3D printed 3D slide viewer

3D slide viewer

I have a friend who is an avid collector of old 3D photographic slides. These slides have two images of the same object printed close together; about the same distance apart as your two eyes are. The two images are not identical, the left hand image is taken by a camera in the position of your left hand eye and then the right hand photo is at the position of your right hand eye. When you look at the slide through a suitable viewer, each eye therefore sees the correct image for your brain to recreate a 3D image of the object. The result is you see a 3D looking image, as you would of course if you actually looked at it with your two eyes in real life. These 3D slides provide wonderfully vivid 3D snapshots of the past.

3D slide viewer

You can still get vintage single card viewers on line (e.g. e-bay) but its harder to find multiple card slide viewers. So my friend asked if I could make him a table-top 3D viewer which could show 12 slides for use in art installations and exhibitions. So I designed a 12 slide carrousel viewer that can be selected by hand to show each slide in turn. The slides are loaded into the carousal and the box closed up. The left hand side handle includes a push switch that activates white light LEDs that illuminates both images. You look through the specially made 'telescope', and adjust the focus and eye width (intraocular) to see the 3D image. On the right hand side there is a knob used to select the slide you want to view.

The viewing optics / telescope were brought slightly broken on e-bay and dissmantled from an old single card viewer. I used the 3D printer to make up an adjustable holder for the optics. This included provision for the focus knob (red) and a rectangular shroud to hold the whole thing behind the front panel. Provision wa also madew for the intraocular sliding adjustment

Each 3D slide was fitted into its own slide holder (12 of them) and the carousal was then fitted into the box and the illuminating LEDs adjusted. The drun has two powerful rare earth magnets attached either side of the axis. These located with 12 washers close by on the inside of the box and provided a way of locating each slide in place so they viewed correctly. Next time I will probably use a ball and hole system to get a more positive 'click' alignment for each slide.

3D slide viewer

3D printed slide viewer
As there are a lot a repeating parts in this sort of device I decide to use my 3D printer to 'mass produce' them (see photo below of the parts layed out).

Parts these included:

eight sided selector knobs
greasy finger print proof side panels
push button side handle /grip
12 x slide holders
carousal slide holders and center jigs
rectangular 'telescope' holder and alignment jig

* Note: I am not going to go into too much detail here and I have simply created this page as an example of the diverse sort of things you can make with a 3D printer. I made two prototypes and if I have time I might make up more and write up more details at a later date

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Dr Jonathan Hare University of Sussex, Brighton.
e-mail: j.p.hare@sussex.ac.uk

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