Assembly Instructions and Files: 163mm f/2.5 Open-source Lens

Assembly Instructions and Files: 163mm f/2.5 Open-source Lens

You can view the results of the Pixels and Prisms 163mm f/2.5 lens here. If you're interested in building the lens at home, however, you can find files and resources on this page, organized by build step.

Part 1: Attach lens mount to the lower lens barrel

  • 3D print the lens mount and lower lens barrel in a high detail setting.
  • The lens barrel is a stepped form. Attach the rim of its lower opening (the one with a smaller diameter) to the flat lip of the lens mount using adhesive.

Part 2: Add focusing barrel to lower lens barrel

  • 3D print the focusing barrel in a high-detail setting.
  • Attach its rim to the internal flange of similar diameter that sits within the lower lens barrel. Align with as much precision as possible.

Part 3: Finish focusing mechanism

  • 3D print the inner focusing barrel in a high-detail setting.
  • Fully insert into the outer focusing barrel.
  • Cut three 7mm sections of 3D printer filament to serve as pegs.
  • Attach pegs to the inner focusing barrel through the tracks in the outer focusing barrel.

Part 4: Bond focus ring and aperture base.

  • 3D print the aperture base and focus ring in a standard setting.
  • Attach the non-scored side of the aperture base to the focus ring - the side where a lip dips down and then reaches up again within the focus ring.

Part 5: Finishing the focusing mechanism

  • Attach the remaining unbonded side of the focus ring to the inner focusing tube using a small quantity of glue.
  • When the adhesive is dry, reinforce the connection with another layer of glue which sits above the previous bond.

Part 6: Attach pegs to aperture blades

  • 3D print 12 aperture blades and 12 aperture pegs in a high detail setting.
  • The aperture blades already have one peg built-in. Attach the remaining twelve pegs on the side opposite the existing ones, one per blade. There is a perforation in the aperture blade which marks the optimal position.

Part 7: Insert aperture blades into aperture base

  • Have your dry aperture blades (with pegs) at hand, as well as the rest of the lens assembly.
  • Slide the pegs (the ones which you printed as a part of the aperture blades) into the grooves in the aperture base. Work counterclockwise, lifting up existing placements after the halfway mark.
  • Align the pegs into an even distribution.

Part 8: Complete aperture mechanism

  • Slot the aperture ring over the evenly-distributed pegs. This may require printing the aperture ring in two identical halves. The upward-facing pegs have slight protrusions which make them easy to manipulate into position with 3D printer filament or household items.
  • In the event of warping, consider an additional part to secure the aperture ring. This was required in one of four tests that I conducted.

Part 9: Attach lens element

  • Attach your lens element to the aperture ring. Adjust distance through your viewfinder until the scene is in sharp focus. You can expect a shallow depth of field: you can fix this later using your aperture.

Part 10: Test

  • Test the aperture and focusing mechanisms.
  • Note that the aperture can shrink to a 15mm diameter. Don't be afraid to push it to this point: it is a sturdy mechanism.
  • Photographing geometric forms should provide an indication of distortion. However, you can also use a printable test card.

Get started now with any 3D printer you have access to. Online print services can also provide many of the project parts.

For detailed specifications and print details, visit the Lens Factsheet. For sample images and a full write-up, try the project page.

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