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3D Printed Zoom Gears?


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Every time I get a new lens or housing or seemingly adjust anything on my setup, I'm always unpleasantly surprised by the cost incurred. Nothing bothers me more than paying over $100 for a plastic zoom gear that I'm sure costs cents or a few dollars to fabricate. Are there resources for getting gears 3D printed? Am I crazy that this seems very easy (as someone who has never 3D printed anything)? Has this been done? I've tried searching other forums to no luck.

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Certainly plenty people do this. 

 

Quick search on Thingiverse shows some. 

 

https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=Zoom+gear&page=1

 

If you find what you're looking for you can send to a 3d printer service in your area and they will even print it for you (normally pretty cheap to have parts printed) if you don't have a printer. 

 

Im sure others will chime in there are other sites to look for as well. 

 

You could create your own in Tinkercad pretty easily if you have measurements then send the STL to a printer. 

 

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24 minutes ago, timbriggsphoto said:

@RichN That's fantastic! If anyone has measurements of an Aquatica 49021 zoom gear, I'd be very grateful! I have a friend with a 3D printer and I'd love to give it a shot.

Just a dose of reality.

 

Unless you have a proven design to print from, just getting the measurements is only the start of the process. Expect to spend some hours in CAD working on the model, pick your print materials, print it, watch for it to get FUBARed in the process. Then you get a complete print and notice that it's off by a millimeter or two, fix the design, reprint, avoid printer fubar, test it again. Repeat until perfect.

 

Not to say you can't do this. I'm looking forward to the day I need a new gear and have a reason to design and print one. However, it takes a good amount of skill and experience to do this, and I would not embark on it without the help of someone who has been 3d printing for a while and has some (5-10?) hours to burn. (or use this as an excuse to learn a major new hobby!)

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I'm with Dave.

 

Years ago I printed, through a friend, a zoom gear for the Lumix 12-35 mm taken from Thingiverse. It was on its third revision with several positive comments.

On land it looked ok but in the housing it got stuck several times ruining two dives for me. The wrong movement even managed to move the camera body out of the housing plate. Some buttons pressed themselves and the camera frozen.

I tried printing it with different materials and then threw it away.

 

Effectively looking back at the original Nauticam they were like night and day.

 

Nevertheless I think the original gears are a real steal and finally I bought two gears from https://www.deepshots.co.uk/pages/deepshots-gear-information

 

They used to print them for different brands while now I see they have them for Olympus and Lumix only.

If you are lucky to find the model for your lens, they are a great compromise. They don't cost a kidney and work great.

 

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Hi 
I have buy one zoom gear for my Canon / Isotta... and after that I have build others for other objectiv.

YES it's a "big" work... and you need some skills and software...  But it's sheap to print after you have build de base...

But it's clear not for beginners in 3D Printing

If you compare the time you need and the cost for buying one it's probably better to buy. 

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43 minutes ago, CaolIla said:

If you compare the time you need and the cost for buying one it's probably better to buy. 

 

I wouldn't be so extreme but certainly getting one that works is not an easy thing to do.
For my WWL I am forced to use a Panasonic 14-42 mm. An EOL piece of plastic that can be found used even for 80 euros. The nauticam zoom gear costs twice as much as the lens. There is clearly something wrong with it 🙂

 

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2 hours ago, Davide DB said:

 

I wouldn't be so extreme but certainly getting one that works is not an easy thing to do.
For my WWL I am forced to use a Panasonic 14-42 mm. An EOL piece of plastic that can be found used even for 80 euros. The nauticam zoom gear costs twice as much as the lens. There is clearly something wrong with it 🙂

 

You have no idea what I cost for one hour 🤣

But for me it's really have a lot of fun to build new parts.. it's like a hobby 

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please, don't tell me you are the guy who designed that 12-35 mm zoom gear 🙃

 

Jokes apart, it would be nice having a post here with all open sourced zoom and focus gears that have been proven to work. A list of links on Thingiverse or other platforms accompanied with some notes from our members...

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17 minutes ago, Davide DB said:

please, don't tell me you are the guy who designed that 12-35 mm zoom gear 🙃

 

Jokes apart, it would be nice having a post here with all open sourced zoom and focus gears that have been proven to work. A list of links on Thingiverse or other platforms accompanied with some notes from our members...

 

If we can get that going, I suggest a separate thread: "Proven 3D zoom gears" or such - and Pin it. The use this thread for the usual idle chatter.......

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53 minutes ago, TimG said:

 

If we can get that going, I suggest a separate thread: "Proven 3D zoom gears" or such - and Pin it. The use this thread for the usual idle chatter.......

Great Idea, 3d printed parts in general might be good. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I print my gears by measuring the parameters I need. Lens barrel width, zoom or focus distance to housing drive gear and diameter to housing drive.  You have to consider the ID of the port you are using. I design in Freecad and print with a firm but flexible tpu plastic. Sometimes I put a little split in the ring that can be tightened with a low profile zip tie. The example is a gear for a 7.5 mm Pergear fisheye for Fuji x mount for a Nauticam housing. The process usually takes me about 3 gear prints to dial it in.

P1210113.JPG

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10 hours ago, Tobyone said:

I print my gears by measuring the parameters I need. Lens barrel width, zoom or focus distance to housing drive gear and diameter to housing drive.  You have to consider the ID of the port you are using. I design in Freecad and print with a firm but flexible tpu plastic. Sometimes I put a little split in the ring that can be tightened with a low profile zip tie. The example is a gear for a 7.5 mm Pergear fisheye for Fuji x mount for a Nauticam housing. The process usually takes me about 3 gear prints to dial it in.

 

 

Do you know the brand of TPU that you have used? I'd like to compare to my brand, which I don't really think of as being all that firm. 

 

I am about to design and print my first gear in the next week once I get a newly ordered lens. The Nauticam equivalent is a two-piece design. With a hard plastic gear and a flexible sleeve. Cut o-rings sit in grooves for some grip between lens, sleeve, and gear.  (see below) I thought I might use a similar two-piece design, but with a TPU based sleeve. However, if the whole thing were TPU that might be a cleaner solution.

 

Any thoughts?

 

[Nauticam screenshot]

image.png

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3 hours ago, Tobyone said:

 I use Matterhackers TPU PRO. It is not cheap $50/ pound. It has a shore(hardness) rating of 95A. I also us ColorFabb nGen flex. But it has bed adhesion problems. https://www.matterhackers.com/store/l/pro-series-tpu-thermoplastic-polyurethane-1lb/sk/MDLG8558

 

I have been using Duramic TPU which also has a shore hardness rating of 95A. It's a lot cheaper at ~$20/kg and seems to work pretty well for everything I've printed with it to date. I'll give it a try and see how it goes.

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On 1/21/2024 at 6:46 PM, Dave_Hicks said:

 

Do you know the brand of TPU that you have used? I'd like to compare to my brand, which I don't really think of as being all that firm. 

 

I am about to design and print my first gear in the next week once I get a newly ordered lens. The Nauticam equivalent is a two-piece design. With a hard plastic gear and a flexible sleeve. Cut o-rings sit in grooves for some grip between lens, sleeve, and gear.  (see below) I thought I might use a similar two-piece design, but with a TPU based sleeve. However, if the whole thing were TPU that might be a cleaner solution.

 

Any thoughts?

 

[Nauticam screenshot]

image.png

 

I have not received my Nikon Z 24-50mm lens yet, but I do have the 16-35mm with a Nauticam gear. Very similar to the one pictured above in the previous post. In anticipation of making a 3d Printed gear for the 24-50 I decided to replicate the 16-35 gear.

 

I decided to make the gear itself out of a rigid PLA+ material. I made the sleeve out of TPU, printed in a ring. I then cut the ring so that it had about a 5mm gap when wrapped around the lens zoom collar. Surprisingly, I got the gear dimensions just about perfect on the first try.  I left some wiggle room in the inside diameter that will be taken up by the sleeve. The sleeve took two prints to get it right, but I cheated a bit by cutting off some ribs/ridges that I added and turned out not to be necessary. I updated the design to remove those for the next gear I make. I also made some Cura parameter changes to the Gear that will make the next print a bit cleaner. (10mm walls so the gear base prints in rings rather than lines.)

 

I will upload and share designs of all my Gear sets after I dive them and validate their functionality in the real world. 

 

Below are some photos of the 16-35 gear.

 

Nikon 16-35 installed (Small).jpg

 

Nikon 16-35 gear and sleeve (Small).jpg

Edited by Dave_Hicks
typo
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I designed and printed out the Nikon 24-50Z zoom gear for Nauticam today. This lens is typically used in combo with the Nauticam WWL-C wet lens. I dove the 16-35 zoom gear I made last week on the weekend. This one took a few attempts to get right; too tight, too loose, finally just right!

 

It's posted on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6460615

 

The gear works well, and it all fits very cleanly, turns easily. I used a PLA+ hard plastic for the gear and a TPU sleeve for the lens. Remove the rubber grip from the lens, and put the sleeve on in its place. It should slip on with a little effort and grips well. Place the rim down of the sleeve toward the camera. The gear slides over the sleeve, rim first with gear side away from the camera.

 

The 24-50 lens has a sort of "twist to lock" feature as the element telescopes out of the body when in use. The gear has enough grip to lock/unlock it, and then turns easily from 24-50 when in the housing.

 

Set your slicer to use 10mm walls when printing the gear. This will ensure that it prints the base of the gear in rings rather than lines. This will probably work much better than the default.

 

Nauticam 24-50Z gear (1).jpg

 

Nauticam 24-50Z gear (2).jpg

 

Nauticam 24-50Z gear (3).jpg

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