I was entrusted with the care and feeding of a Sinar Monorail 4×5 Large Format Field…

I was entrusted with the care and feeding of a Sinar Monorail 4×5 Large Format Field Camera and darkroom compliment. Basically, it's mine to use, not mine to sell. 

I need to remodel my basement bathroom a bit in order to seal off the light so I can use it as a dark room. I am waiting for the water heater to finish dying before I do that. It's halfway there… but that's a different story.

On to this story.

I made a film holder for my cell phone for the big camera. I think it's the first time a cell phone has been loaded into one of these cameras like a piece a

I was hoping to get the camera focus and the film focus in the exact same spot. I am close, but not quite right on my first try. Gives me something to fiddle with when I print the next iteration.

Basically I have a cell phone case with a small lens embedded in it that allows a cell phone to capture a very small portion of the 4×5 image area on the Sinar camera.

This thing is a powerful macro lens! It captures an area about the size of a quarter from 7 feet away.

I have files if you want to print your own at https://github.com/creuzerm/openscad-projects/tree/master/Sinar%204×5%20Monorail%20Large%20Format%20Camera I am probably going to make a iPhone case next for a friend to play with this camera and teach me a few things.

In album Cell Phone Sinar Fuschia Flower

I like this cropped, but otherwise un-edited photo.

The girls LOVE the camera. It’s the kind that is shown on cartoons, so of course it’s the bestest camera ever!

Cell Phone ‘film’ for the Sinar large format camera. This is a 3d printed ‘cell phone case’ that is also a film holder for the old-school Field Camera.

Over 7 feet. I am getting about 2X life size on the camera screen from 7 feet away. That’s just crazy to me!

A couple of shots of me hand-holding the cell phone with the CDROM laser lens to the camera lens through the Sinar camera at a box in the kitchen. This is a soda box at about 20 feet. Some SERIOUS ZOOMAGE going on here.

This is what the cell phone sees mounted to the back of a Sinar monorail 4×5 large format field camera. The cell phone can’t really focus on anything in particular and sees a lot of the inside of the camera.

With the CD-ROM laser lens installed, the cell phone seems to want to work ‘right’ as far as the Sinar camera is concerned. You can get some motions out of the camera and the cell phone doesn’t seem to want to loose the image.

This is looking at a computer speaker at about 4 foot away. That is a little brass screw.

You can see that the cell phone can see some of the CD-ROM lens and gives that weird circle in the lower  right of this photo. The image is actually upside down, in true field camera fashion.

I just love the texture and lens aberrations that this arrangement produces.

I modeled a 4×5 film holder in openscad and printed it to make sure I had it right. https://github.com/creuzerm/openscad-projects/tree/master/Sinar%204×5%20Monorail%20Large%20Format%20Camera

Here I am printing a 4×5 film holder cell phone case with a spot for a CDROM laser lens.

This is the CD-ROM laser lens installed into the 4×5 film holder cell phone case.

My 2 options that I’ve made for connecting a camera to a camera. I can bolt up a 35mm or a cell phone now. Next, I think I want to make a flatbed scanner adapter to pull full frame images off of the Sinar 4×5 Large Format camera.

These are the 3 options I have for loading ‘film’ into the Sinar.

I set up this quick ‘studio’ in the laBOREtory so I could take some photos of the flowers.

I think I invented something

A laminar flow pipe reducer for a pump housing. At least, a little bit of Google searching hasn't shown me another.

I am trying to find a cheaper way to heat the 75 gallon aquaponics system in the basement. It's really running closer to 125 gallons of water with a LOT of surface area. This bleeds heat quite quickly, so the electric submersion heaters are expensive to run and I simply don't have enough to keep up with the cold basement sucking the heat out of my tanks.

So, I did something stupid. I rigged up a water line to the furnace and water heater flue. This involved running about 25 feet of 1/4 inch tubing because that's all I had on hand that would go the distance. There are issues with copper being toxic to fish, and cooling the flue, causing Carbon Monoxide to fill the house. So this is not something you want to do yourself.

I needed more water flow. A 3/4 inch pond pump forced down to 1/4 hose just doesn't work very well. Too much restriction to get good flow.

I had to make a water tipper to help my grow bed siphon start and stop. This just fills up with water slowly and then dumps the water at once into the bed. The small water pulse surge is often enough to trigger a slow siphon.

This is fine and dandy, but I have a 3d printer. So I spent some time with a Fluid Dynamics textbook and openscad and came up with an adapter for running multiple hoses out of my pump – http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:54029 

I think it's a first. I haven't found anybody else who made a laminar flow reducer for a pond pump. This thing induces laminar water flow through a series of small honeycomb shaped features inside the adapter.

It was very challenging for me to make, as my math skills aren't up to par. I kinda had to trial and error it instead of solving the problem with math.

In the end, it's designed to be printed, with a center support column running up the center to make the upper section easy to print.

The best part is that the goofy thing works!. I get the same water flow out of the heater line as before PLUS I get 2 additional water lines that are providing a significant additional water flow. I'd expect it to work poorly do to all the plastic that's in the water flow, but it seems to be efficient enough to overcome all the extra gunk in the way.

In album

Seriously stupid going on. Aquarium water heater off the furnace flue.

Water tipper mocked up with various bits to induce a water surge to trigger the bell siphon

Honeycomb feature inside the adapter to induce laminar flow.

3 different hoses come out of this one pump adapter.

I broke the first print in half to verify that it printed the way I wanted it to. (It’s my story, let me tell it the way I want to)

The pump running 3 separate hoses.

Watercooling my MakerGear Prusa RepRap

I’ve been fighting with printing 1.75mm PLA. The thicker brass in the hot end causes the heat to creep up more and make the ‘melt zone’ so long and sticky that the printer jams up. The normal ‘fix’ is to have a small fan blow up  into the hot end insulator – the black plastic bit.

This sucks for me. The fans fail – stop spinning, fall apart, etc. The wires pop loose, touch each other, and short out the power mosfet on the RAMPS board. The fan falls down, hits the part, knocks it loose or causes the carriage to skip.

Fan blowing up, cooling the hot end insulator to prevent jamming
Fan blowing up, cooling the hot end insulator to prevent jamming (This is http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:13343 by the way, the best fan holder I’d found)

The irritating part is, the printer will eat 3mm PLA all day long without a problem without the need for this fan.


So, I fixed this issue. With one of my aquariums. As I tend to have lots of those about. I like doing funny stuff with my aquariums

I am now water cooling my hot end.

Here’s how…

(Stereoscopic images, look at them cross-eyed if you want to see them in 3d)

Parts for watercooling a makergear reprap hot end
The parts I got for water cooling my RepRap hot end. A bit of soft copper tubing and some hose.


water cooling a 3d printer hot end
I cut some tubing with a pipe cutter. I just kinda guessed how long it should be by wrapping my finger around the hot end and cutting the pipe at the length that seemed nice.
deburring the cut copper tube
I deburred the copper tubing with a countersink. The cutter gives me a nice outside edge to slip the tubing over. I wanted a clean inside edge for the water flow.
bending a tube over a screwdriver
I bent the tube over a screwdriver. I was going to fill the tube with sand so it didn’t kink, but I just started bending and it went around without kinking. I was also thinking of sliding some flat metal inside and hammering it down before it bent, but the bend just kinda happened successfully.
bending copper around the hot end
I bent the tube around the hotend. I used the pliers to snug up the bend. It’s not really tight, and I wish I had some heat sink compound to help improve the contact between the two surfaces.
water jacket around the hot end
The ‘wide’ side of the tubing wrap is taking up nearly all the space available along the hot end insulator.
tubing on the water cooled hot end
I measured out a bit of tubing, cut it off, and slid it onto the copper tubing.
water cooled hot end
I think that the water cooled hot end looks pretty good.
temperature monitoring the hot end cooling
I slid a thermistor between the hot end and the water jacket so I can measure the effectiveness of the water cooling.

The task of installing all of this was almost challenging. There was just enough room to be able to slide the hot end up through the carriage, slip on the groove mount, and get it all positioned. The one bolt hole was kinda hiding above the copper tube, but the tube can be spun around a bit so everything can be bolted up snug.

water cooled hot end installed
Here is the water cooled hot end installed onto the X carriage. You are seeing most of it in the reflection of the mirrored print bed.
looking up at the hot end and at the glass clamp
Here we are looking up at the hot end water line routing. Also note the drilled holes in the binder clip. This takes a lot of the strength out of the clip so it’s less likely to break the glass or jump off the print bed and land on the far side of the room.
water pump in aquarium
Here is the water pump in the aquarium. Just straight fish-poo water. It’s not touching the printer, I am not worried about it. More concerned about the toxicity of the copper to the fish than the toxicity of the fish to the printer.
reprap 3d printer next to aquarium
Here is my RepRap 3D printer next to the aquarium that is cooling it. Or is this a photo of my aquarium with the overly expensive electric water heater that happens to print plastic parts? Hard telling…
water and electric wire routing
I ran the water and electric wire routing next to each other. The water and thermistor are not part of the ‘main’ wiring harness as I switch between 3mm and 1.75mm nozzles.
water line routing
Note the pretty hard bend in the plastic hose. If it’s less than this, it hits the mount for the X end stop.
water flow
The water flow through the hot-end is pretty good using the tiny pump I have. I am not seeing a significant difference in temperature from the tank temp to the water from the hot end cooler.

The whole assembly was pretty quick and easy. When I installed the water cooling, I also incorporated the temperature monitoring and soldered the USB cable to the arduino board as the USB-B port got sloppy and would disconnect on me mid-print.

As for some numbers as to how well this works. With no water running through the copper tubing, I am seeing temperatures over 135f after 10 minutes. Yeah, Yeah, I know, RepRaps are metric, but it’s an easy value to convert, go too it. With water running, the top temp I’ve seen is 115f. It likes to run closer to 100-110f. My longest print so far is close to 4 hours without any problems. Without any cooling (and the copper not installed) I’d start to see jamming problems around 1 hour at .1mm layer height. .3mm layer heights would go much longer without problems. I am guessing that the plastic flow volume keeps pushing the heat down the barrel and doesn’t let the transition zone get too long.

I’ve not weighed the copper, tubing and water to see how much extra this weighs over the fan and mounting hardware.

I may run the water around the extruder, X and Y motors to help cool those. Not that they get hot really.

I think I want to mount some SMD LEDs against the tubing for some neat lighting effects. Just so it looks cool.

Rebuilt build platform for my MakerGear Prusa Mendel RepRap with mirror

I rebuilt the heated build platform on my MakerGear Prusa Mendel. I’ve been having problems with it ‘eating’ glass. I didn’t recess the thermistor enough, so the glass would try to ‘bend’ over it, and break.

These are 3D stereoscopic images. You can look at them crossed eyed and get the full effect. You can click for a larger view as well.

image of Original print bed with broken glass.
Original print bed with broken glass. I used the printer like this for months. Really limits what you can print. I’ve actually not used the printer in 2 months because of it being broken like this.


image original build platform
This is how I’d configured the board to accept the heater. The notches are for the thermistor and wire runs.
image of Lining up the dremel to route out the board
Here I am lining up the dremel to route out the board. I wanted to recess the heater flush with the face of the board. So I used the router fence I had printed on my printer.
image of routed lines and chiseling out the excess
Here you can see my routed lines and chiseling out the excess. Running the dremel-router was a l of fun.
image of recessed area for the heater PCB
I’ve finished the recessed area for the heater PCB. It was fairly easy to use the chisel to chunk out the bits between my routed grooves. I used the grooves as a depth gage and tried to go that deep.
image looking at the bottom of the board
Here we are looking at the bottom of the board. I cut in 2 notches for the belt clamps as well as 4 holes for the bolt heads. This allows the board to set much lower than it could previously and still offer ‘springyness’.
image of installed print platform
I’ve installed the print platform. Notice that the bolts are recessed in so they sit flush to the board as well as the heater PCB. This will allow a full sized piece of glass.
image of installed heater PCB
The installed heater PCB looks pretty good I think.
image of heater PCB sits flush to the print bed platform
You can see the heater PCB sits flush to the print bed platform now. Hopefully I’ve got everything right now, and I will no longer break the glass print surface.
image of print platform height
You you can see how low the print platform is now. I’ve barely enough clearance over the Y carriage pulley. I’ve still got over an eighth inch of give too!
image of a cut mirror for a build platform
I am not very good as cutting glass. I broke my first piece. This is a mirror panel I rescued from the trash. Originally from Ikea. It’s very thin glass. I’ve heard good things about printing on mirror. Going to give it a try.
image of mirrored print bed
You can see my shiny new mirrored print bed. You can see that the mirror edges extend all the way to the edge of the build platform. I think this looks cooler. It also gives me more room to clamp the print surface down and avoid nozzle contact with the binder clips.
image of MakerGear Prusa Mendel RepRap with mirrored print bed
Now to level the print bed. This is going to be tedious as I have to remove the print surface to make any adjustments. I may try to cut my broken mirror piece down to use for leveling. It would expose the bolt heads.

All in all, I am pretty happy with these modifications. I should get a bit more print height. It looks cooler, and maybe I will turn the printer on again soon and start printing again!

The next serious modification will be a water cooling block for the nozzle. I’ve an idea for that…

I printed some z wobble minimisers and installed them tonight


I had to leave half way through the print, so I paused the job and powered down the heaters. The print finished ok when i powered the heaters back up, leaving a big blob where the nozzle had sat. Need to lift the nozzle off of the part or something. Last time I tried that though, there was too much ooze and it took a couple of layers before it caught up so the print ended up failing.

I bored out the inside of the z carriages so the rods would no longer push against them. This means that the springs no longer work as they slide past the carriage now.

There are now upper fixed height nuts. The left side isn’t quite snug. If I had been quicker thinking, i would have spun the nut in the captured socket so it meshed with the lower one better. I will shim it with paper instead.

The thick part means that the z limit switch never triggers. Combined with the fixed upper nuts, i drove the z into the bed hard before i hit the reset. I bet i bent my y rods in fixing my z rods!

By the time i get this printer figured out, i am going to need to build a new one as i’d have wrecked this one.

In album

4 z wobble isolators getting printed.

There is a big blob from turning the printer off and back on. I’d picked a spot in the infil, but it still buggered up around the edge.

Drilling out inside the bracket so the bend Z rod doesn’t touch the carriage.

The isolator sits under the Z carriage.