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October 5, 2017

3D printing could make the K-Pan film camera expandable with new accessories

by John_A

Why it matters to you

While the original parts will be shipped to maintain consistent quality, the K-Pan aims to expand with print-at-home accessories.

Traditional film, meet the modern convenience of 3D printing. The K-Pan is a 3D-printed camera that uses 120mm medium-format film to capture panoramic photos — with a little DIY thrown in, too. Designed by London-based photographer Paul Kohlhaussen, the K-Pan is launching on Kickstarter with fully assembled editions and DIY kits.

Kohlhaussen built the K-Pan for his design portfolio last year, but the initial project reviewed such a large response that he decided to being the K-Pan to more users by launching the camera on Kickstarter. The K-Pan is selling largely as a DIY kit, shipping with the 3D-printed parts, but requiring assembly and allowing for users to apply a custom finish or leave the gray nylon material unfinished. Ten fully completed K-Pan units will also be sold through the campaign.

Because the K-Pan is 3D printed, the camera is designed to be a modular system, which means new features can be added and printed at home. While the initial parts are 3D printed and shipped to maintain quality, the developer plans to release updates by sharing 3D printing files and allowing users to print their own expandable accessories. Examples include a grip, slides for accommodating more film sizes and a phone mount that turns the phone into a viewfinder and light meter, along with any replacement parts.

The K-Pan uses 120mm medium-format film, offering a larger film surface for enhanced photo quality, and shoots five 6 x 15 centimeter frames on each roll. The camera has a mount for a 4 x 5 lens. The K-Pan has a fixed focus set to infinity, but spacer brackets inserted between the lens and the body allow for some adjustment.

The camera is 3D printed from an SLS nylon material than can be left unfinished or painted to create a custom exterior. The entire camera measures less than 9 inches wide and weighs around 12 ounces. At the bottom, the camera uses a 1/4-20 thread tripod mount.

The Kickstarter project is nearly halfway to their approximately $53,000 goal, with the campaign continuing through October 25. If the project reaches full funding and manufacturing is successful, early backers can pick up the K-Pan standard kit for pledges starting at $364. Pledges for a fully finished and assembled camera are $891. The developer plans to ship cameras to backers in March 2018.




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