Modular, open-source Focal Camera lets you design your own SLR
Focal Camera is an open source project designed to teach participants about the inner workings of a camera. You can fire up your laser cutter (or visit your local maker space), round up a supply of 3mm plywood or other material and follow the provided instructions to create the various modules that will make up a working camera. The modules are designed to interlock and connect to a cube-shaped base, so users can choose the pieces they want (guillotine shutter? optical viewfinder?) and arrange them into the Frankenstien’s monster of a camera they’ve always dreamed of owning.
Mathijs van Oosterhoudt is the mastermind behind Focal Camera, which started as a workshop exercise. He put his project online hoping to educate more people about cameras by helping them building their own. The open source nature of the project also means anyone can contribute new module designs, as well as test and improve his existing designs. It’s similar to the Lux project we saw not too long ago, which used 3D printed and Arduino-based electrical components.
Visit Focal Camera for directions and downloads to get started on your own camera. Would you like to try your hand at a project like this? Let us know in the comments.