully you don’t live in the old days; you are now in a world where 3D-printing technology is on the rise.
Instead of scouring the Internet to look for second-hand camera accessories to save money, you have the options to get brand new custom accessories made for you by 3D-printing companies/services and still save money.
Here are some samples starting from the simplest to the most complex one.
- Mini tripod
The mother of all camera accessories, a tripod is probably the first gear you buy after you get a camera.
Both amateurs and professionals use it to mount the camera in a steady position. While it probably doesn’t make any financial sense to 3D print a full-size tripod, having a mini or table-top tripod 3D printed does.
It will not hold your big DSLR, but it should handle an action cam or a compact mirrorless just fine. Just purchase some extra screws and you’re good to go.
- Tripod plate
We all have a tendency to take little things for granted until we lose them. A tripod plate is a fine example of such thing.
The plate is only useful if you use a tripod indeed, and that’s why it so often gets misplaced after you dismount the camera.
In case you have difficulties finding your misplaced tripod plate at home or getting the same exact model, search online for the 3D printed version.
- Lens caps
Another example of easily-forgotten prone-to missing camera gear is a lens cap. Many – perhaps most – photographers have lost their lens caps at some points.
A lot of generic models come with brand names (such as Canon, Sony, Nikon, etc) but the 3D-printed ones can be fully customized to say and look like just about anything.
- Lens cap holder
A customized holder can be manufactured in the same way too, so that you don’t have to lose the cap again. The holder is secured to the strap, minimizing your chance of losing it to practically none.
- Focus ring
Many cameras or lenses come with rather large zoom rings so you can easily adjust how big the object would look like in pictures.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said to focus ring; in some lenses, the focus ring is so thin to the point where rotating it feels awkward.
If you have lenses of that type, there is no need to get a new one. A 3D-printed custom focus ring attachment should be sufficient to make your life easier.
- GoPro scuba mount
And now reaching to something with more sophistication, starting with a scuba mount. As the name says, this camera accessory is an attachment for a scuba mask; if you have a GoPro and happen to be good at diving at the same time, this is the accessory to get.
Ready-made scuba mount is also available, but the good thing about 3D printing is the high level of customization option. In fact, you can have a scuba mount for any underwater camera built using 3D printing technology.
- Telescope adaptor for smartphone
No one says fun photography always needs a DSLR. To maximize your smartphone camera’s performance in capturing distant objects, it is possible to attach an optical telescope to the lens.
With 3D printing technology, the adapter can be manufactured in a perfectly conforming shape to the phone’s design.
- Camsports EVO ski goggle mount
It works more or less in the same way as scuba mount, only this one is created for skiing enthusiasts. Unlike in diving activity where you carry a lot of bulky gears underwater, ski requires you to be as light and streamline as possible.
Mounting a big camera to your helmet is far from ideal, so you need smaller action camera, such as the Camsports EVO, to get the trip down the snowy hill on tape. This particular accessory is made specifically for Camsports EVO, a small action cam that looks more like a tiny flashlight than a camcorder.
You can mount the camera on the helmet and then twist it to secure its position, without even taking your gloves and ski helmet off. It is small, light, unobtrusive, and effective.
The amateur version of a professional rail system, 3D printed slider is a relatively affordable way to get your lateral tracking shots.
Having a camera rail system 3D printed is probably too much of a hassle and expense, but a slider is easer, quicker, and cheaper to build. The actual mounting accessory can be custom-made as well.
- DSLR rig
A shoulder mount or a rig for DSLR is more commonly used in videography than photography.
Think of it as mobile tripod mounted on your shoulder, and therefore it moves anywhere you go.
Ready-made DSLR rig can be quite pricey, and there is no guarantee that it will work best for the camera you have. The Moonrig is a fine example of 3D printed camera gear designed by professionals.
Not only is photography fun, but also potentially lucrative if you’re serious about it. That being said, it may take weeks – if not months – until you have full understanding of how a camera works and master all the basic skills of photography.
Things get challenging as you move up from a simple point-and-shoot pocket camera (probably even smartphone camera) to full-blown DSLR or action cam.
Let us not forget that a professional camera is in fact quite expensive, and the price does not usually include additional accessories designed to make your photography-works easier.
Although it would be exceedingly difficult to 3D print a camera, a lot of essential accessories can be 3D printed using lightweight materials without sacrificing functionality and affordability.
Do you have a favourite 3D printed camera accessory?
Leave a comment below.