August 25, 2013
24 In this vlog I show an artifact
in my collection that was flown
to the surface of the moon
and returned... For real!
Pistol Grip for HD Video Camera (May 2013)
My new Panasonic 3-CCD
HD camera is typical of consumer products today, in that it is designed
around the technology, not the human body. I grew up in the 20th
century, during the golden age of ergonomic design, when products were
contoured to merge with the human body in natural ways. I compare
my new Samsung smartphone to my 1960's era Bell desk phone and rest my
case. In the 1960's the idea that someone would want to press a square,
flat notepad up against the side of their head to make a phone call would
have been utterly ridiculous - some kind of joke gadget for Get Smart.
But today products are often designed solely around their technology -
not to fit the human being. These days it is up to the human to conform
to the rules of the technology that they must command - it is an odd and
backward logic that younger people seem much more complacent with, but
not me. I am a crotchety old fart.... and I want my HD camera to
be ergonomically designed - so I set out to make a pistol grip for the
camera, reminiscent of my favorite late 60's Super 8 movie cameras.
I decided that the easiest
way to put this together was to laminate three pieces of planed pine together
with an opening in it for a bolt that would go up through the handle to
secure the grip to the threaded camera mount. I drafted a template
and used carbon paper to transfer the design to a length of 7/16" thick
pine trim molding and cut out each piece by hand with a jigsaw. I
glued and clamped the layers together, and after setting I placed some
wire brads in the grip to provide additional reinforcement. When
it was dried I formed and contoured the grip by filing and sanding it into
shape to fit my hand.
I made the custom fit
mounting screw by cutting a length of ¼-20 threaded steel rod and
epoxy gluing a wing nut to one end that I would use to secure the grip
to the camera with no tools needed.
Lastly, I glued a piece
of neoprene sheeting on the top of the grip and punched an undersized hole
in it for the threaded rod to go through. The neoprene provides
a pad for the camera mount, while the tight fit around the threaded rod
holds the mounting screw to keep it from falling out when it is not mounted
on the camera.
a well balanced camera that
is now a pleasure to use!
Fixes It: Vintage Shop Dehumidifier Repair (May 2013)
Okay back to my messy shop
fixing broken stuff - Here is my 80's vintage dehumidifier-turned-ice-maker
that I decided to repair rather than throw out. A messy job, but
interesting enough to make a video about. Welcome to my world of
stuff that doesn't quite work right, made better. After all, why
throw it out when you can fix it? Enjoy!
inside my AMI R-88 Jukebox!
I restored this jukebox
in December 2000 for the original Frantone Factory
in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Life Circuit (April 2013)
the Polaroid 330 Land Camera (April 2013)
I have been a photographer
since my teens, and about two-thirds of my time capturing images was spent
in the photo-chemical era. I have had several dark rooms over the
years and worked in several formats, including motion pictures. But
these days digital is the normal reality and photo-chemical anything is
an oddity or a mere curiosity. But one thing still remains of that
era in my own life - the Polaroid Land Camera.
For any photographer the
Land Cameras are legendary, and despite some trying times for this positive
print format the film stock remains in production by several companies,
the most popular being Fuji's FP-100 series. The 100 speed film is
the best for resolution, but it does require a fill flash to be practical
for most situations. The preferred Land Cameras are the 180 series
with fully manual exposure, but those cameras are now quite rare and expensive.
I snatched up a very affordable new old stock 330 with the electronic eye
and set out to make it as versatile as possible with the addition of a
hot shoe for a flash.
I made a rough
drawing for the bracket that I would construct for the flash, which would
mount with two small screws to the side of the camera next to the battery
compartment. I fabricated the bracket out of one piece of 1/8" thick
aluminum, which I machined and bent according to the drawing.
The 330 series cameras have
a PC style sync flash socket mounted on the side of the lens assembly.
I got a corded hot shoe mount with a 1/4-20 threaded base that had a male
end PC adapter and broke it open so that I could shorten the cable to the
The mounting bracket I made
has a recess in it for a 1/4-20 wing head screw so that the angle of the
flash can be adjusted for close shots.
The completed flash assembly.
The last problem to solve
was the battery. The original 3v cell that the Polaroid used for
the electronic exposure control was basically two AA cells in one special
battery, and two plastic plates connected the wiring to the battery by
clip terminals similar to what a modern 9v battery uses. The best
modern substitute is a single CR-123A lithium battery which I fitted by
making a band out of regular fabric elastic that would hold the battery
contact plates to the end terminals of the battery. Snap the battery
in the holder, and presto! All ready to shoot.