Tony Bignell is a creative engineer and inventor that has used Shapeways to make a stereo macroscope and twin rig 3D camera system. We asked Tones-3D, as he is known on Shapeways, to explain his 3D printing projects to us.
Tony Bignell: To talk about the stereo macroscope, I really must talk about the whole 3-D twin-rig camera system, most of which uses parts printed by Shapeways. It starts with the camera base. This allows me to trigger both cameras simultaneously, using the USB socket (and an ingenious camera software hack called Stereo Data Maker), and a set of batteries-and- switch contained within the printed baseplate. I use this setup for taking 3-D photos, but there's a limitation: I must be a minimum of 2 meters from the nearest part of the scene or there will be too much stereo differential.
The Stereo Macroscope works like a pair of sideways periscopes, and reduces the minmum distance to about 600 millimeters; this, plus a little bit of zoom-in on the cameras' lenses, allows me to take some of the macro 3-D photos I love taking. Here's a sample of one of the photographs.
I have also made a 3-D camera for my wife Robin. The reason for setting up camera upside-down is to get the lenses closer together than on my own rig, because Robin take more social photos, and getting a bit closer is desirable, and possible thanks to the closer lens spacing.