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Finlay Smyth

16mm Camera schematics

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Hi I'm a student in Scotland. I'm looking to partly 3d print and machine my own super 16mm camera, preferably silent. I have the machinery and materials its mainly about documentation and info, there doesn't seem to be too much of it out there. The main problem I can see just now is the view finder, everything should be alright to figure.

 

Can't wait to hear back. Finlay

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Is it not cheaper to buy a 16mm camera?

Also what kind of 16mm camera do you want to make? Something similar to an Arri 416, SR3, or a camera like a Bolex?

You make it sound like making this camera is pretty simple? I do not actually know if it is or it is not, I just thought it would not be as simple as 3D printing one...

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I'd rather convert a regular 16mm Arri SR to S16 if I had access to a precision mill and lathe and wanted to save money on a silent camera.

Building even a simple MOS camera will be much, much more expensive than buying one. Take the seemingly simple pressure plate - you'd have to mill it from high-carbon steel (which might also need tempering/leaving etc) to a micron-range tolerance and polish with optical-grade precision. It's all highly precise, often requires special alloys, and I doubt you can 3d print anything other than magazines. And forget about self-blimped...

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I'd rather convert a regular 16mm Arri SR to S16 if I had access to a precision mill and lathe and wanted to save money on a silent camera.

Building even a simple MOS camera will be much, much more expensive than buying one. Take the seemingly simple pressure plate - you'd have to mill it from high-carbon steel (which might also need tempering/leaving etc) to a micron-range tolerance and polish with optical-grade precision. It's all highly precise, often requires special alloys, and I doubt you can 3d print anything other than magazines. And forget about self-blimped...

 

Except if you're the Soviet Union, looks like they made a lot of cameras from whatever they found lying around on the ground.

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When you're working under the wing of Ministry of Defence Industry, occasionally, there's nice stuff lying on the ground near you. Decent machinery and aerospace leftovers can get you a long way...

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This is great, but as someone has already asked 'why do want to do this' especially since there are so many 16mm cameras out there.

Pav

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I know its not just a matter of 3d printing I would have to machine metal (probably aluminium). Its very much still in the planning process just now. I suppose I was just really wondering if anyone knew of any books or websites that could help?

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You won't be able to make anything remotely close to a modern sync sound camera like an Arriflex or Aaton (which took teams of experts, decades of experience and cost tens of thousands of dollars per camera), but maybe something like a Bolex or the like is possible, with a few years of effort. You'd need to buy the optics, and spend time researching viewfinder design. The closest thing to camera schematics you'll probably find are service manuals, but they don't typically include exact dimensions and materials. Bolex had pretty good manuals if you can source them. Otherwise I would suggest taking a camera apart to study and measure the components. Make sure to run down the spring all the way if you take apart a spring motored camera!

 

I documented a few camera disassemblies here:

http://cinetinker.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/bolex-h16-rx5-disassembly.html?_sm_au_=iVV68nM0tpK08jHq

 

Making your own camera certainly won't be a cheaper option, if that's your thinking. But if it's a challenge you're after, go for it!

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I have considerable experience with camera building.

Tell me, are you already an accomplished machinist, or
tool and die maker, or mechanical engineer?

If not, then step one is to acquire some meaningful
experience and skill in these areas.

No chance of success without it.

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Dom, (or others with the knowledge)

 

Would you ever consider making a service and repair guide for the Arri 16S similar to your Arri 35 Cinetinker blog?

 

I really hope someone with knowledge, skill and love of this camera will do this at some point. I fear the knowledge will die long before the cameras are ready to give up. I understand the special tools and gauges aspect is an issue, and not knowing the specific requirements, I have no idea of how practical it would be to make the required tools that can no longer be found or to develop replacement jigs and gauges. My own experience in engineering and optomechanics would lead me to think this would be possible if more detail about the specific issues were available.

 

One simple example is the take-up reel tension adjustment. This is easily adjusted using the Arri tool made specifically for the task. However, the adjustment could also be made if one knows the required tension value gauged by the Arri tool. What is that value? Can anyone actually answer that? I would bet most experienced technicians know this tension setting by feel alone.

 

Flange focal distance is another example. Simple tools can an be used to gauge this distance. These tools are not cheap but neither are they prohibitively expensive.

 

Tension measurements can be easily tested but the specifications must be known.

 

Certainly, skilled service is still available but service cost limits the practicality to professional users. The skilled hobbyist has zero chance to perform detailed service given the current state of available documentation.

 

Please tell me if I am way off the mark but I think there are many skilled hobbyists out there dying for guidance that would give them a fighting chance. I know I am.

 

Aloha

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