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HS Senior Independent Study: 3D Camera Design

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by RobR, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    This year, as an Independent Study for my Senior year of High School, I am going to be designing a camera body based on the Micro Four Thirds system using Autodesk Inventor Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CAD) software. The final project would be to print the parts using a 3D Printer and then construct the camera. This would facilitate designing a body on which a :43: lens can be mounted. An Electronic ViewFinder, (EVF) or an external flash could be mounted on the camera via the hotshoe, as it would on a real camera.

    Design challenges include:
    Designing the camera around genuine micro four thirds camera parts, removed from an Olympus E-PL1


    This will be a thread documenting my progress in the course.

    medium.JPG

    I would like to thank all of the people and companies who have made this ISP possible for me:

    Autodesk (for providing a student copy of 2012 Autodesk Inventor)
    Olympus Corporation (for pioneering the :43: camera)
    ROBO3D Kickstarter (for providing the 3D printer)
    salvatore64 (for his generous contribution of a pristine Olympus E-PL1 body)
    ...and all of the other people who have expressed interest in my project
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 6
  2. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    Good luck on your project!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    This is the E-PL1 which will be donating its electronics into the final product:[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once again, a special thanks to salvatore64 for the beautiful E-PL1 body: It came to me with less than 500 shutter actuations! :2thumbs:
     
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Sounds like a cool project. Please keep us apprised of your progress.

    Man, do I wish we had technology like that when I was in high school.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    How to disassemble an Olympus E-PL1:

    Tools: Small, Japanese Industial Standard (JIS) Screwdriver is recommended, or use a small jeweler's Philips head screwdriver.
    Needle
    foam tray to keep track of all the small screws

    Note: All of the directional (left, right) are in relation to the rear of the camera. Therefore, if the direction is: "Right side, front facing to the right", then I am referring to the side pictured:

    [​IMG]


    REMOVE THE BATTERY AND SD CARD!!
    1. Bottom, front facing towards person: remove all screws in black case (3) silver, all same size small, #1 screws
    2. Remove 2 screws in silver case (2) silver, small, #1 screws
    3. Left side, front facing to the left: remove two #2 screws, long, silver, coarse thread, small head
    4. Right side, front facing right: remove (1) #3 screw nearest to the rear, medium, fine thread, large head
    5. Gently pull off the rear case off the camera. Be very careful not to break the connectors to the lcd and speaker. Unsnap the connectors by pulling the black plastic on the board up.
    6. Left side, front facing left: remove (1) #3 screw nearest to the front, medium, fine thread, large head
    7. Bottom: in the battery slot, remove the screw nearest to the spring. #4, silver, xlong, small head, coarse thread
    8. Gently pull the faceplate off.
    9. Take a break.
    10. Front, grip to the left: Working clockwise, remove the black screws (3) black, #5, large flat head, very short, fine thread.
    11. Remove the remaining black screw, (1) black, small, #6, small head, medium length, coarse thread
    12. Remove the silver screw, (1) silver, #2, long, silver, coarse thread, small head
    13. Remove the spring and lens lock button
    14. Using a tiny flathead screwdriver or a needle, lift the hotshoe spring up and then slide it out towards you.
    15. Remove all 4 screws from the hotshoe plate, then remove the hotshoe
    16. Left side, front facing to the left: remove (1) screw, black, #7, long, coarse thread, large head
    17. Front, bottom side down: remove (3) #6 screws, black, small head, medium length, coarse thread
    18. Desolder the connections
    19. Carefully remove the top plate.
     
  6. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Rob - I am sure this will be an interesting challenge. A fundamental design challenge is matching the design precision and tolerances required for what is being designed with the inherent precision and tolerances of the fabrication method and material. I don't know how precise the 3D printer can make parts, so it might be useful for some loose dimensions that permit alignment during assembly. For instance, even camera companies use shims to align the lens mount to the sensor. Going from a design to a working device has a lot of challenges. You'll learn a lot. Good luck!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    The body is partially disassembled, all that's needed is to de-solder the wires connecting the top plate.

    Front:
    [​IMG]

    Back:
    [​IMG]

    Body panel:
    [​IMG]

    All of the parts and screws that came off the body:
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    I am currently in the stage of typing up design parameters for the camera, which I have decided to call the S-12 RSR.
    The "S" stands for Stealth, 12 is the number of megapixels (12.3) and "RSR" are my initials.

    Here is a small excerpt from the rough draft:

    I would like to lengthen the body slightly, from 4.5" to 5.0", for a better balance on each side of the lens mount and to facilitate the alignment of the hotshoe with the lens mount. In the E-PL1, the hotshoe was shifted off center slightly so that the pop up flash could be added. The width of the flash made it impossible to align the hotshoe without one interfering with the function of the other. Lengthening the body, even by 1/2” would allow for both features to work with each other without any disadvantages.

    Crdome
    : Thank you!
    meyerweb: Don't worry, I certainly will. The amount of technology these days is quite literally mind boggling. And to think that not 30 years ago, computers were only able to produce basic line drawings...
    b_rubenstein: I agree. A 3D printer is VERY accurate, within 100 microns, but the PLA plastic it uses is prone to melting at the least desirable times. I am aware of the shims used in the sensor/mount assembly, but I'll certainly take your advice on using them for the body.

    Thank you all for your interest and if you have any questions or comments for me regarding ANY part of the project, by all means ask them!
     
  9. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Rob, if you're not already familiar with it, you might find this site interesting as you start your design:

    http://cameraergonomics.blogspot.com/

    He's done a lot of thinking about camera ergonomics, and has published a lot of good thought on the subject.
     
  10. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Looks like fun! Wish I had a 3D printer when I was in high school! Good luck!
     
  11. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    Thank you so much! I hadn't seen it before and this will be a great resource! Much appreciated!
    -Rob
     
  12. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    Great News!!!
    ROBO3D replied to my message to them and they are shipping my printer earlier than expected! It is on the FedEx truck and will be delivered at the end of the week!!!
    A big thank you to them! If you are interested, check out their website:
    http://www.robo3dprinter.com/
     
  13. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    My ROBO3D Printer arrived today! Next post will most likely be a joyful, picture saturated rant about it.... :p
     
  14. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Cool. Can't wait to see more.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    I'm a mechanical engineering student at SIU Carbondale right now. If you need any help you think I may be able to provide, please PM me. I have access to precision measuring equipment, an optical comparator, CMM, and machining equipment.

    Also: don't stop after your independent study. Improve your design. Add it to your resume.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    Thank you very much for the offer, If I need anything I'll be sure to ask! :thumbup:

    A quick question to everyone out there:

    If you had the opportunity to design a :43: camera, what would you change or improve? I am looking for physical changes, such as ergonomics and finish. Please, don't say "menus" or "shutter speed" or "autofocus", I can't change any of those.
    For instance, someone suggested to me that the tripod mount should be moved back in-line with the lens mount. I'm going to try to integrate that into the final design.
     
  17. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    It'd be cool if you made it resemble a more traditional rangefinder design. Doesn't have to be literal, but retro modern with ergonomic improvements would be nice!

    Hey if you want to make money, you should design a grip for the E-P5. Get funding from kickstarter.com and I'm sure you'll sell a boat load to M43 users!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    I'll certainly take it into consideration.

    I could probably design a grip for the E-P5, I'd just need one to measure. (Want to donate one? :D ) Do you think it would be a screw on thing like the EM-5 or were you thinking of a grip that is stuck on? How big?
     
  19. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    For me, ergonomics are very important. A comfortable, easy to hold grip with the shutter release up top. Physical buttons or switches (but you'd probably have a hard time adding any controls that the original camera didn't have).
     
  20. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    It could be something similar to the JB Design grip for the E-M5:

    http://www.jbcameradesigns.com/products/olympus-om-d-e-m5-grip-base

    Unfortunately I don't have an E-P5, but maybe someone in your area could let you borrow one for measuring?