My first thought was "Hey, it's a camera anyone can make – build one." But almost immediately reconsidered that Scott was a young guy who was probably pretty busy and has demonstrated his bona fides as a pinhole photographer adapting a lot of cameras to work without a lens. Also, I hadn't built one in a long time, and then thought of a joke I could build into the camera.
Since this camera was going to Minnesota, I made it out of the carton from a 24 pack of Wisconsin beer, Leinenkugels of Chippewa Falls (famous for being where Annie Hall grew up). I'm from Eau Claire about 10 miles to the south of Chippewa, and therefore drank Walters when I lived there, but they don't exist anymore, so I now consider Leinies my local beer, even though I now live on the other side of the state. (Chief Oshkosh Brewery no longer exists either in case you were wondering.)
On the front I put the portrait of the Chippewa maiden that has been the symbol of Leinies since it was founded. I think most young men who grow up in northwestern Wisconsin are probably secretly in love with her.
I had to do some tricky placement of the pattern to get the image aligned on both the camera front and the shutter. She's on both the front and back of the carton, so it wasn't all that difficult.
On the back, of course, I had to put the map of the State of Wisconsin.
I did use tape from Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing.
It's a completely stock Populist with none of the modifications I've done to The Populist, but that's appropriate to the purpose of the build.
That's it on the left, compared to a Gilder .2mm Electron Microscope Aperture on the right at the same magnification. It measures out to about .18 mm. A little small, but it looks pretty round and smooth, and exposures shouldn't be much different than for a .2mm. I've always used a .15mm Gilder aperture on The Populist, which is precisely 1 stop slower than a .2. Close enough for modern films.
While I was building it, I couldn't help but think of Gregg Kemp, in who's memory this year's Pinhole Day is dedicated. For the last few years Gregg was extremely bothered that so many people who submitted images to Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day just bought a pinhole lens cap for their Digital SLR and fired away on auto exposure. To him, the pinhole experience was more about crafting your own camera and experimenting with the medium than it was simply about the fact that no lens was involved. What struck me is this is all pretty easy to do adequately and with a little care can be done pretty well. I'm not as concerned as Gregg was about this, but if you want to honor Gregg this Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, make a camera, or at least, drill your own pinhole. There are lots of other simple camera designs out there besides the Populist.
That having been said, there are a couple points I noticed while building this camera.
Having a craft knife like an X-Acto to cut the winder and shutter holes neatly and accurately is really worthwhile, rather than using scissors only method I included since I thought a craft knife might not be a common thing to have, and maybe dangerous with younger builders.
I've told Scott to give the camera away as a door prize, so if you're in the Twin Cites on April 5th, check out his talk and maybe get a hand made camera to use on Pinhole Day. If not, it's a camera anyone can make.