Some Assembly Required: Todd Schlemmer's 3d printed OSKAR camera

This series focuses on those who take making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.


Todd Schlemmer, Seattle, WA

We featured Todd Schlemmer’s 3D printed terrapin 6x9 camera several years ago. Since then, he has developed a new camera called the OSKAR.

The OSKARis the culmination of years of designing, building, and 3D printing pinhole cameras. Schlemmer’s cameras have always been built with function in mind, and then refined for aesthetics. A pinhole camera is essentially a box with a tiny hole. Any advancement beyond that is to make a more appealing design. Schlemmer says that his first cameras were exercises in brutal utility in that they worked, “but they were horribly ugly, difficult to assemble and shoot.” Wanting to make his camera look good, as well as feel good in the user’s hands, the OSKAR is a sleek design made from a bioplastic called PLA or Polycate; the same material used for compostable plastic cutlery.

Schlemmer makes his 3D printed camera designs available to other photographers as a free download. He also uses freely available design tools, Tinkercad and OpenSCAD. The OSKAR is made from 12 individually printed parts, a hand-drilled pinhole in brass shim stock, and a single nut and bolt. The 3D printing process takes a total of 15 hours from start to finish.

The camera uses 120mm film for a classic 6x6 frame, and features a frame indexing window on the back under a sliding cover. The pinhole’s focal length is 29mm with an aperture diameter of 0.23mm for wide-angle photographs. Schlemmer photographs at f/135 to balance the bright center and darker corners. The resulting images have the signature fall-off that pinhole photographers enjoy, and a square frame.

Photograph made with the OSKAR

View more of Schlemmer’s work on his website and download his camera designs here.

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