Thingiverse user dj505 knows a thing or two about Altoids tins. Over the past couple of years, this maker has used Altoids tins to make a TV-b-gone (a disguise for a small TV), a working four-port USB hub, and simply integrated them as cases for extra wiring on larger projects.
Now s/he has released the latest addition to the Altoids tin tinkering line: a collapsible 3D image viewer.
The images themselves are not 3D, but rather the structure of the image viewer, which is 3D printed, lets you see a flat image in 3D. Looking at the illusion of 3D in photographs through a viewer, called a stereoscope, became a craze during the Victorian era. Image viewers of all shapes and sizes were created through which two separate images were shown in an isolated fashion to each eye. The brain then worked to do what it does with all of the images that humans take in through each individual eye, that is to construct a replica of the 3D world around them.
The inspiration for the Altoids viewer didn’t come from the technology-crazed 19th century, though, but instead from the Googleverse of the 21st. Google Cardboard, a clever viewing device designed to fit with stereoscopic images as displayed on the screens of smartphones, and thus low tech led to high tech and back to low tech again.
This version of the 3D image viewer may not be as elegant but it is certainly more compact than its Victorian counterparts. And that was exactly what dj505 was aiming for.
“The idea for the project came about when I was messing around with Google Cardboard,” the designer noted. “I thought, ‘how can I make this more compact?’ So I built a prototype out of cardboard and worked out how to make it fit inside of the tin.”
In the spirit of home tinkering, the list of supplies necessary for creation range from the mundane to the awesome: empty Altoids tin, hot glue, paperclips, double image, stick tack, concave lenses and, of course, a 3D printer. It doesn’t hurt to have a partner either, as the maker explained:
“I brought the idea to my dad, who is awesome at modeling in Softimage, and together we worked out a way to 3D print this. We had to design a way to keep it strong and stable but also be able to fold up. For the face plate with the lenses, I just scanned the cardboard version and imported it into Adobe Illustrator. I then traced it, making a vector object that could be imported into Softimage. The hinges were designed so the legs could only fold one way, and would stop if folded the other way so it doesn’t break.”
The only downside of the viewer as designed is that the illusion of 3D is somewhat disturbed by the fact that the viewer can see all three images at once (the ‘real’ ones printed on the image and the third one that is constructed in the mind). The Victorians overcame this technical difficulty by placing a thin piece of paper or word between the two images, but doing so in this compact little design would have impinged on its collapsibility. Perhaps DJ505 could incorporate a small slot into which a thing 3D printed square could be placed when the viewer is open in order to allow it to fold up while also removing the two ‘side’ images.
In any case, it’s clear that s/he has plans to keep tinkering:
“I’ve been doing little projects here and there for a long time. I got good at soldering and started ordering and putting together kits, such as the Raspberry Pi Gameboy by Adafruit or the Adafruit Menta, and various other projects. Later on, I’m planning to improve this project. It’ll still fit inside an Altoids tin, but when you fold it out, there’s a place to rest your phone. That way, you could view images right on your phone, or even play some VR games!”
And that’s the spirit that the Victorians would have whole-heartedly supported. Do you? Let us know if you might try out your own version in the 3D Printed Altoids Stereoscopic Viewer forum thread over at 3DPB.com.
You May Also Like
Top 5 Software Packages for 3D Printing
3D printing is a tough job. Although once learned, it does not seem too tricky. However, for beginners, it might not seem as friendly as various other new technologies. The...
3D Printing News Briefs: November 5, 2019
We’ve got some formnext announcements to start off today’s 3D Printing News Briefs – atum3D is introducing its newest DLP 3D printer, while Incus GmbH plans to launch its new...
Neighborhood 91: End-to-End 3D Printing Ecosystem at Pittsburgh International Airport
There are many 3D printing clusters around the world, specializing in areas like 3D bioprinting and research. But we’ve never seen one that includes all the elements of the AM...
Daimler Buses Relies on DyeMansion for Color & Texture Quality in 3D Printed Spare Parts
While it took decades for the rest of the world to catch up, a handful of aerospace organizations, automotive industry leaders, and other innovators have continued to enjoy the inside...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.