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This clever photographer fixed his old camera with 3D-printed parts

Camera repaired with 3D-printed parts
(Image credit: Witonosfreestyle)

There's nothing worse than having an old camera that loses bits, pieces, parts or components that are difficult to replace. However, this photographer has come up with a brilliant solution to fixing up his old kit: he simply 3D prints those parts. 

Witono is a self-described "engineer, inventor, designer, animator, adventurer, athlete, photographer, music enthusiast, lens hacker" who repaired his old Olympus OM-D E-M1 – a camera that has been most recently succeeded by the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (opens in new tab) and the Olympus OM-1 (opens in new tab)

• These are the best Olympus cameras (OM System) (opens in new tab)

"Not happy with all the missing parts on my Olympus, so I designed and printed them all," he wrote on his YouTube video (opens in new tab) (below) showing how he created the replacement parts to update his camera.

"Battery door cover - took me 6 iterations to get it to the perfect dimension, also the fact I was printing with an old 3D printer, designed to match the tolerance.

"Eyecup - This is a bummer. I could have printed with soft TPU (I do not have the filament) to mimic the rubber deformation. Instead, this is just an aesthetic part with no deformation. Designed with bridging without support material.

"Accessory port cover - My design skill has gotten better. I got the perfect fitting on the 2nd try!"

Photographers have been 3D-printing accessories for cameras and lenses for years (for my first professional job in 2014, we printed a replacement lens hood for a video lens I needed for a commission), but now the technology is so good that parts are rivaling OEM components.

Of course, the best 3D printers (opens in new tab) alone aren't enough; while you can download the specs of just about any component you might require, the best results can be achieved with the best 3D scanners (opens in new tab) (although this obviously requires you to scan the pieces in the first place, which isn't much help if you've lost them!).

So if you have a 3D printer, the next time you lose a head or battery cover or switch, check to see if the part you need can be printed at home.

Read more: 

Best Olympus lenses
(opens in new tab)Best Micro Four Thirds cameras
(opens in new tab)Best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.