This was the start of this whole project, it all started because I lost a bid on an X-Pan, (back when you could get them for ~ $1200). I just decided I could build my own camera instead. This lead to me exploring with CAD and building a first “Frankencamera” that combined an old stereo camera and a Mamiya lens.
After that Project, during the summer of 2017, I decided that I could do a whole lot more, what if I could build an entirely 3d printable camera? Of course, Looking back now, I had no idea what I was throwing myself into, but it sure has been worth it. A few months later the first version of the Oxygen was born, did it work? No. Was it enough to keep me going? Hell yeah. I put up a picture of the project I was working on on Instagram, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Using what I learned from my first prototype, I totally rethought the gearing of the camera. I needed to figure out a way to make the gearing go forward, locking on each step so that the film wouldn’t move when you let go of the advance, but also uncouple when you needed to rewind, so that the film would move backwards. Looking at old schematics, it quickly became evident that I wouldn’t be able to make the complex mechanics used traditionally. So i had to find a new way. The way I eventually figured out is shown in the image below, with its integrated 3d printed spring. This method ended up working for a couple of rolls but then the spring was too weak to push itself up with lead to a host of advance issues.
Another early idea was to make the counter simply connected to the advance. There is a big flaw in this logic, when you advance film onto the take-up spool, the diameter will grow as more and more film is layed on, this means that your spacing will grow bigger and bigger, and thus you will end up wasting frames. in the end.
The camera did produce a few pictures, which with some motivation from the online community, was enough for me to continue the project. I worked over the winter of 2017/2018 and went back to the drawing board, using a new CAD software ( i had used OnShape before, and switched to Fusion 360) This resulted in the Oxygen V3 being finished by the end of March.
Around September I reworked some of the camera, added another gear to make the advance more secure, added a ratchet mechanism. After some further testing and feedback I also added a film hotshoe tensioning system, and relpaced the printed rewind spring with a conical metal spring.